How Long Do Kittens Need to Stay With Their Mother?

Kittens need to stay with their mother until they are 8 or 10 weeks old and have finished the weaning process, however, kittens that are abandoned by their mothers can be nursed by humans. Newborn kittens have been nursed by humans before, but it is a difficult process and less than ideal, reports WebMD.

For abandoned kittens who must be nursed and weaned at home until they are old enough to eat for themselves, a veterinarian should be consulted. The veterinarian will help to set feeding schedules and guidelines, as well as check up on the kitten as it ages. The veterinarian will also be able to provide the person with the kitten's general health status and the kitten's approximate age.

Kittens who are fortunate enough to have a mother that cares about them and is interested in raising them should be left with their mother until they are weaned at 8 or 10 weeks old. The weaning process is important for kittens because it is what allows the kitten to gradually transition to solid foods much like the process that young human babies go through. The mother cat will lead the kittens into weaning on her own and the owner will not need to do anything to encourage weaning. If the owner would like to play a more active role, then he or she can take the kittens and put them in a place on their own for a few hours every day starting at 4 weeks of age. In the new place, the mother should be unable to reach them and the kittens should have access to food bowls, water bowls and a litter box.