Adolescent behavioral development
Cat Behavior and Development - 6-12 weeks
Welcome to part 2 of our adolescent cat behavioral series. If you haven't already, make sure to check out part one found here!
6-7 weeks: During this time, the kittens will start play fighting each other as they crawl around. They will also start investigating their immediate surroundings as they become more curious of their environment. You are now able to feed the kittens dry food without soaking it in water first.
8 weeks: The kittens are now ready to learn how to hunt! The mother will start bringing half-dead mice and showing them how to handle their prey. The mother is still around for most of this period and will rarely leave her kittens for more than an hour. She will, however, leave her kittens for a period if she is getting annoyed with their now increasingly wild play style. The mother will still call for the kittens when she feels it is time for breastfeeding.
9-10 weeks: The mother will start bringing live mice home to show the kittens how to kill and will encourage the kittens to try themselves. She will still breastfeed the kittens 4-5 times a day. The kittens will spend most of their time playing amongst themselves and with the mother; however, she will start to reject play time every once in a while.
10-12 weeks: The mother will release freshly caught live mice in front of her kittens to encourage them to chase the mice themselves. The mother will only intervene if the mice are getting away. She will still be breastfeeding the kittens approximately two times a day. This is rarely on the mothers initiative, typically only when the kittens are insistent. During this period the mother will leave the kittens to fend for themselves for longer and longer periods. During this period, she will rarely spend much time with her kittens to encourage their independence.
Evidently kittens are very dependent on their mother for the first three months of their lives. This is to ensure that the kittens are fully developed and able to take care of themselves once they leave home and have to establish their own territory. As they grow, kittens will begin to develop their own personalities and behaviors, too.
Next up from our Cat Behavioral Blog series is Cat Socialization. While you wait, leave a comment with what you would like us to write about, and check out our store for cat lovers by clicking here