Separating a kitten from its mother can be a slow process. It varies from kitten to kitten, so knowing when to separate them often comes down to the individual kitten's behavior and age.

  1. Wait at least 8 weeks after birth

    Conflicting information exists about how long to wait before beginning the process of separating a kitten from its mother. A good rule of thumb is to wait around 8 weeks after birth, because kittens at this point are still very adoptable but resilient enough to survive without their mother.

  2. Socialize the kittens

    Normally, it's the mother's job to socialize the newborn kittens. This phase normally takes place around the 6 week mark. If the kittens have not been socialized properly, begin by touching them, petting them, grabbing them and picking them up often.

  3. Wean the kittens off their mother's milk

    If in regular contact with the kittens and mother, wean them off their mother's milk slowly between 4 and 12 weeks old. Occasionally offer them solid food on the side and increase the frequency with which you do this.

  4. Physically separate the kittens

    It's best to wait until the mother strays away from her kittens. In the case of a feral feline, wait until she leaves to find food. If the mother does not leave the kittens, wait until she is distracted and take them.