If you have suddenly found yourself in possession of an adorable ball of feline fluff and need a rough idea of its age and how to take care of them, this post is for you. In this post, our Los Angeles vets help readers understand the milestones that a kitten hits in the first 8 weeks of life.
Under 1 Week Old
This is a crucial stage, kittens in their first week of life are extremely vulnerable. They are born with their eyes closed and they stay closed for the first week. A kitten's ears are folded closed so they can’t hear. While the kitten is this age there should still be an umbilical cord attached to the kitten.
Do not attempt to remove the umbilical cord, 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. Momma cat normally will take care of this but if the mother is not available it falls to the human caretaker.
We recommend speaking to a qualified veterinarian to go over feeding regimes and dietary requirements. They might even be able to provide you with a kitten age chart for reference to help identify your kitten's age.
Around 10 days, the kitten's ears will start to open and its eyes will open. Kittens are born with blue eyes, but they will most likely change as they grow. Kittens must still be kept warm and fed every 2-3 hours at regular intervals. The kitten will need to be kept warm.
The kitten's eyes are open their ear has unfurled. This is when the kitten will start taking its first wobbly steps (have your camera ready). The feeding will be on average every 3-4 hours. The kitten will still need to be kept warm.
At this stage, you should know how to tell how old a kitten is by teeth because your kitten will start getting its first teeth. They still need to be nursed or bottle-fed. The kitten will start to show its curious nature and take greater steps to explore the world around it (baby-proof the area, if it can hurt them they can find it). The kitten still needs to be kept warm.
The kitten will get its canine teeth. Running, jumping, and playing are things the kitten can do now (the decorative knick-knacks on the coffee table are no longer safe). They will still need the bottle and a heat source to keep warm when resting.
Five to Six Weeks
The premolars have shown up and their molars will start making an appearance. You can start introducing them to wet kitten food and ween them off the bottle.
Seven to Eight Weeks
The kitten will be eating wet food and their eyes will change from blue to their adult color.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.