The first six weeks in a cat’s life are critical in determining its personality and character for the rest of its life. In terms of health, this period is also extremely important for the developing kitten , as young kittens are susceptible to problems such as fleas and upper respiratory infections.
It is important to determine the age of a kitten to know what kind of care it needs and if it is developing normally .
Kittens may never grow back at the rate they can during this period, and seeing the changes in their development from week to week is an incredible experience. I will start with the first week and continue with the following.
You may be interested in reading the article: “The birth of a cat.”
The kitten in the first week
- Kittens are born blind and deaf.
- Kittens do not have teethwhen they are born .
- They weigh between 90 and 100 grams. By the end of the first week they should have doubled in weight.
- To keep their body temperature stable they need the warmth of their mother. We must ensure that the place where they remain all day has a constant temperature to avoid hypothermia or hyperthermia.
- The mother encourages her kittensto relieve themselves, licking their bellies and genital areas, eating feces and urine.
The two week old cat
- The kittens continue their growthat an astonishing rate, at least 10 grams per day.
- Their eyes will begin to openand be fully open between 9 and 14 days of age. All kittens’ eyes are blue. They must be protected from bright lights.
- The baby’s incisors are coming out, they are the small teeth that are in the front part of the mouth.
- The ears arestill bent at this age.
- The sense of smell is developing. They will often have a preference for a certain nipple.
- You may be able to determine the sex of the kittens at this time. But don’t be too sure.
The three week old cat
- Kittens can eliminate now, since their digestive system is developing.
- They will begin to socialize, with each other and with people, and they will want to explore what is around them.
- Some kitten will start to purr.
- Their eye color may begin to change, from blue to the hue they will have as adults.
- By three weeks, his ears will be perchedand his sense of hearing is developing.
- They begin to move
- The sense of smell is quite developed.
The kitten in the fourth week
- The depth perceptionis
- The sense of smell is fully formed.
- The long teeth next to the incisors, called canine teeth, will begin to break through the gums.
- Their bodies are disproportionatewith very large heads for their legs and bodies.
- The kittens are learning to walkwithout tripping.
- They will become more involved with their siblings, even to the point of forming “alliances” that may or may not be based on gender.
- Each time they move further away from the nesting area to explore their environment.
The five week old cat
- The kitten’s teeth will continue to develop. The premolars will start to come out.
- Kittens will run and play with confidence.
- You can start giving the kittens dry or wet food . Not everyone will consume food right away, so patience is important. Try a small amount, initially.
- Kittens can also be litter box trained. They need a separate, smaller box, one that is easy to get in and out of.
- Their sense of independence will begin to develop, although they will not stray too far from their mother or their littermates.
- This will be a good time for you to socializeappropriately with people.
- Although the cat will attempt to wean the kittens , theystill need to be breastfed, until they are eight to ten weeks old, by which time the cat will have gradually weaned them.
Cats with six weeks of life
- Socialization skills continue.
- The kittens will follow their mother’s leadin socializing with humans. If she has a good relationship with humans, so will her kittens. However, if kittens are not used to human handling in six weeks, it will be a long and slow process to train them later.
- The mother cat will feel comfortable leaving them for longer periods, theywill jump, fight, and play constantly, until they fall asleep.
Advice for these first six weeks of the kitten’s life
In conclusion, I insist on the importance of socializing kittens in these first weeks . They must learn at this age that hands are not for playing, hands are for holding, caressing and feeding.
One of the best “toys” to teach this lesson is a plastic straw. You can drag her across the ground and watch the kitty chase her, move her around a bit, and allow her to jump up and capture it. The kitten can proudly show off its “prize” before lying down to bite it. The plastic is nice and crisp and is also a good teething aid.
Well socialized and fully weaned kittens can be ready for their new homes in just a couple of weeks.
Patience, the most important thing: “all good things happen to those who wait”.
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