When working with a breeder, a Bengal-owner-to-be is likely waiting on baited breath to bring their new kitten home. But kittens need to go to their forever home at the right time, moving too early or too late can cause a variety of problems for the kitten. This is a rather in-depth situation so let’s take a look at it with these topics:
Kittens leaving their mothers at a certain age is extremely important to the development of the kittens because they go through a substantial amount of emotional, social, and physical growth in the first few months of their lives. If they don’t go through that development the way they need to, they may be lacking or even flawed in some of the key developmental stepping stones that can make a new Bengal kitten grow into a loving and healthy adult Bengal cat.
The first problem that can be caused by a Bengal kitten leaving its mother too soon is that it may be lacking in social skills, both with humans and especially cats. If a Bengal kitten looses its attachment to its mother too early, it may direct that broken heart and emotional pain on all cats instead of just at its mother. If the cat feels that its mother abandoned it, it will likely come to the conclusion that all cats are negative, will hurt it, or will abandon it as well.
Thoroughly socializing a kitten is critical, therefore exposing the kitten to humans and cats that it knows will go a long way in taking a kitten from a pet to a friend of the humans and other animals in its life. If these Bengal cats aren’t socialized properly as kittens, it can even develop into cat aggression as the kitten grows into an adult.
Kittens’ immune systems haven’t developed until after about two months of age. Until this point, Bengal kittens are protected from illnesses by their mother’s immune system. If they are separated before their eighth week, kittens will be unprotected from illnesses that they may encounter. For the kittens’ health, the best option is not to separate it from its mother until at least eight weeks old.
Stress and the change in diet that come along with rehoming can bring on diarrhea. The older a kitten is, the more body mass it has and therefore the better it will be able to handle stress and diet change caused bouts of diarrhea.
Kittens may also be getting less water in their new home than they were at the breeder’s. This change can lead to dehydration is the small, unassuming body of a Bengal kitten. This can cause them to quickly lose weight causing serious health problems in the under-developed body of a Bengal kitten.
Then is weaning, or the removal of a kitten’s mother’s breast milk from the kitten’s diet. The kitten receives its mother’s immunity from its mother’s milk until it develops its own immunity at eight weeks. The process of weaning can take weeks but it needs to play out at its natural pace for the Bengal kittens to develop correctly.
The weaning begins with the mother, who begins refusing to nurse the kittens on her time. When this happens, the kittens learn how to deal with frustration and also avoid behavioral problems that would otherwise develop if they didn’t learn the lessons that they needed to from being weaned.
At six weeks old, kittens can leave their mother, but they will generally develop their health and social skills better if they are kept with their mother until 8 weeks old. Taking kittens from their mother too early can lead to a variety of development problems. This is especially true if the kitten is sickly or having trouble weaning or otherwise developing.
To see the interaction between a Bengal kitten and its mother, check out the video below:
The kittens don’t need to stay with their mother until they are full grown, just old enough that they have developed the way they need to and have reached the proper and necessary milestones. Taking a kitten during this time from its mother and siblings and placing it into unfamiliar surroundings can cause significant stress and a variety of medical problems.
The timing to take a Bengal kitten from its mother and place it into its forever home is a complicated one that needs to be considered thoroughly for the best development of the kitten.
So, what do you think about the age at which a Bengal kitten can/should leave its mother? Do you agree with what was said here? Comment below to let us know!