Weaning cats: some answers come from a research

In the past few weeks, we have offered you a guide with some tips for educating your cat. The study explains: “Early abandonment increases aggression and stereotypical behavior in cats.” It is then recalled: “The recommended age for weaning of 12 weeks should be increased by at least two weeks. Extending weaning is an easy and convenient way to improve the quality of life of cats.”

There are about one hundred million domestic cats. The research of the three Finns is aimed at their behavior: “The cat is the most popular pet animal and people are increasingly interested in its well-being. One of the most discussed topics in the international debate is the weaning age, which is the age when kittens are separated from their mother and siblings and taken to a new home. In Finland, the recommended minimum weaning age is 12 weeks, but in many other countries, such as the United States, kittens up to 8 weeks are weaning.

So is it better to delay?

It is often thought that the critical period for socialization ends by 8 weeks of age. But the researchers say it’s better to delay instead. Ahola points out: “We have found that positive changes in cat behavior can occur after the recommended weaning age of 12 weeks. I am a cat lover and this study supports my previous experiences on the importance of the weaning age on the well-being of cats. I think raising the recommended weaning age would be the animal welfare act of the year ”.

This is an unprecedented study, which reveals details that had never before been taken into consideration: “We have discovered an easy way to improve the well-being of cats,”. Then adds: “We propose that the recommended weaning age be increased by two weeks. The number of cats in the world is immense and behavioral problems are very common. This could have a significant positive impact on both the well-being of cats and their owners globally”.

The sample on which the study was based concerns six thousand cats, so it certainly has some weight. The research says: “Many behavioral problems are more common than expected. More than 80% of cats were reported as being exposed to mild behavioral problems, while severe behavioral problems were reported for 25% of all cats. Feline behavioral problems can include shyness, stereotypical wool sucking, excessive grooming and aggression ”.

Cats like other animals

From Helsinki they explain that the behaviors of cats are similar to those of other animals and even humans. It is noted: “The age of weaning has an impact on the subsequent behavior of the cat. Cats weaned before 8 weeks of age showed more aggression and stereotypical behaviors ”. Then he remembers: “Cats weaned in adulthood had fewer problems of this type than other cats.” Finally, “cats weaned at 14 weeks of age had fewer behavioral problems than cats weaned before”.

The researchers then conclude: “These behavioral changes are also linked. We found that increased aggression correlated with increased stereotypical behavior. The impacts of early weaning appear to manifest specifically as aggression and stereotypical behavior, suggesting changes in basal ganglia neurotransmitters. “

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