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Unread 03-05-2010   #1 (permalink)
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Question Unanswered: Worries about potential new addition to the family

Hello,

My wife and I have decided to get our first cat. We're both very excited! After doing a lot of research and consideration, we decided to get a very specific type of cat, and have a pretty specific preference on colors (or I guess I should say she does). Specifically we are looking into getting Scottish Fold. There are not a lot of Scottish Fold catteries in our area, but we are lucky enough to have found what appears to be the perfect kitten. He is the last unspoken for kitten in his litter, and of course looks very cute. After looking through all the cattery sites around us, we think we may not find another opportunity like this again for many months.

So this gets to my one concern. I spoke with the breeder a to arrange a visit this weekend, and was told that the kitten was separated from his mother several days ago. At that point he was just 7 weeks and 1 day old. According to the breeder, her vet who came to check up on the kittens told her it was the time. The breeder plans to send all of the kittens in this litter home with their new families next weekend (so they will be 9 weeks old). According to the breeder, all kittens are are eating well on their own and are at a healthy weight.

There are millions of different opinions on the web, but the biggest consensus seems to suggest that it is best to separate a kitten from its mother between 8-10 weeks from birth, and to send it to its new home 8-12 weeks from birth. Some seem to suggest potentially dire consequences if separation from the mother and its litter mates happen too soon. So, based on what I have written, should we consider passing on this kitten (we really don't want to), or do you all think things should turn out well? We will be going to visit with a friend who knows quite a bit more than us, which should help. When we are there, what should we look for to make sure the kitten isn't traumatized or might have potential behavioral issues?

Thanks!!!
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Unread 03-05-2010   #2 (permalink)
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Hi there, congratulations on deciding to become "owned" by a kitten

Now, I am certainly no expert - but I have always understood that a pedigree kitten should not be rehomed until its 12 weeks old. You may get younger kittens from non pedigree cats (my first two kittens were only 8 weeks old) - but generally all reputable breeders let you see the kittens and mother at the same time - we did with our Maine Coon Sasha - and we were not allowed to have her until she was 13 weeks old.

The vet must know what he is talking about to separate them from their mother, but I still think 9 weeks is too young to be rehomed. Still, lets see what your friend thinks - I will be interested to know!
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Unread 03-05-2010   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for the reply. We did some more looking into the breeder and everything seems to check out. We will try to feel everything out when we visit based on the kitten's personality and how it reacts to us. When you talk about purebreds needing more time, do they have special needs, or are these rules put in place by cat societies to protect the integrity of the breed? (ie, a purebred taken from its home too early may have behavioral problems which it then teaches to its kittens which then teach their kittens, etc, etc.) Did you have any behavioral issues with your non purebred cats that you took home after 8 weeks?

Thanks!
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Unread 03-06-2010   #4 (permalink)
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I think it's as much to ensure the kittens do not develop behavioural issues due to being rehomed too early as protecting the breeders integrity, it just seems to be the norm. One breeder who used to come on this site said that if people asked to take her kittens earlier she would not let them have one at all!

We've been discussing cats who "suckle" on their owners (and sometimes on each other!) as a result of being rehomed when they might have been too young. With my first two kittens, Tippy always suckled on me and never grew out of the habit all her life - but Ben her brother never did, so I think it's as much to do with cats individual development as their age.

Best of luck with your little Scottish Fold, I'm sure you will get a lot of fun and love - and please come back with some pics and let us know how it goes
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Unread 03-18-2010   #5 (permalink)
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Heidi,

Thanks again for your responses and help last week. To give you an update, we took our new kitten home last Saturday. He's been very social since the minute we got him, and was even friendly toward people who came up to him in the transporter during the train ride. Other than sometimes incredibly annoying meowing fits he goes into when he goes for 5 minutes without getting the attention he thinks he deserves (we made the mistake of reinforcing that habit on the first day), he's perfect. No behavioral problems as far as we can tell (litter box trained with no accidents yet, and uses the scratch post like he should, eats like a champ).

Within 30 minutes of bringing him home, he was running around the house like he owned it, and every day he learns a new trick and gains an ability to get somewhere else new we don't necessarily want him to go. And he has already very clearly grown attached to my wife and me. So all in all, everything has gone better than we hoped it would so far (knock on wood).

So while I won't recommend anyone else take a nine week kitten home, it seems we got lucky this time.

Thanks again,

Tim
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