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Friday, June 24, 2016

Was I weaned too young? Will I have behaviour problems?

Dear George,
I’m sitting here, on the stairs (as you can see in the photo) and left to ponder over my human’s words “that I was way too young” when I was rescued. It seems that my human mummy has this obsession about who could abandon me at such a young age.
The truth is that I can’t remember how old I was but probably I was about 4 weeks old when I “landed” into my humans’ backyard. How did I get there? No one, including myself, has any idea! Based on the comments I hear it seems that I lack some skills that only the biological mother can teach the kittens. Well, I purr-sonally don’t think I miss anything! Actually I think I’m purr-fect! And I live a very happy life! 
So George, why four weeks is “way too young” and “12 weeks is a bit old”?
Is there such a thing as “an appropriate age” for adoption?
A bit confused but otherwise Purr-fect!
CAT Victoria 

Dear Victoria,  
There are two reasons why cats should stay with their mother for about eight weeks minimum (if possible).  One is food. Mother's milk is the best way for them to grow big and strong, though they can take solid food as well from 4 weeks. If they are orphan kittens, most shelters will supplement solid food with special formula milk. 
But cats are very adaptable. If there is no mother, and they are put on all-solid food at four weeks, most will survive.  Feral kittens, that lose their mother, often start hunting earlier than those that still have a mum. They have to, if they are to survive.
The second reason is behaviour. Kittens learn a lot from the mother and siblings. They learn how to play without being too rough. They learn what is good to eat. Kittens brought up with a mother but without siblings may be less sociable towards other cats (we think). They may be more aggressive to other cats. 
If they are bottle fed by a human, it is said that they think they are human. They have difficulties mating. The other possibility - and research is under way on this - that they cannot tolerate frustration.
A mother cat starts pushing her kittens away from her when it is time to wean them: but human bottle feeders often don't do this. So the kitten doesn't learn how to tolerate not getting what it wants. 
None of this matters much, Victoria, if you have a good home, have been neutered, and have learned to be gentle with your humans. Yes you are Purr-fect!
Yours
George
PS. Going to your final home at 12 weeks, which is what most pedigree breeders suggest, is OK as long as you have had a proper upbringing with the breeder, met other cats, and met lots of humans. If you were born in a chalet and not handled enough, 12 weeks is late to learn about humans. But it is not impossible - look at Abby's progress here.

6 comments:

  1. Hey world! I was adopted today by Princess's parents :-) I'm 12 weeks old and handled very well! PLUS, my new parents adopted a rescue 6 months old which just got spayed and had no place to go! Hurray! Hope Princess will be our friend and share her house with us! We are very happy! Purrs to all!
    Pepe

    ReplyDelete
  2. CAT Victoria, reading your old letters we know you are up to mischief! I don't see why your mummy is worried! You are fine! If she worries about people who abandon cats regardless their age than she's right! But people can be very primitive and cruel!
    Diego

    ReplyDelete
  3. I was abandoned by cruel humans in a gas station when I was about four weeks old.
    Somehow I managed to cross a street and crawl into a backyard. I was lucky to find extremely good and loving humans! I was lucky! But how many of our siblings aren't that lucky? Humans are in desperate need to find their lost humanity and claim their souls back!
    Fifi

    ReplyDelete
  4. Carla, the tuxedo catJune 26, 2016

    Totally in agreement with Fifi's statement!
    Love to all cats and the good humans
    Carla, the tuxedo cat

    ReplyDelete
  5. Our in home pet sitting services in MO, Ballwin, Chesterfield, Manchester, and St. Louis helps your pet to exercise, practice the basic commands. We also offer cat sitting services to our potential clients.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Victoria, we all know you are purr-fect :-)
    Yes, you are!
    Jasper

    ReplyDelete

Help for cats whose humans show behaviour problems.

This blog is devoted to the study of human behaviour. We cats, who live with this sometimes unpredictable and always feeble minded species, can benefit from seeing their behaviour in its proper scientific context. The study of feline dilemmas, training problems, and difficulties with humans, can only benefit all of us. All of us train our humans - to buy the right food, for instance, but many of us do not have knowledge of how to improve our training methods. The human species is obviously not as intelligent as the cat, but nevertheless can learn quite a lot - if properly managed. Topics of interest include the use of claw and order, purring as a human reward, rubbing your human up the right way, when to bite, spraying as a method of making our wishes known, ignoring the human, human harassment, human inattention and sheer human stupidity. I welcome your questions. Photos can be sent via my secretary's website, www.celiahaddon.com This blog has been chosen as one of the top 50 feline blogs by Online VetTechprogramms.org