Typically, kitten weaning begins at four weeks of age. Up until this point, kittens require nourishment from their mother’s milk. Kittens that are separated from their mother at a younger age have a significantly decreased chance of survival, particularly if they are not receiving veterinary care and bottle nourishment.
Kittens need their mother’s milk for a few weeks because if she has had vaccination, they will recieve the same immunities through her milk until they are old enough for their shots.
I have always been told that for weaning and development purposes, a kitten must remain with its mother until eight to ten weeks of age. In order to have as normal, and well-adjusted cat as possible, I would let the mommy cat handle things till then before you consider having the kitten as a pet.
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