Kitten Development

Kitten Development is amazing to watch. Within a few short weeks, kittens go from being entirely helpless to being self-sufficient. Of course, in the beginning, kittens do two primary things: eat and sleep. Their cat mom cleans them and stimulates them to urinate and defecate. When sleeping, your kitten may twitch. Do not be alarmed. This is normal. People often do the same thing during the lightest stages of sleep. this is a normal part of kitten development that helps their nervous system and muscles develop properly.

The umbilical cord that connected Mom to the kitten normally falls off in 2-3 days. Infections of the umbilicus are rare as long as the surrounding conditions are clean and Mom is doing her job.

Kittens are born deaf and blind. They also are born without teeth and cannot crawl and walk. But not for long .......

Usual kitten development includes kittens' eyes most commonly opening between 7 to 10 days of age. Do not attempt to pry the kitten's eyes open before this. Let the eyes open when they are ready. The one exception to this is when a kitten has a swollen eye that is not opening on time and has a whitish or yellowish discharge pasted around the lids or coming from the corner. If you see this, it is urgent that you get the kitten to the vet immediately. The vet will open the eye and start treatment for the infection which may be very stubborn to clear up and can even lead to blindness in kittens.

I get a lot of questions about the color of kitten eyes. Eyes are blue when first opened and many owners want to know if the eyes will stay this beautiful blue color. It is impossible to predict. Over time, they will change to their adult color. Most become more greenish than blue.

Around week 5, a kitten can see clearly. Again, if the eyes are ever red, swollen, have discharge or appear cloudy, take the kitten to the vet immediately.

Additional milestones in kitten development include the development of hearing around 4 weeks of age. The ears have been open for 2 weeks already, but it take 2 more weeks for hearing to become acute. Deafness is possible, especially in white cats with 2 blue eyes. Deafness can be difficult to recognize at that young age.

Baby teeth are first seen sometime between 2 to 4 weeks of age. By week 8, all of the baby teeth are usually in place.

A kitten cannot crawl until 1 to 2 weeks of age. Walking usually begins just a few days after that, and most kittens are walking well at 3 weeks. They need to learn to walk on a surface that offers traction, such as carpet, not smooth vinyl flooring.

Around 4 weeks of age, the fun begins! The kittens now follow each other around and play with each other. Within the next week, theye ven start to including stalking and pouncing in their play. At this age, they will also begin grooming themselves and each other.

Developmentally, kittens are said to still be kittens until they are 18 months of age. Therefore, even if your 6 month old seems like a large cat already, he could continue to grow until he is 1 1/2 years old.

For further information about feeding and training, CLICK HERE to leave Kitten Development and Return to the kitten index at Taking Care Of Kittens