My friend has a female cat and she gives birth every year (maybe 3 times a year although I'm not sure). I wanted to take one of her kitten this time although I have some questions:

  • Is it cruel or bad taking her kittens?

  • Should I take her kitten in the day they born? or should I wait until they open their eyes?

  • How hard is taking care of first day born kitten?

  • 1
    i think this is a good time to seek information about kittens and their basic needs,kittens need their mother and siblings for several weeks after they are born,this is very important for their physical and mental development. Commented Oct 16, 2018 at 4:55
  • 5
    Your question suggests that you don't know how to care for a kitten. This is not meant as an insult but as an objective observation. Adopting a kitten makes you responsible for it like a father is responsible for his child. You should read and research a lot before you adopt a kitten. You should also be aware that cats need a lot of food and probably some visits to the vet throughout their life, causing permanent costs. Young kittens are very playfull and might destroy some objects like curtains or wallpapers.
    – Elmy
    Commented Oct 16, 2018 at 7:23
  • 2
    1. Yes, it's bad to take them right away. 2. No, wait 2-3 months. 3. Very, and the kitten will probably die if you take it the first day. Use the 2-3 months while the kittens are growing up to research how to care for kittens, and consider taking two (they will play with and entertain each other, which is less destructive to the rest of the house) when they are old enough.
    – Allison C
    Commented Oct 16, 2018 at 14:23

2 Answers 2


I"m going to try to answer your questions in reverse order because my answer will probably make more sense that way.

How hard is taking care of first day born kitten?

It's hard. It's a pain in the you-know-what.
New-born kittens need to be bottle-fed every 4 to 6 hours with a suitable milk-replacement formula - no, not 'normal' cow's milk as that doesn't have the right nutrients for a kitten and could actually do more harm than good. There are kitten milk powders (KMR for example), but they're not cheap.
Then once you've fed them, you need to "poop" them. If they were with their mother then she would lick their behinds to stimulate the reflex which makes them poop and/or pee. Ok - so even though the actual licking bit isn't critical, you still need to do something similar like gently rub those bits with a warm damp cloth while waiting for the kitten to do its business onto said cloth.
Now remember - you're doing this 4 or 5 times a day for at least a few weeks.

Should I take her kitten in the day they are born, or should I wait until they open their eyes?

So, following on from above: No you shouldn't take the kitten the day they're born, because their mother is far better equipped than you are to feed and care for new-born kittens.
In addition to this, your description of your friend's situation where their cat is having up to 3 litters a year for some number of years running, leads me to believe that these kittens are very likely not going to be in the best of health to start with and there is a very high chance that some (or even all) of the litter may die despite your/your-friend/mommy-cat's best efforts.
The longer you wait, the higher the chance that any genetic defects or general health problems will have shown themselves, giving you a better chance to choose a more healthy kitten from the litter. Trust me on this - if you have even the tiniest shred of compassion in you, you really do not want to be holding a kitten as it dies if you don't have to.
Leaving the kittens together and with their mom for a while also serves another purpose - it helps to teach them how to socialize together and develop healthier personalities.
Kittens are naturally very playful & sociable and they learn & grow far better together than they do alone. With this in mind, I'd strongly recommend that you wait even longer than when they start to open their eyes (typically 7-10 days). You really want to wait until they're comfortable eating solid(ish) food on their own and don't need to rely on mom's milk, and this is really 8 weeks to 2 months at the absolute earliest, preferably longer.

Is it cruel or bad taking her kittens?

Well - that depends.
In my opinion, taking them too early is cruel and unnecessary.
But in the long run they'd leave their mother on their own anyway, so it comes down to when & how you take the kittens.
When thinking about the kitten, you need to know that you are able to properly look after the kitten at the age you take it. Take it early and you need to be prepared for bottle-feeding & pooping multiple times a day, and (particularly if it's alone) you might end up raising a cat which isn't really well-adjusted and might show odd behavior issues sooner or later.
When thinking about the mom, it's probably better for her to not take the entire litter all at once, since not only is she still producing milk for them and she'll become very uncomfortable if there are no kittens to drink it, but she will also still have all of the hormones & instincts driving her to look after her kittens - so letting them grow up a little and then taking one or 2 at a time over the space of a couple of weeks will leave her less distressed.

I've been assisting with cat rescue volunteer groups for a few years and there's one more thing which you haven't asked, but I feel strongly about.
Please encourage your friend to get their cat spayed.
It is not good or healthy for a cat to be giving birth to 2 or 3 litters of kittens year after year.
Her life will be significantly shortened and stressful as it is now, and we don't need any more stray/feral/neglected kittens than we already have.


It is extremely ill advised to try to hand raise a newborn kitten. It should only be done if for some reason the mother is unable or unwilling to properly care for it, so that your options are either care for it yourself, or let the kitten be neglected. I would even say it is cruel in that caring for a newborn kitten is very difficult, and if you fail to do it completely right, the kitten could become ill, malnourished, or even die, and even if you do manage to do everything exactly right, you have taken an unnecessary risk to the kitten's health, rather than acting in its best interest by leaving it with its mother until a suitable age to be separated.

For one, mother's milk will always be best for the kitten. Mammals pass on antibodies through their milk, and they have evolved to produce the most optimal milk for their young. Any substitute just won't be as good. You should only use formula designed to be fed to kittens, as you cannot be sure that they will not become malnourished if you feed them some other substitute. And even then, the kitten will probably be more susceptible to disease, as it will miss out on important antibodies it would have received from its mother's milk.

For another thing, newborn kittens need around-the-clock constant care. Like with newborn babies, they must be fed every few hours without fail, even thoughout the night, and their milk must be carefully prepared, all bottles carefully sterilized. They also must be stimulated to eliminate after every feeding. The constant chores of cleaning and disinfecting all equipment you use, plus any time spent actively caring for them will mean you will have very little time to do anything else until they are weaned.

So please, do not separate any kittens from their mom until at the minimum they are weaned, which is around 8 or 10 weeks. Some experts recommend waiting even longer, until they have had to get more socialized.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.