Dear Tabby

Experts answer your kitten's questions in terms that humans can understand.

By Marty Becker, DVM, and Janice Willard, DVM

Page 6 of 6

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I am 5 weeks old and I've started eating solid food. My mama's humans are talking about finding me and my siblings new homes. But I don't want to leave mama yet. When is a good time for me to leave the nest?

"I don't blame you for wanting to stay with Mom for a bit longer Mom-cat is much more than just a snack bar," said Amy D. Shojai, author of "Complete Kitten Care."

"There are some really good reasons for you to stay where you are a while longer. Professional cat breeders and many behaviorists recommend waiting until you are 12 to 16 weeks old because that allows your emotional health and social skills to mature more fully. A number of problem behaviors often develop in kittens that leave the nest too early. Humans just aren't as good as cats at teaching important manners, and you have a lot to learn. Your humans shouldn't worry about an older kitten not bonding as closely; the truth is, even adult cats become very strongly attached to loving people, and a 12- to 16-week-old baby is just as loving as a younger one. Of course, in shelter situations, sometimes it's not possible for kittens to stay with Mom for that long. When you must go to a new family before you're 12 to 16 weeks of age, your humans must take steps to help you learn proper kitten etiquette: how to inhibit biting and clawing, proper litterbox use and all the other important feline must-knows."

                                   - More About Kittens -

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Reader Comments

mary    westmont, IL

7/5/2012 1:32:41 PM

I have a question - does a cat wagging a tail mean they are happy or unhappy> AWhen I talk to my cat or pet her she wags her tail. I was told that means she us not happy with me. Is this true

Bernice Babitt    Roscoe, IL

12/28/2010 6:20:36 PM

I would like to know why my kitten doesn't want to sit on my lap and let me pet her. How can I train her to do this? She is 8 wks. old.

Karen    Utica, NY

3/13/2010 5:30:13 PM

We just got 2 6-month old kittens, Scooby and Shaggy. They are brothers and get along great with each other. When Scooby has a toy in his mouth, he will growl. Shaggy is no where near him, and he will let us take the toy away from him. He has no reason to feel threaten.

Is there anything we can do to teach Scooby that it's not ok to growl? Any suggestions would be appreciated

Amanda    Greenville, SC

11/20/2009 12:56:09 PM

We are getting our first kitten in a few weeks from my biological mother; I have never had a cat and found this VERY informative (and cute!)

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