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Free 3 Week Old Kittens...Should I Take a Pair?

Discussion in 'Cats - all breeds / types' started by DanjaVA, Apr 30, 2005.

  1. DanjaVA

    DanjaVA New Member

    I work at a pharmacy and one of our customers said 3 stray cats (i think they were her unspayed cats) recently had kittens all around the same time. So she now has 14 kittens that she's looking to give away.

    Since I was planning to get a couple of kittens in a few weeks anyway, I'm interested. The only thing is, she said the kittens are only 3 weeks old. I know this is waaaay too early for them to leave the mother. But she's giving them all away, so they are going to leave the mother too early whether I take them or not.

    She said she keeps the kittens in the house and that they are eating canned food and drinking water and she considers them ready to go.

    Would it be possible to take two three week old kittens and raise them into happy well adjusted adults? What would they need and what would i have to do to make them good pets?
  2. nern

    nern New Member

    At 3wks of age they still need their mothers milk! I introduced canned food at 3wks of age but my kittens still were nursing as well. 3wks is way too young, they will miss out on important social skills learned from their mother and siblings unfortunately. :(

    Is there anyway you could inquire about them further and mention/suggest to this woman that 3wks is really too young for them to be taken away. If she's going to give them away regardless of what you say I guess I'd go with adopting them but I would get some KMR and continue using this in addition to the canned food for about another 2-3wks. Good luck and let us know what happens.
  3. Mary_NH

    Mary_NH New Member

    for one thing in most states it is illegal to either sell or give away a puppy or kitten prior to 8 weeks of age and if this person insists I would tell her this.
    another thing is these kittens will learn tons of stuff from their mother in the next few weeks - socialization skills, litterbox habits, etc. Taking them now they miss a lot and you could end up with very unsocialable cats with terrible habits they can't help cause they lost the chance to learn correct behaviors from their mother.
    Also they STILL NEED their mother's milk.
    Wait...and if this woman insists I'd turn her in to animal control. If she's not bright enough to get her cats spayed let her live with the consequences for a few more weeks.
  4. Mary_NH

    Mary_NH New Member

    I take back the spaying part....did see the stray cat line....but still these kittens needs their mother for a few more weeks.
  5. Mary_NH

    Mary_NH New Member

    oh and you might want to keep in mind there is no such thing as a free kitten. If these kittens truly were born to stray mothers they might have some health issues you'll have to deal with.
    worms/parasites...even nasty diseases.
    so if you do end up taking one off to the vet as quick as can be with them.
  6. DeLaUK

    DeLaUK New Member

    I didnt know that, do you have any info/websites for this? Is California one of the states?
  7. vene

    vene New Member

    I can't believe that a 3 week old kitten is ready to go. :roll:


    These "free" kittens are going to end up to be very expensive should they develop any health problems as previously stated by a board member. They need round the clock care, proper socialization, vaccinations, vet care. KMR, karo syrup, and recipes for diarrhea and constipation, as well as emergency vet visits should be considered. If anything, I'd encourage the owner to give up the "stray" cats and kittens to a no-kill shelter so they'll have a better chance at a decent life. I've fostered 5 week old kittens before and 1 of them did not make it due to congenital problems. I don't think I've quite healed from that experience yet. It's a risk you take when you take in these poor little creatures.

    On the other hand, you may already know what to expect and will do your utmost best to care for the babies. Will you be prepared if the cats contracts feline AIDS, leukemia, or FIP, or have congenital abnormalities? If you are indeed ready to take them in, they are very fortunate to have you. Pics are a must should you take them in! Honestly, it's less of a headache + bills should you adopt from a no-kill shelter like the Ten Lives Club or the SPCA.

  8. yogi

    yogi New Member

    3 week old kittens are never ready to adopt

    Vene, as you are aware I have 11 cats. I have raised Manx's for several years and granted this is one breed that cannot truly be adopted out til 14 weeks due to health issues, no kitten should really be removed until at least 10 weeks. The nursing process whether one see's a kitten eating solid food and drinking water or not is not privy to the time still spent nursing. If you were to put a camera on the mother and kittens 24 hours a day in a cattery environment you would be suprised to see that kittens will spend up to 10 times more nursing than they will ate a dish with solid foods. The nurtuiring, weaning and socializing process cannot be accomplished in 3 weeks and expect the kitten to obtain the natural ingredients from it's mother's milk that is designed to assist the warding off of potential diseases. It is needed for several months to ensure a truly developed immune system. Obviously this woman is really not aware and needs to be told that eating and drinking in no way means that these kittens are any way close to be removed from their mother.
    It is not to say that the kittens will not survive but that the odds are not in their favor that they will contract something if they do not aleady have it and will not have the strength to fight it. I had an AKC breeder of Poms about 5 years ago advertise Manx kittens for sale. Non registered pure bred like mine. I when and was interested in 2. She told me that they were 10 weeks of age. Even though I knew that was not an appropriate age for Manx's I elected to purchase them. They appeared to be small for their age but on the whole Manx's are not really large breed cats. Within a few days I took them to my vet only to find out that they were not even 7 weeks of age. Unfortunately the next week the smallest died.
    The other Tika Li battled severe cases of Giardia and Manx Syndrome. She is the mother of Tai Li and 2 males that my son adopted when they were 15 weeks old. Hopefully someone can convince this woman to be patient with these litters and hold off adopting them out for at least another 5 to 6 weeks. Maybe if people are interested they can offer to cover the cost of the feed for the ones that they want. I know that when my shep/husky and malamute/wolf pups were sold I advertised at 10 weeks noting would not be released til 13 weeks. They were all sold that weekend and each paid then came back 3 weeks later to pick up the one they purchased. I do not see where this may not work if the woman truly wants whats best for the kittens and feed may be an issue.
  9. DeLaUK

    DeLaUK New Member

    Bottom line is this, the woman who has the cats, either through lack of knowledge or lack of caring is trying to give the kittens away at 3 weeks of age, I would definitely try and talk her into keeping them at least for another couple of weeks and explain about the nursing and socializing etc.
    Is it possible for you to maybe offer to have one of the cats spayed in return for her doing this? Sometimes a little incentive can make a difference and while I know its not your place to pay for her cats and Im not trying to make you feel obliged in any way, its just a thought, Ive 'traded off' on things like spays and neuters before in return for someone doing whats right for unwanted or unexpected kittens and puppies.
    In a perfect world the kittens would stay until at least 10 weeks of age but its not a perfect world and sometimes you just have to make the best of a bad situation.
  10. yogi

    yogi New Member

    Perfect world, maybe not

    I agree, it is not a perfect world but that does not mean one person cannot take a step in the right direction and try....
  11. Petz8888

    Petz8888 New Member

    At least wait till there 8 weeks old!

    Then its safe.

    WE did this for our kittens andf then we waighted till they where a year.
    I mkean we had been giving them a small amount of milk 2 tines a day.

    They are good now!
  12. vene

    vene New Member

    I think overall 8-12 weeks if preferable in most breeds. But if the kittens come from a feral or stray cat, they need to be weaned and socialized much earlier unfortunately. Human babies thrive on formula alone, and that should work for kittens as well although the mother's milk is preferable.
  13. yogi

    yogi New Member

    general reason for length of time

    especially for feral kittens is due to disease and immune issues. Mothers generally are not in best of health. Mothers milk though offers best solutions for kittens immune system until they can be seen by a vet for necessary meds.
  14. t_chelle16

    t_chelle16 New Member

    We recently adopted a kitten that the shelter said was 8 weeks but she was really closer to 6. And they'd had her for a week before we got her so she was probably around 5 weeks when she was taken from her mother. She's doing good now but she was pretty unhealthy there for a while and 2 of her litter mates died while they were still in the shelter. After this experience, I will never adopt another kitten less than 8 weeks and I think I'd actually prefer closer to 12 weeks.

  15. yogi

    yogi New Member

    it is unfortunate when this happens

    the fact will always remain that the nuturients that kittens need will come from it's mother whether feral or not. The ferals on the farm have had kittens and only about 1/2 as is survive. Removing a kitten for the sake of socialization does nothing for the kitten if it's chances of receiving what is needed to ward off disease and illness is overlooked. Socialization can be achieved in a feral kitten at 10 to 12 weeks, it just takes longer. By placing the kittens in an area where you can get to them and the mother has difficulty removing them will generally ensure that at the appropriate time when the kittens are truly ready, they can be removed. My sister has just done this recently with a feral. She had 5 kittens. My sister gathered the kittens and put them in the sun room. The mother has been fiercly agressive if anyone goes near or the kittens but only tried to move them once and my sister was able to preventer from doing so. That was 2 weeks ago. The kittens are now approx 5 weeks old. She is now handling the kittens daily and the mother has become patient with this. It can be done if one is willing to work with it. Odds are these kittens will all survive due to people helping not hindering mother natures process.
  16. coppersmom

    coppersmom New Member

    I found my Copper Cat when he was about 2 weeks old and the dogs and I hand raised him. I fed him KMR and the dogs...how should I put this...tended to the other end. He turned out pretty well. Actually better than the vet predicted. He said hand raised cats have aggression issue but Cop really doesn't. He does have some litter box issues, but I've read alot of that on this board. So I can't really say the reason is that he was taken from his birth mother too early. He doesn't really groom himself like most cats though. That probably is from not having his mom's influence. When Sabrina moved in, she started grooming him (after the hissing stopped). She doesn't do it anymore though. He must have looked pretty rough to her when she first saw him lol. Adopting a very young cat is not ideal, but can be done if no other choice.
  17. DanjaVA

    DanjaVA New Member

    Thanks for your replies everyone. I've decided not to take kittens from this woman. I work full time and just won't have the time to devote to feeding and caring for them. When I take on a pet I want to know that i'll be able to provide everything they'll need to be happy and well behaved. I just wouldn't be able to do that with these kittens (even though i was and am very tempted to take them). I'll go with my original plan to adopt a pair from my local shelter in a few weeks.
  18. vene

    vene New Member

    Good luck and don't forget to post their pics and tell us about your new furbabies!
  19. I_Miss_Baz

    I_Miss_Baz New Member

    I'm hoping this woman will at least listen to you an dleave the kittens with their mother for a few more weeks...the longer the better.

    And we'll be waiting to see pics of your new additions when you get them..where ever you decide to get them from.
  20. Mary_NH

    Mary_NH New Member

    I did once voluntarily take a kitten from its mother at the age of 6 weeks. I was going to adopt from the shelter when my sister told me she knew of a litter of "free" kittens. I went w/her and I have never ever in my life been in a bonafide cat collector's house - don't ever want to do it again either. I wouldn't sit on or touch any furniture in that apt. It was disgusting....my son, then 4 years old with a loud voice...yells out "hey mom why is it so messy in here" :oops:

    Anyway there were approx. 30 unneutered/unspayed cats in this place sharing one little cardboard box filled with dirt as a litterpan. And 3 tiny kittens living in the (I'm sure unused) bathtub. Gross vile disgusting....I had to go home and shower and apply Advantage to my neck after leaving there - and I left w/a kitten. The woman didn't want me to take her so soon but I couldn't have left that poor kitten there.

    And the term "free kitten" is a misnomer - ain't any such thing. I spent a fortune getting all of feline-kind parasites off this kitten. You could literally feel the flea eggs clinging to her fur. Of course she had worms so everytime I dewormed her I had also to do my old cat.

    She ended up being a gorgeous, loving cat!!! But again she was 6 weeks old a vast difference from 3 weeks old and in that environment she probably didn't get a lot of attention from mom anyway.

    Her biggest thing she couldn't overcome was her "scarf and barf" method of eating....I'm sure it was survival of the fastest in the place - she ate hard and fast and then donated 1/2 of it back into the dish

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