How Do Kittens Eyes Develop
Between 8 to 12 days, the eyes will slowly begin to open, which can occur over the course of several days. One eye may open more quickly than the other it’s important to let the kitten’s eyes open at their own pace. All kittens will be born with blue eyes, which will transition to an adult eye color with age.
Is It Possible To Make A Kitten Open Its Eyes
Do not pressure a kitten into opening their eyes earlier than they’re ready to do so. You run the risk of not only permanently damaging their vision but also causing an infection that can have fatal consequences. The following are signs and symptoms of an infection in the eyes:
- Pus coming from the eyes
- Eyelids sticking
If you suspect your kitten has an eye infection, take them to the vet. If an eye infection is left untreated, your kitten may lose one or both eyes. Luckily, we have antibiotics on our side. They can be used to treat eye infections and are usually very effective.
RELATED: 600+ Best Girl Cat Names
Your Kitten’s Development In The First Six Weeks
Alycia Washington is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine with nearly a decade of experience as a small animal emergency veterinarian. She currently works as a relief veterinarian for various emergency and specialty hospitals. Dr. Washington recognizes the importance of education and also works as a freelance veterinary writer.
The Spruce / Phoebe Cheong
The all-important first six weeks in a cat’s life will do much in determining its personality and character for the rest of his life. This period is extremely important for the health of the developing kitten.
Very young kittens are susceptible to several serious threats, such as parasites and upper respiratory infections , which when combined with other problems can lead to fading kitten syndrome , a serious and often fatal condition. FKS is more often found with litters of stray and feral cats, so if you are in a kitten foster situation, those kittens should be kept away from other cats in the home until they have all been checked clear of communicable disease.
Kittens will probably never grow again at the remarkable rate they accomplish during this period, and seeing the changes in their development from week to week is an incredible experience.
Recommended Reading: How Much Time Do Cats Spend Grooming
Three Weeks Old Kitten
If you are bottle feeding, youll notice the kittens are drinking much more at each feeding, but at fewer feedings, probably four to five times a day. At this age you can start introducing solid fooduse wet food at first, and try mixing it with kitten formula. By the end of the week, their weight will have increased to close to 15 ounces. They are walking steadily, without too much wobbling.
Tweed is three weeks old!
When Can I Hold The Kittens
You can start holding the new kittens from about 10 days to 2 weeks onwards! Your little ones are now able to see whats going on around them and its time for them to explore the world outside of their litter box. Theyll also be starting to walk soon dont forget that they need some help at this stage, as well as plenty of space for running around!
You should always wash your hands before touching a kitten or its littermates and make sure that all surfaces are clean where youll be holding them.
You May Like: Natural Balance Duck And Pea Cat Food Recall
Kitten Eye Health Issues
Because kittens have developing immune systems, they can be very susceptible to diseases and parasites. These potential threats can cause gooey, running, and crusty eyes in kittens and lead to more health issues if left untreated. Diseases like feline rhinotracheitis are common to cats, cause poor eye health, and can be detrimental for their future. Always keep your kittens clean, free of fleas and parasites, and give them their core vaccinations as soon as possible, which typically starts at six weeks old. Never let poor health symptoms persist for more than a few days. Seek help from a veterinarian so that your kittens health issue can be treated before it progresses into a bad situation.
Is There Anything To Do If An Infection Occurs
Even if your kitten’s eyes open when they should, and you take all the proper precautions, eye infections can still occur. You should take your kitten to the vet if they develop an eye infection so that they can be prescribed antibiotic eye drops. As a precaution, change their bedding frequently to prevent the spread of infection, keep the kitten in a dark, safe area, and gently clean their eyes if they become crusted. Avoid getting the solution in the eye when washing your kitten’s eyes with soap or any other cleaning solution.
Keep an eye out for any other cats living in the house. If you’re caring for a Queen and her kittens or already have a cat from another litter in your home, you should know that eye infections are incredibly infectious. Do not isolate your kitten unless your veterinarian specifically instructs you to do so. When kittens are nursing, separating them from the mother could be harmful, even fatal. As your kitten grows, they need to interact with their littermates.
Don’t Miss: How To Stop Cat From Kicking Litter Everywhere
How Long Does It Take For Newborn Kittens To Open Their Eyes
It will take 8-12 days for a kitten to open its eyes. It will take a couple more weeks after their eyes open before they can see, and at around seven weeks old, their eyes change color.
After the first week, their eyes will still be closed, but some early bloomers may begin to show signs of their eyes opening already. During this time, kittens can only wiggle around and seek warmth.
They huddle with their littermates to keep warm while the mother cat is not present. Also, during this stage, if a mama cat is not present, the caregiver will need to bottle feed the kitten every 3-4 hours with kitten formula.
At his point in their life, a kittens sense of smell is improving, and they may be more mobile within their space.
At week three weeks, the eye should be open, and the kitten should be able to see. Things are now in focus for them, and they can see the world around them, even at a distance. At this age, some early developers may attempt pouncing for the first time as they are becoming more able to move around their environment.
The kittens needs during these developmental stages are specific and require extensive kitten care knowledge on the part of the caregiver or breeder. Luckily, by the time kittens go into their new homes, they have already developed basic skills.
Observe How They Walk
Newborn kittens cant walk or stand. Instead, they crawl for lack of a better word.
They wont be interested in much more than sleeping and eating.
However, their coordination will improve during the third week, and theyll become curious about the surroundings.
Once the kittens are around four weeks old, you might expect escape attempts from the nest as the little ones begin to explore.
They will also start to hide around the house.
Observe your kittens mobility. If the kittens belly-crawl, theyre probably newborns.
Unsteady and wobbly kittens are three-four weeks old, while kittens that run, jump, and play are at least 1-month-old.
Read Also: How To Stop Cats From Fighting Outside
How Much Do Kittens Sleep
New kittens are quite like newborn babies in that they need to sleep for much more time each day than the average adult cat.
Newborn kittens sleep around 90 percent of the time, accounting for around 22 hours a day, according to pet food company Purina. As they mature, they will need less sleep an average cat sleeps between 13 and 16 hours a day, roughly twice the amount a human requires.
“Kittens are babies and just like human babies they need plenty of sleep and round-the-clock care,” Anita Kelsey, feline behaviorist and author of the new book Let’s Talk About Cats,told Newsweek.
“They are being cared for by their mothersthis includes getting warmth from their fur and bodies. They have not developed yet and so they are pretty dependent on their mothers for health and care until their senses have developed. Kittens, just like human babies, get tired very easily and do fall asleep in the most unusual positions.”
“Kittens sleep a lot, between periods of frantic activity! From birth they can sense warmth and have a sense of smell. These guide them to their mother’s belly. Between 216 days, their eyes open and their vision slowly improves,” added Celia Haddon, a cat expert and author of A Cat’s Guide to Humans.
Stimulation For Urination And Defecation
Mother cats groom their kittens to stimulate urination and defecation on a regular basis. If you are acting as their foster parent, you get this important duty. Very young orphan kittens will not be able to urinate and defecate without your help, so this is a crucial part of neonatal kitten care. Before and after each feeding, gently rub the kitten on its lower abdomen, as well as the genitals and rectum with a cotton ball/pad dipped in warm water or a fragrance free baby wipe. Make sure to rub only enough to get the kitten to eliminate because overstimulation will irritate the area. Keep an eye out for chafing and lingering dirt and do not let the kitten get chilled. Kittens should urinate during each stimulation. They should defecate at least once daily.
General guidelines are:
- Kittens need to be stimulated until about 3 weeks of age.
- Kittens should be stimulated before and after each feeding.
- Kitten should urinate every time and defecate at least once daily.
When kittens get to be 3 4 weeks old, they no longer need help eliminating body wastes. Place a litter box in the crate or cage and fill with litter or shredded newspaper.
for a video from Maddie’s Institute on how to stimulate a kitten to urinate and defecate.
Don’t Miss: How Much To Put Chip In Cat
Weeks: Kittens Open Their Eyes And Ears
Kittens come into the world with their eyes and ears closed and spend the first week or so of their lives blind and deaf. Their eyes open during the second week, but their vision isn’t very good at this point, and they’ll need to be kept out of bright light, says The Spruce Pets. The blue eyes that kittens are born with may start to change color during their third week, which is also when their ears begin to open and perk up, introducing them to a whole new world filled with sound.
Kittens have the ability to make sounds from birth, and may be heard making little mews to let their mother know they’re hungry, says Catster. Purring typically begins during week three, and kittens tend to become more vocal as they start being able to walk, play and explore their surroundings.
What Do Kittens See When They First Open Their Eyes
When kittens first open their eyes, they see a world of wonder and excitement. Everything is new, and are eager to explore. Their little minds are filled with questions, and they are constantly learning.
They see their mother and learn that she is a source of comfort and food. They see their brothers and sisters and learn to socialize and play. They see other animals in their home and learn to coexist.
It is a time of great exploration and learning for kittens. Everything is new and exciting to them. They are constantly discovering new things, and their minds are growing every day.
Kittens are playful and curious by nature, and they will use their newly opened eyes to help them navigate their way through the world around them.
Read Also: Do Flea And Tick Collars Work For Cats
More Newborn Kitten Care Advice
Similar to newborn human babies, newborn kittens spend a lot of their time sleeping, waking occasionally to be fed and cared for. Kittens can sense warmth and use their sense of smell to move towards their mother’s belly and are dependent on a source of milk and warmth to aid them in their development.
Newborn kittens sleep approximately 22 hours a day, but more mature kittens and adult cats require less sleep. Your kitten’s mobility will start to improve at about the same time their teeth start coming in at around two weeks they are crawling and by four weeks they are able to walk, jump and play more steadily. This is also when their capacity for mischief increases, as they are curious and adventurous and often eager to practice climbing!
It’s Important For Newborn Kittens To Stay Warm
Newborn Kitten Require Proper Nutrition
Months: Ready For Adoption And Neutering
Kittens shouldn’t be separated from their mother and littermates until they have been fully weaned and socialized. Kittens continue learning normal cat behavior from their mother until well into their tenth week, says Petful, so in order to give each kitten the best chance of becoming a well-adjusted cat, it’s best to wait until at least ten weeks before allowing them to go to a new home. You can also wait twelve weeks to allow time for the next important round of vaccinations in the kitten timeline.
Kittens are ready to be spayed or neutered by six months of age. Many vets, however, will perform the procedure as early as eight weeks if the kitten weighs enough to safely undergo general anesthesia.
Also Check: Why Does My Kitten Lick Me
When Do Kittens Open Their Eyes Everything To Know About New Cats
Cats are the second most popular pet in the world after dogs, with more than a quarter of households in the United States owning at least one, according to the U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook.
Most of them are acquired when they are still kittens, which are cute but require more care than adult cats.
Here are some things you need to know about looking after kittens.
Is It Bad If A Kitten Opens Its Eyes Too Early
While kittens usually open their eyes in the first week or two of life, its not unheard of for kittens to open their eyes as early as three days old. The newborn kittens eyes are extremely sensitive to light, and young kittens are especially susceptible to eye infections. If your kitten opens her eyes when shes only a few days old, she may suffer lasting damage to her vision. Contact your veterinarian, and keep your baby kitten in a dark room to protect her sensitive eyes. A kittens vision and hearing are weak at first, but your fur baby will develop night vision six times greater than ours, along with extremely keen hearing, within a matter of weeks.
Don’t Miss: What Is The Cat’s Name In Cinderella
The Kitten Becomes Adult Around 18 Months
The kittens physical, emotional, and psychological development ends on average around 18 to 24 months, depending on the breed. But there are always exceptions that vary with the cats size: a Siamese, relatively small, becomes an adult long before a very large Maine Coon, which does not finish growing until 2 or 3 years old!
About Dr Tammy Powell Dvm
Dr. Tammy Powell is a small animal veterinarian who earned her degree from the University of Georgia in 2010. After that, she spent several years practicing in Florida, followed by two years overseas in the United Arab Emirates. Passionate about both animals and writing, Dr. Tammy then transitioned from clinical practice to freelance writing on pet and veterinary topics. She also writes about animals in a fictional format and is working on a childrens book about cats with superpowers. Dr. Tammy lives in the West Valley of Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, two stepchildren, and a beautiful rescued Himalayan cat named Luna. You can learn more about Tammy at PetCopywriter.com or TamaraSpellAuthor.com.
Also Check: Big Cat Rescue Tampa Fl
Eye Infection In Newborn Cats
Newborn kittens are especially susceptible to eye infections because their immune systems are not yet fully developed. The most common cause of eye infections in newborn kittens is bacteria that enter the eye through the tear ducts. Other causes include viral infections, allergies, and foreign bodies such as dirt or sand.
Symptoms of an eye infection in a newborn kitten include red, watery eyes, discharge from the eyes, and crusting around the eyes. The kitten may also rub its eyes or hold them closed. If the infection is severe, the kitten may have difficulty breathing and may need to be hospitalized.
Treatment for an eye infection in a newborn kitten will vary depending on the cause. Bacterial infections are treated with antibiotics, while viral infections are treated with antiviral medications. Allergies and foreign bodies can often be treated at home. If the infection is severe, however, the kitten may need to be hospitalized for intensive treatment.
Do I Need To Help Care For Newborn Kittens
If the delivery was without incident, the queen, or mother cat, will spend most of her time with her kittens during the first few days after birth. For the first month of life, kittens require very little care from the owner because their mother will feed and care for them.
In fact, in the vast majority of cases, the pet owner should not interfere with the queen’s care. Within a few hours of birth, it is extremely important that kittens receive colostrum, or the first milk, which is rich in antibodies and helps protect the newborns from infection. The kittens need to be kept warm and to nurse frequently you should check them every few hours to make certain that they are warm and well fed. You should also check the mother to make certain that she is producing adequate and normal-appearing milk.
“In the vast majority of cases, the pet owner should not interfere with the queen’s care.”
If the mother does not stay in the box, you should make sure the kittens stay warm. Kittens are not able to control their own body temperature, and rely on the external environment to keep them warm. It may be necessary to provide supplemental heat. During the first four days of life, the newborns’ box should be maintained at 89° to 93°F . The temperature may gradually be decreased to 80°F by the seventh to tenth day and to 75°F by the end of the fourth week. If the litter is large, the temperature need not be as high because they huddle together and their body heat provides additional warmth.
Also Check: My Cat Kicks Litter Everywhere