Kitten Development Timeline

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Kitten Development Timeline

Sometimes it’s hard to believe how a tiny mewing kitten of your palm size grows fast into a full-fledged adult cat. Once a moment, they are tiny creatures that can’t even open their eyes, while on the other hand, they win your heart with their adorable, curious and active nature. It is a whirlwind moment for cat owners when they become a parent of a kitten because, during the developmental stages of a little feline, many changes occur, especially in her first eight weeks of life.

Whether your cat has just given birth to a newborn baby or you want to adopt that little further along, here we have covered some captivating behavioral and growth milestones that happen in a kitten’s life.

Newborn Kitten

When a kitten is born, she has her eyes shut and ears folded. Her eyes continue to develop even after birth. They are sensitive to light; therefore, closed eyes help hypersensitivity. Newborn kitties also have no teeth or even gums. During their neonate stage, they are completely helpless and are entirely dependent on their mothers for feeding, mobility, and staying warm. Just after the hour of their birth, they start nursing. The baby’s mama nurses her kitten and helps her suckle and latch on.

During this period (at 1-5 days), their umbilical cord is still attached to their mother and will fall in 3 to 4 days on its own. Their paws and nose color will be pinkish. If you see them sleeping the whole day, it is normal because of their sensitivity to light newborns spend most of their day sleeping. The average weight of your newborn kitten will be between 1.8 ounces to 5.3 ounces.

Newborn kitten lying with its mother

Premature Kitten

Sometimes, kittens come to this world at an early stage. Due to their premature birth, they have lower weight and are weak than the average newborn kittens. For this reason, they have small body sizes and have no fur on most of their body. These fragile kitties do not have the energy to crawl to the mama cat or even hold their heads up. Therefore, these runt kittens require extra care from her mother and pet owner.

Sometimes pet owners need to guide them to get their mother’s nipples. As a pet parent, you will need to closely monitor the weekly developmental stages of runt kittens so that you can learn what to expect on their journey of becoming a cat.

Week 2: Kittens Open Their Eyes

When kittens are born, their eyes and ear canals are closed. They are responsive to temperature changes and touch but rely on their mothers heavily. In the first two weeks, their mothers don’t leave them alone; they spend their time with their baby kittens to fulfill their needs and requirements.

In the second week of their life, kittens will begin to open their eyes, although they don’t have clear vision. They also start responding to sounds.

Small kitten on hand

Week 3: Kittens Start Walking

In the third week, your little feline kitten will start her paw coordination as she will more likely start walking to explore her surroundings. But still, she will stick close to her mom and her littermates.

According to experts, in these early stages, it is essential to make your kitten used to being handled and picked up, also interact with her gently every day to become familiar with your face and voice and feel comfortable around your presence.

Week 4: Kittens Start Socializing

During the fourth week of a kitten’s life, they become comfortable moving around in a human’s environment, although they will remain close by their mothers. Moreover, in this stage, they start recognizing different vocals of cats and will love to jump into the social play. Her sense of balance is more likely to improve during this social stage of life.

Kitten walking beside its mother

Weeks 5 & 6: Kittens Behaves Like an Adult Cat

Between the fifth and sixth week of the kitten’s life stage, she will more likely begin to behave like an adult cat when it comes to playing. This will be the best time to interact and socialize with your growing kitten. You can also teach her playing tips and discourage bad habits such as scratching and biting during this time.

By the five weeks of kitten’s age, she will start running, and by six weeks, she will play with objects. Provide her with toys and scratching posts and play with her with catnips.

You can also introduce her nail clippers and brushes as it is a great time to have fun with her by interacting with her through any games.

Be sure to touch the kitten’s ears and foot when you hold her, as this will prepare her for ear cleaning and nail trims when she gets older.

Weeks 7 to 16: Kittens Continue to Grow Bigger

Your kitten will continue to grow heavier until she reaches her maturation. However, some breeds finish their maturing at different developmental ages. The kitten’s desire for playing will continue to ramp up at this point, but she also will continue through adulthood.

After understanding the playing and socializing with your kitten, the time has now come to establish a comfortable grooming routine for her. Brush her coat and clip her newly long nails to clean and groom her.

Two cute kittens are playing outdoor

What Should You Feed Your Kittens?

To get your kitten on an optimum schedule for vaccination, your vet will help guide you on the best time to transition your kitten from her mother’s milk to kitten food. Take recommendations from your veterinarian about high-quality wet and dry kitten food and pieces of advice on how, when, and what to feed your kitten.

Final Thoughts

Watching a tiny newborn kitten growing into a full-grown cat is a wondrous thing. Knowing her development cycle helps you with what to expect and how to help her grow into a happy and healthy feline companion.

If you can afford then adopting two kittens is better than one as cats love the companionship of the same species, especially when they are littermates. It means they have twice fun and love, and also they don’t feel lonely when they are home alone.

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