Stages of Kitten Development
Can you tell what age a kitten is by looking at him/her? Read about the stages of kitten development and learn how to! And remember, if you find a litter of kittens, after making, positively sure, mom isn't caring for them, always take kittens to a veterinarian ASAP for an examination.
Newborn: When a kitten is first born she is completely dependent on mama cat or her caregiver. The kitten’s eyes are shut and her ears are folded over. She cannot even regulate her own internal temperature and needs help staying warm. The kitten will weigh just mere ounces. Either mom or her caregiver will need to “stimulate” her bottom to get her to relieve herself.
One week old: The kitten will begin to start wiggling around on her own. Her eyes may start to open, although most kittens begin to open their eyes at 9-14 days old. The kittens are all born with blue eyes but their eye color will change to its natural color in the coming weeks. She should be double her weight now.
Two weeks old: The kitten’s eyes should be open by now. Her ears are unfolding and she is gaining her sense of smell. The kitten will begin trying out cat behaviors such as hissing and kneading. Her teeth will begin to grow at this age so don't be alarmed if she nibbles at you or other things.
Three weeks old: The kitten will start walking around on her own. She will probably be a little wobbly and uncoordinated at this stage. Her eyes may start changing color. The kitten will also be able to use the bathroom on her own and does not need to have her bottom stimulated. You can begin litter box training the kitten at this stage.
Four weeks old: The kitten will start to get the hang of walking and walk more confidently. She will start to form bonds with her siblings and will wrestle with them, building those motor skills. Don't worry, they are just learning how to hunt and play! The kitten will still be nursing from mama cat at this age.
Six weeks old: Mama cat will start weaning the kitten away from her and the kitten can start eating wet food. She should weigh around one pound at this point. The kitten will still nurse from her mother to satisfy her need to suckle. The kitten is growing more independent and will want to socialize with you. She will be running and jumping around, learning how to play.
Eight weeks old: The kitten can usually get spayed or neutered at this point. Veterinarians recommend sterilizing kittens at 2 pounds, which they usually weigh around this age. The kitten is also ready for adoption once she is sterilized! She will be fully weaned from her mom. If she has been socialized, she will be friendly with people.
Three months old: The kitten’s growth rate has slowed down considerably. She will continue to grow in muscle and size but at a slower rate. She is becoming an adult cat now and you may notice she is losing her baby teeth.
Four months old: The kitten is getting even more brave and adventurous at this age. Don’t be surprised if she is scratching your furniture; she is learning how to play and use her claws. If your kitten is not sterilized, you still begin to see hormonal changes.
Six months old: At this age, the kitten and caregiver will really begin to cement a bond now. She will look like a smaller adult cat at this stage. She should lose her kitten pudginess and start to look more lean. You should take the kitten to the veterinarian so her teeth can be examined. All of her baby teeth should be out at this point.