Kittens are without a doubt one of the cutest creatures on this planet. In order to help these precious creatures grow up to be strong and healthy, they will require intensive care as newborns. Our Long Beach vets share what happens during the first stages of life in order for you to tell how old a kitten is.
About Newborn Kittens:
Newborn kittens are a beautiful sight, they are also very delicate and must be carefully cared for from the very start. 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.
Nutrition For Newborn Kittens
Your new kitten or kittens will need to eat every two hours, their mom will know when it is time. If you notice she is not feeding them enough or the mother is not around, we will recommend speaking to our Long Beach vets to go over feeding regimes and dietary requirements in order to help you with bottle feeding your kitten.
When Newborn Kittens Start to Move
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. During this stage, you should be sure to keep your kitten clean and warm in order to help them stay healthy.
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 Spring Animal Hospital vets.
You should be sure to never attempt to force your kitten to open their eyes, they will open them when they are ready.
What to expect in the first 8 weeks:
Once you make it through the newborn stage you will need to be prepared for what lies ahead. The things that your kitten does during the first 8 weeks of their life will help you to tell how old your new kitten is.
- 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.
- 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 but it will still be important to keep them warm.
- Four weeks: 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.
- Five to six weeks: They will be getting their premolars and molars. This is the right time to begin to ween your kitten and introduce wet food.
- Two months: They will be eating wet food and you will say goodbye to the baby blue eyes at this point as your cat's eyes become their adult coloring.
Weight is another great way to tell the approximate age of a kitten. Until the age of 5 months, a kitten’s weight in pounds roughly corresponds to his age in months therefore a kitten that is one month old would weigh roughly a pound just as a three-month-old kitten would weigh around 3 pounds.