Why Do Breeders Keep Kittens Until 12 Weeks?

Breeders often keep their kittens until 12 weeks. Many prospective kitty owners get a little bummed out by this fact. 

After all, not much is cuter than a teeny tiny kitten. 

So why do breeders keep kittens until they are 12 weeks old?

Why Do Breeders Keep Kittens Until 12 Weeks?

Kittens stay with their breeders and their mothers until they are 12 weeks old so they have time to develop both physically and mentally. If they are weaned from their mother and separated from their littermates earlier, it can increase the risk of aggression, anxiety, and other problems.

Cats are independent, unlike dogs who run in packs. They don’t learn from humans the cat behaviors they need in life, and unlike dogs, they don’t look for guidance because of their independent nature.

It is also helpful for breeders to keep the kittens until this point, so they are dewormed and receive necessary medical treatments, including vaccinations.

Within the cat breed world, keeping kittens until 12 weeks can also mean keeping them until 14 or 16 weeks, depending on the type of cat breed you are talking about.

Like humans and dogs, cats are individuals, developing in their own time. Some cat breeds will develop and learn necessary skills and behaviors earlier in life than others.

Therefore, you may find that a cat breeder may even keep their kittens until 16 weeks to ensure that the kitten has learned what they need to from their mother and littermates. 

They want to leave enough time for development and proper learning since they won’t learn these behaviors later in life.

Breeders keeping their kittens until 12 weeks or later often makes for a better adjusted and more sociable cat when it comes to their relationship with other cats and dogs in the present and future. 

Their temperament and attitude are better, and they get along well.

Cats and kittens also need to be exposed to human touch before being adopted out to a family. 

Sometime after about four weeks until they are adopted, they will be exposed to plenty of human touch, which helps socialize them.

This time for human contact with the breeder who is skilled and knowledgeable in this area allows them to develop into a more friendly and loveable cat for the future.

Is it better to get a kitten at 12 weeks?

Why Do Breeders Keep Kittens Until 12 Weeks 1 Why Do Breeders Keep Kittens Until 12 Weeks?

Yes, getting a kitten at 12 weeks or even older is better. This timing gives the breeder, kitten, and mother or littermates time to finish everything they need regarding growth, learning, and bonding.

Since cats are independent, they need this time to develop socially and mentally, physically, and emotionally.

Adopting a kitten sooner is possible, as some breeders do it, but your kitten or cat will be more social, happy, and pleasant the longer you wait.

When you adopt an older kitten, they are still a kitten, and you won’t miss any fun when it comes to playtime, love, and affection. 

Giving this extra time and adopting around 12 weeks of age ensures that everything is in order.

The kitten has been weaned and they are developing and growing, they are happy and healthy, and the breeder has done what they needed to do for their kitten.

Cats can learn certain behaviors, but since they don’t run in packs, it is unlikely that they will learn a lot from those around them once they are grown if they are weaned too early from their mother and litter.

They might learn to wait for those cat treats or be content for a few extra hours if you get delayed at work, and they are hungry, but cats don’t model other cat behaviors, dogs, or humans for that matter. 

They aren’t going to look at you for guidance if they get cranky and decide to scratch the dog.

They also won’t care if you scold them for doing so, saying Bad Kitty, as they swish their tail and move along to something else. 

They are independent and don’t operate that way.

Why should you wait eight weeks for a kitten?

You should wait eight weeks for a kitten because they are not usually weaned from their mother until this time. Some kittens and mothers may continue the nursing a little longer, but it will be sporadic and without consistency.

By eight weeks, the mother cat is often done and will push them away or refuse to let them nurse mothers, milk.  She will have had enough of caring for her babies physically and may also seem snappish and annoyed.  

This attitude is normal even though it may seem a little harsh to us humans.

Adopting a kitten before eight weeks would deprive them of this time to nurse as their mother should naturally wean them along with their littermates. 

If it is done too soon, it could cause health issues and other problems.

Mother cats milk provides for the kitten in a way that ensures their good health and wellness and provides a necessary bond that we as humans can never adequately provide. 

This is why the time they spend together as littermates and mother while nursing and growing is highly important for the kittens.

It is vital from about 4-5 weeks on, and at this point, to be handled a lot because kittens are not pack animals and are not used to social interactions with humans or human touch.

Breeders manage this, but if you are adopting a kitten and must wait beyond eight weeks, you can help the breeder continue the process of getting them used to the human touch and make them more friendly by spending time with them.

The sooner you help in this area if the breeder is open to this, sharing special moments with your kitten holding them, and so forth will strengthen your bond overall.

In Conclusion

Waiting until 12 weeks to take home a kitten is a crucial step in ensuring their overall health and wellness throughout their lives. It helps them be more pleasant and friendly, which is vital for their life as a companion to humans.

While it is possible to wean and adopt them out sooner, it can have adverse outcomes for everyone involved.

Sometimes waiting is best and in the case of adopting a kitten, as adorable as they are, sooner is not always better than later!