I know that the recommended age to separate kittens from their mother is 12 weeks, though some suggest that 8 weeks is alright too. Now, I'm wondering if a kitten become orphaned earlier than that, what differences does it make in the future of its development, psychology and future behavior?

  • 1
    we have several simmilar questions,like this one pets.stackexchange.com/questions/17380/… kittens develop at different speed so it is a little hard to answer your question but you can get an idea about this by reading some of the related Q&As. Nov 25, 2019 at 5:50
  • According to my experience, babies who can easily eat on their own, and are fully active can be separated from their mothers. My dog keeps feeding her puppies even when they're up to 5 months old, but they are able to survive fine without her after they're 3 months old. Of course, dogs and cats are similar yet different and all babies grow at a different rate,.
    – Bella Swan
    Nov 26, 2019 at 12:53
  • @trondhansen My question is a bit different. I'm not asking what is the optimal age, but what are the effects of early separation.
    – Milkyway
    Nov 28, 2019 at 1:22
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    @BellaSwan my question about behavioral difference that early separation make, not the survival rate.
    – Milkyway
    Nov 28, 2019 at 1:24

1 Answer 1


I wouldn’t recommend doing any earlier than professionals suggest.

It can impact their emotional, physical, and behavioral wellbeing. Certain consequences can last a lifetime. Kittens need their mothers to develop physically and emotionally. If that is impacted it will influence their behavior. Then certain behaviors may last throughout their life.

I’ve heard that they can have anxiety and separation issues. This means they may not be able to attach properly by either having anxious attachment or avoidant attachment. Then of course they may not also develop correctly because they need the nutrients and care from their mothers.

From there it can lead to behavioral issues. They may improperly use the restroom, chew or destroy things, play rough, etc.

There is a YouTube channel called Kitten Lady that explains all the stages and needs kittens have. They need help being fed, going to the restroom, being groomed, etc. Also with being fed, they need fed every few hours so that would require waking up several times in the night to feed and being home during the day to feed as well.

In the end it is very challenging for kittens to be separated at a very young age. I would follow the guidelines professionals have!

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