Getting a new kitten can be so much fun but there is still a lot to know about your growing kitten. Our Tucson vets will give you a breakdown of what to expect as your kitten grows and this will help you determine how old your kitten is.
About Newborn Kittens:
Newborn kittens are so cute and cuddly but when they are first born they are very vulnerable and fragile. Your kitten can not hear or see because they are born with their eyes closed and their ears are folded closed so they can’t hear. Your kitten's eye will stay closed for the first week.
While the kitten is under a week old there should still be an umbilical cord attached to the kitten. Do not attempt to remove it will fall off when it’s ready. At this age, kittens need to be kept warm and a heat source should be provided to keep their environment between 85 to 90 degrees.
Kittens are recommended to be fed every 2 hours but with their mother nearby, she can take care of this. If you notice she is not feeding them enough or the mother is not around, we will recommend speaking to our Tucson vets to go over feeding regimes and dietary requirements.
The kitten's ears will start to unfold and at around 10 days their eyes will start to open. Kitten starts with blue eyes but they will most likely change when they grow up. Kittens still need to be kept warm and with feedings at regular intervals of every 2-3 hours. The kitten will need to be kept warm.
Now, you may be wondering when your sweet little kitten will start walking on their own. This takes a bit longer but they should be walking within 4 weeks. They will need to gain muscle and coordination so be prepared for the kittens to tip over a lot.
Things to look out for:
When your kitten is first born and its eyes have not opened or developed so try to keep your kitten in a dark room away from the bright light that could damage her developing eyes. It’s also important to keep the kitten clean and healthy during this time. Kittens can develop crust around their eyes that can stop them from opening. This could be an infection and does need to be taken care of. You can try to clear this up at home by running warm water on a face cloth and gently wiping away the crust. Do not pick or pull it off. If this does not clear up in a day or two bring your kitten to see our Pet Doctor vets.
Most importantly, never try to force a kitten’s eyes open before they are ready. Be patient and let it happen naturally.
What to expect in the first 8 weeks:
Now that you have made it through the first few weeks with your new kitten, you may want to know what is coming next. There will be a lot of new and exciting things happening with your kitten in the first 8 weeks of their lives.
- At two weeks, your kitten's feeding schedule will start to change and they will require fewer feedings. The feeding will be on average every 3-4 hours . This may not seem like a big difference because they will still be feeding a lot but they are requiring less and less from their mother and becoming independent. The kitten will still need to be kept warm at this point because they still have not gained enough weight to stay warm.
- At three weeks your kitten will start getting its first teeth, but it will still need to be nursed or bottle-fed. The kitten will start to show its curious nature. Your kitten still needs to be kept warm .
- At four weeks old and they are growing and learning so quickly. At four weeks your kitten will get its canine teeth. Running, jumping, and playing are things the kitten can do now. It will still need the bottle and a heat source to keep warm when resting.
- At 5-6 weeks old they will be getting their premolars and molars. When this happens you can start to introduce them to wet kitten food and ween them off the bottle.
- At 2 months old they will be eating wet food and their eyes will change from blue to their adult color.
You can also determine the age of your kitten by how much they weigh. A kitten’s weight in pounds roughly corresponds to his age in months, and your kitten will gain weight at a predictable speed until about 5 months of age.
As long as a kitten is a "good size" and growing , you can safely guess that a 1-pound kitten is about 4 weeks old and a 3-pound kitten is about 12 weeks old for example.