Most of the people think how do cats give birth. I’m going to talk all about the biological development of young kittens and how you can tell what age a kitten is. It’s important to be able to identify the age of the kitten because that’s going to tell you how to care for them. (to kitten) Are you adorable or what? Rosalita here is going to be our model for the next eight weeks to teach you all about aging kittens. Starting with… newborns! You’re twitching in your sleep. I can’t wait to watch you grow up! Their ears are gonna look really small and tight to their head, just like a little tiny teddy bear. At this age, they don’t have any teeth, so if you open the mouth and look inside, you’re going to see very pink gums.
The nose, the mouth, and even the little toe beans might look very pink at this age. A truly newborn kitten will also have her umbilical cord. Here’s Rosalita’s umbilical cord. It’ll fall off on its own around four to five days old. So don’t try to pull it off or cut it off yourself, just leave it as it is. A newborn kitten like Rosalita here is the most vulnerable that you could possibly work with. These little ones can’t thermoregulate and need to be kept very warm. At this age, they also don’t have a gag reflex, so you need to be very, very careful while you’re feeding them. Newborn kittens will sleep for the majority of the day, waking up only to eat and go to the bathroom. They can’t walk around, but they might be able to wiggle a little bit to move towards or away from heat. They should be pretty alert when handled. They should be able to wiggle around, make sounds, meow, and let you know that they’re doing okay. You’re so wiggly! The average weight of a newborn kitten is between 75 grams and 150 grams.
It’s important that you’re weighing them multiple times a day and making sure that they’re gaining weight. Their average temperature is 95 to 97 degrees at birth and because they can’t thermoregulate at this age, it’s critical to provide them with a heat source. Their environment should ideally be between 85 to 90 degrees at this time. A kitten this young should be with her mother, so do everything you can to keep her with her mom. If you can’t keep a kitten this young with her mom, then they need to be syringe fed with a kitten formula. You can watch all my videos about how to take care of neonates on my YouTube channel. Kittens who are orphaned and don’t have a mother will be more susceptible to disease, so be very careful about handling them. Keep them in a safe space and avoid any contact with other animals. A newborn kitten should be with her mom, but if she’s not with her mom, you need to make sure you’re syringe feeding her a kitten formula, that you’re providing bathroom support in the form of stimulating them to go potty, and that you’re keeping them warm and safe. Kittens who didn’t consume colostrum from their mom within the first day of life will be more susceptible to disease.
The colostrum present in the mother’s milk provides passive immunity to the kitten in the form of antibodies, and if a newborn kitten doesn’t nurse on mom during the first day of life, that means they’re going to be even more immune compromised. So keep these little ones safe. The care schedule for a kitten who is zero to one week old is every two hours. It might sound like a lot, but it’s important to do even overnight. So please care for these guys every two hours. After you care for them, they’ll just go to sleep. So this is our zero-week-old Rosalita, a newborn kitten. So how can you tell if the kitten is a newborn? If they have an umbilical cord, No teeth in their mouth, their eyes are closed, and their ears are very tiny, you can bet that that’s probably a newborn kitten. Rosalita is one week old. Her eyes are still closed, her ears are starting to slightly unfold, and you’ll notice she no longer has her umbilical cord. She just has a nice little belly button.
A one week old kitten is still very small, but they’re much more sturdy. You can see her head has gotten a lot bigger, her belly is a lot bigger. This is a very healthy looking one-week-old. Kittens one to two weeks old will weigh between 150 to 250 grams. Their average temperature is 97 to 98 degrees, and it’s critical to provide them with a heat source. Their environment should ideally be around 85 degrees at this time. Their average amount per feeding is 6 to 10 milliliters, and they should eat kitten formula every two to three hours, including overnight. Something you’ll notice on these little guys is their claws are non retractable. So her claws are out at all times of this age. Rosalita’s eyes are still closed for now, but around 8 to 12 days, they’re gonna slowly start to peel open. One thing that I notice on seven-day-old kittens is they start to get a little bit more of an eye line. I can more clearly see where the eyelid is and where it’s going to peek open. By one week old, kittens will have almost doubled their birth weight if they’re doing well.
So if you get a kitten whose eyes are closed but who has already lost their umbilical cord, you know that they’re probably between five and eight days old. One-week-olds are still largely uncoordinated and they still sleep for the majority of the day. You might just see that they’re a little more active, a little bit more squirmy, and they’re starting to try out some of those first walking behaviors. She still fits in the palm of my hand. But by this age, she’s made it through the very most vulnerable week of life. So good job, Miss Rosalita! Seven days old is when the ear canals will start to slowly open up. So if you look, you can actually start to slightly see inside of the ear. As that happens, you may find that they slowly start to respond to sounds a little bit more than they did before. At this age, they should be able to lift their head up, and they should be able to wiggle around using their limbs. We’ve got eyeballs! So here we have our two-week-old kitten. At two weeks old, kittens’ eyes will be open and they will be baby blue. Kittens this age will have enlarged pupils and their vision will be very poor.
The ears will be upright but very small, like a baby bear cub. Peeking inside the mouth, we can see that she still has no teeth. The claws will still be non-retractable. Kittens start to open their eyes between 8 and 12 days of age, and it can look a little funny while they’re doing this. One eye might open more quickly than the other or it might only happen halfway one day. All kittens are born with blue eyes, and that’s not due to pigmentation, it’s due to a lack thereof. As the kittens get older, their true pigment will come through. But by 14 days of age, kittens will generally have their eyes nice and wide open. Two-week-old kittens are starting to spend a little more time awake and they might even try to take their very first steps, so they’ll be quite uncoordinated. They might wiggle around like a little worm, they might be able to take some steps forward, but these guys are not great at walking.
They’ll start to exhibit signs of curiosity about the world around them, but they definitely are not interested in playing yet. Kittens two to three weeks old will weigh between 250 and 350 grams. Their average temperature is 98 to 99 degrees, and it’s still important to give them a heat source at this time. Their environment should ideally be around 80 degrees. Their average amount per feeding is 10 to 14 milliliters, and they should eat every three to four hours, including overnight. And at this age, kittens can receive their first dose of dewormer, which is typically repeated again after two weeks. A two-week-old kitten is still going to be nursing and she’s still going to need to be stimulated to go to the bathroom. But when they’re awake, they should be able to hold their head up, look around, and make crawling motions. [tiny mew] You’re so vocal! Such a cute age! When I’m caring for an orphan, two weeks is when I make the switch from a syringe to a bottle. I find that most of the time, kittens do a lot better on a bottle around this age than they do when they’re younger. Rosalita here is a great bottle feeder now. You’re becoming a little more than a handful! They’ll also have what I call a triangle tail. It’s a very, very short little triangular tail, and while they’re walking, it will wiggle behind them like an antenna. Three weeks old! Miss Rosalita is now three weeks old!
Three weeks is arguably the cutest kitten age ever. At three weeks old, Rosalita’s eyesight is rapidly improving and you can see more of the blue of her eyes. That’s because her eyes are maturing and her pupils are able to dilate according to the light, so she can actually focus better and start looking around a little bit more. Her vision isn’t quite perfect, but it’s definitely getting a lot better. Her ears, on the other hand, are fully mature at this age. Her hearing has completely improved and now she’s able to respond to sounds around her. She even wakes up when she hears her name called. Hello! All these improvements in hearing and vision make them a lot more interactive at three weeks old Ooh! Kittens three to four weeks old will weigh between 350 and 450 grams.
Their average temperature is 99 to 100 degrees and it’s still important to give them a heat source. Their environment should be around 75 degrees. Their average amount per feeding is 14 to 18 milliliters, and they should eat from a bottle every four to five hours, including overnight. So this is the age where you start to really feel like you’re interacting with a small cat. Three-week-old kittens also have major improvements in their coordination. She can start to slowly walk around. She’s not gonna be prancing or running or playing at this age, but she will be able to put her feet underneath her body and transport herself where she needs to go.