If you have suddenly found yourself in possession of an adorable ball of feline fluff with no idea how old it is and need a rough idea of age and how to take care of it, this post is for you. This post is to 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 can not hear or see. 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.
If you try to remove it, it will fall off when it's ready. Kittens should be kept warm at this age, and a heat source should be provided to keep their environment between 85 and 90 degrees. It is recommended that kittens be fed every 2 hours. Normally, the mother cat will take care of this, but if she is unavailable, the human caregiver will.
We will recommend speaking to a qualified veterinarian to go over feeding regimes and dietary requirements.
The kitten's ears will begin to unfold, and their eyes will open around 10 days. Kittens have blue eyes at birth, but they will most likely change as they grow. Kittens must still be kept warm and fed at regular intervals of every 2-3 hours. The kitten will require warmth.
The kitten's eyes are open, and one of its ears has unfurled. This is when the kitten will take its first shaky steps (have your camera ready). The feeding will take place every 3-4 hours on average. The kitten will still require warmth.
By this point, you should be able to tell how old a kitten is by its teeth because your kitten will start getting its first teeth. Buy it will 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 eventually grow canine teeth. The kitten is now capable of running, jumping, and playing (the vase on the coffee table is no longer safe). When resting, it will still require the bottle and a heat source.
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.
If you need a visual guide to try and find out how old your kitten is, a kitten age chart should be just a Google search away.