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Both puppies and kittens are very much the same, just as dog and cats are, in many different ways. One of those is that both kittens and puppies should not leave their mother until they are at least 8 weeks of age. Unfortunately, a lot of people are impatient and greedy and are more concerned with making money off of selling these living breathing dollar signs (speaking in their opinion, not my own. I obviously don’t see them as walking, loving, breathing dollar signs…) than considering the well being of the animals. That has led a lot of people into believing it’s okay to separate the young at only 6 weeks of age, but that’s completely false. Although at six weeks the puppies and kittens should be eating solid food, 6 weeks is when they should start to eat it and you should never separate an animal who is just learning how to survive without its mother because 1) it could decline the food and starve itself and 2) become highly ill because its body is not yet ready to be completely separated from the milk of its mouth. Don’t think you can turn to cow’s milk to replace mom’s milk though. Cow’s milk will actually cause serious health problems and a lot of people who don’t care to do research and just make assumptions, have killed newborn and young puppies and kittens because of this. I’ll write another thread about that and about feeding a newborn puppy or kitten that does not have its mother.
Anyways, back to 6 weeks not being an appropriate age to separate mother and children… When the puppies and kittens are 3 to 4 weeks you should start separating them from their mother for just a few hours at a time. During this you can give them newborn kitten or puppy formula by laying it out on a cookie baking sheet. This will teach them how to eat food but still gives them the smell, taste and comfort of mom’s milk. If they decline to eat it at first, it’s no big deal and should be expected. Going from suckling to licking is a big change!
Only keep the youngsters away from mom for two or three hours and kept in a place sectioned off. A large kennel or play pen (pet or baby - but if a baby’s playpen make sure it isn’t one with bars but with mesh or cloth so they can’t slip their heads between it), a tote (if you only have one to four, any more and you’ll need to have multiple totes or boxes), a large box, etc. all work extremely well. Make sure there’s enough room for the cookie sheet with the formula and room for them to roam and explore.
Every day, starting at 3 or 4 weeks, separate the puppies and kittens for two or three hours. At 5 weeks they should be separated from mom for between four and seven hours each day. At this time you should be giving them wet puppy food or dry puppy chow with a little bit of water. Some people mix water and formula, with more water than formula usually, and use that to dampen the “dry” puppy food. By six weeks you should be giving them dry puppy food that isn’t softened. However, some puppies and kittens may be more picky than others and this is perfectly normal so don’t be alarmed but also don’t force the pup or kitten to eat the dry food if it isn’t ready. If some still require dampened food then give it to them while still providing the others with dry food. You should wean the others off though by making the food less and less damp every day.
By 8 weeks the puppies and kittens should all be eating dry food with no difficulties and should no longer be “feeding” off mom.Some may still try and that’s completely normal but starting at 6 weeks you should remove the animal away from the mom if they’re suckling and try and separate them more often. At those 8 weeks you should be in the clear to have people come and pick up their new kitten or puppy. A lot of people start advertising around 5 or 6 weeks and allow people to pay a deposit to hold the animal and at 8 weeks they can pick them up. Make sure if you allow people to put the animal on hold that they pay a deposit. If they’re not willing to pay a deposit they’re most likely not actually going to come through. If you’re just rehoming the animals you should always ask for money because free animals are often used for abuse or bait animals for fighting dogs or even young puppies and kittens for large snake food. So if you’re just trying to rehome them and not make money, a fair deposit is $20 and you should immediately get your pet fixed because non-papered animals should never be bred for any reason at all; pure bred or not, considering people can get pure bred animals that are death row inmates in shelters. If the animal is papered and you’re trying to actually make money off of them, a fair deposit is often half or a third of the expected payment. You should also type something up stating that the person is paying a deposit to hold a specific animal. The paperwork should leave a blank space for the person’s name, a description or name of the puppy/kitten, the date the animal is to be picked up, the amount paid for the deposit, the remaining amount owed upon pick up, and then the total amount it will come out to once the puppy/kitten is officially bought. Deposits are rarely refundable so it’s good to mention that to people immediately in the ad and then also on the paperwork. To make a form official they’ll need to sign and date and you will too. If you both don’t sign it is not considered a binding contract (at least in many states but it’s good to research your state’s laws). It’s also great to have a witness sign so the person can not say “they forged my signature” or anything along those lines. Asking for a non-refundable deposit makes sure your buyer are completely serious and not teenagers who think the puppy or kitten looks cute and in a haste makes a decision, then a day later becomes impatient and gos through someone else. It also shows responsibility and commitment too and it’s great for you as well. When holding an animal and you don’t get a deposit, I’ve learned from a year of not getting a deposit for animals placed on a hold, most people back out. When this happens you wasted all this time not advertising that specific animal, thinking someone is coming, when you could have advertised the animal the entire time and found it a real and serious new owner. Of course if the person backs out, with or without a deposit, they backed out and you still have the animal and didn’t spend time advertising for it. However, at least you have the money to make up for that time in food and whatever costs the animal needs during its remaining days with you until you find it an owner.
I hope this information helps and good luck to anyone who has puppies and kittens in need of homes once they’re of age. Please remember that pure bred animals die in shelters every single day and cats more often than dogs many times, if the shelter even takes in cats (which many don’t, leaving them on the streets to die much worse deaths..) so please never breed an animal unless it has papers proving its linage and that it’s pure bred. Without papers it makes absolutely no difference at all compared to a mixed breed. Papered animals can be taken to shows and are often used for breeding too. Unless you plan to show your pet or breed them, there really isn’t any reason to purchase an animal and you should instead go to a shelter and adopt. Shelter animals are not damaged and are ignorantly and selfishly abandoned and dropped off by irresponsible, lazy owners who are not considerate about the animal’s well being. Remember, when you get a new pet, without saying or even thinking it, you’re agreeing to care for that animal for the rest of its life. If you cant handle a 10 to 20 year commitment, don’t get a dog or cat! Also please never breed a Pitbull, Staffordshire Terrier, American Bully, or any of those breeds, in and even Chihuahuas, as they die in shelters more often than any other breed. They are beyond over bred and because of this many shelters kill them instantly upon coming in, never even placing them up for adoption. It’s sad and sick and the owners who bred the dog to create that animal is extremely selfish, thinking about money and nothing more. Your best friend or family member you trust completely could purchase your puppy or kitten, but that doesn’t mean it won’t end up in a shelter. Many tests have shown Pitbulls and Chihuahuas and mixes of, many times at least half of the litter ends up in a shelter between the ages of one and two years. Out of those, tests have shown, at least half of them will die there. They die going into a back room all alone, terrified, able to sense the death of those before them. It is proven animals can sense death and they know when they’re about to be euthanized. Imagine being on death row and not committing a single crime..
Please, think before you breed. There are too many pure bred animals dying in shelters every single day and that goes quadruple for Pitbull and like breeds and Chihuahuas, as well as cats. Think about the puppies and kittens well being. I run a rescue and have for years and despite finding “good people”, many animals have been abandoned in shelters (even though I have people sign agreeing to return them to me.. People would rather abandon the animal in a shelter to die than bring it back and without saying it admit they were too irresponsible to care for the animal). There are of course some reasons to rehome an animal such as health concerns or if you lost your job and are becoming homeless, but being pregnant, adopting a child, one person in the household losing their job, or losing your job but still able to pay your rent and other bills because of a savings account or family/friends helping or unemployment payments, are definitely not reasons to rehome an animal. Again think about the animal’s well being and do that before you go to get a new pet or before you decide to breed your dog (or cat). Good luck, to you and your pet(s)!