Did Your Cat Have Kittens What Now
Your cat just had kittens. What now?
The answer to that depends on how well the cat knows and trusts you. If it’s your cat that you’ve had for a long period of time, she probably won’t mind if you touch her kittens. If it’s a stray, or a cat you’ve only had for a short while, she might not like it if you come near her babies.
Take it slowly, and make sure she is okay with it before you touch them. Either way, they really should not be handled that much at all until they are about 2 weeks old. If you do handle them, be sure to either wear gloves or wash your hands thoroughly before and after.
Other Newborn Kitten Care Tips
Much like newborn human babies, newborn kittens spend much of their time sleeping, waking occasionally to be fed and cared for. Kittens are able to 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 around 22 hours a day, with more mature kittens and adult cats requiring 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!
Warmth is important for newborn kittens
Newborn kittens need proper nutrition
How Old Are Kittens When They Open Their Eyes
Kittens are like tiny magic balls of joy: you see one and your whole day lights up! But when do they start to see you and open their little eyes? Not before about 10 days of age! Moreover, they are born deaf and blind. Here we bring you some more facts about kitten development, their age at each stage, and what age is appropriate to adopt one of these endearing and mischievous little creatures!
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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!
The Kittens Hair Thickens Slowly
At 3 months, the kittens baby coat disappears in favor of a denser and fuller coat. But depending on its breed, the color of its coat may still change for several months, after a few molts. For example, the dark parts of the Siamese do not set until the age of 1 year, while the characteristic spots of the Bengal sometimes do not achieve their final shape until 2 years old.
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The Kitten Is Born Deaf And Blind
The newborn baby has no teeth. It has folded ears, closed eyes, and its claws are not yet retractable. Deaf and blind, he orientates himself through touch and, to a lesser extent, smell, barely functional. Fortunately, he knows how to crawl and find his mothers breasts, which he can immediately suck thanks to a labial reflex!
How Do Kittens Communicate Before They Open Their Eyes
Heres another query that might accompany, When do kittens open their eyes? How do kittens communicate if their eyes are closed? The minute a neonatal kitten enters your life, you are communicating with him. Kittens are born with only two senses touch and smell. Moving him about in a gentle way mimics what his mother does. The very act of feeding him is letting him know you are his caregiver. Helping him eliminate by stimulating his bottom area with a warm cloth is not just serving as an important function but also a form of bonding. You are his surrogate mother and all your interactions with him are communicating this message loud and clear.
Kitten season means shelters are full, and caring individuals are the lifeblood of creating more positive outcomes. Knowing when kittens open their eyes is the first step in saving that cats life.
This piece was originally published in 2018.
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Other Tips On Caring For Kittens With Closed Eyes
A kittens eyes can help you determine their age. Closed eyes indicate that theyre only less than 2 weeks old and at their most vulnerable stage these little ones will require around-the-clock care. If you find an orphaned kitten with their eyes still closed, they will need:
- To be taken to the veterinarian.
- A gentle heat source to help regulate their body temperature.
- To be fed every 2 to 3 hours, including overnight.
Knowing when kittens open their eyes allows you to provide the best care possible for your little tiger. Before you know it, their eyes will be wide open and youll have a fur ball of energy on your hands!
Paying for your kittens routine shots, bloodwork, and tests can be difficult to budget for. Fortunately, Wag! Wellness plans reimburse routine care costs for your pet within 24 hours. In the market for a wellness plan? Compare wellness plans to find the right match for your pet!
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.
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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.
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What To Do If An Infection Develops
Even if your kittens eyes open on schedule, and you do everything right, kittens can still develop eye infections. If your kitten develops an eye infection, take her to the vet for a checkupand likely a prescription for antibiotic eye drops. Change her bedding regularly to prevent the spread of infection, keep her in a safe, dark room, and if her eyes get crusty, clean her eyes gently with a cotton pad soaked in warm water. Note: never use soap or another cleaning solution around your kittens eyes.
Youll also want to keep an eye on any other cats in the household. Whether youre caring for Mama Cat and the rest of her litter or you have a cat from another litter already present in your home, eye infections are highly contagious. As tempting as it may sound, dont isolate your kitten unless the vet recommends it. Separating a kitten from her mother while shes nursing could be detrimental to her health. Its also important for your kitten to socialize with her littermates at this stage of development.
Stimulation And Litter Box Training
Kittens should and almost always will urinate during each stimulation. They should defecate at least once a day. One trick is to slowly count to 60 while youre stimulating a kitten. At that point, youll know if theyre done or if somethings on its way out!
When kittens get to be about four weeks old, they are usually ready to experience the wonderful world of litterboxes and youll be liberated from stimulation duty! Youll want to make sure you initially use good old-fashioned clay litter , as small kittens can end up ingesting the clumping kind of litter and it can cause problems internally. After each meal, put the kitten in the box and see what transpires. If they dont get it right away, try taking its paw and showing it how to scratch in the litter. Theyll catch on before you know it!
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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
What To Do If Your Kitten Has Eye Discharge Or Swelling
Kittens may develop eye problems early in life, often characterized by swelling or discharge.
If you notice eye discharge, swelling, or crusts matted over the eyes, a veterinary visit should be scheduled immediately.
While waiting for your visit, its usually okay to gently wipe the area clean with a warm, wet cloth or piece of gauze. Never use soap or disinfectants that could damage a kittens delicate eyes.
Also, never try to force a kittens eyelids open. Always consult a veterinarian if a kittens eyes dont open on their own within two weeks or if there is any sign of an eye problem.
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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.
When Do Kittens Start To See
Kittens develop at differing rates depending on a number of factors, but most newborns will begin opening their eyes between the ages of 2-16 days. Their vision slowly improves during this time, though the two eyes may not fully open at the same rate. At about 2 weeks of age, both eyes are usually dilated and by 3 weeks old, many kittens are able to focus with both eyes. All newborn kittens have blue eyes, and the eye color will change as the kitten ages, usually settling on the true color at about 8 weeks old.
Caring for your newborn kitten’s eyes
Try to keep very young kittens away from bright lights that could potentially hurt or even damage their developing eyes. If the kitten doesn’t have a mother or isn’t being well cared for by their mother, it’s up to you to ensure that the newborn kittens are clean and healthy. Keep their faces clean with a warm, damp clean washcloth and, most of all, never try to force a kittens eyes open before the lids open naturally on their own. Patience is key!
Issues to watch for & how to treat them
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The Kitten Cannot Regulate Its Temperature
Until the age of 3 weeks, the kitten has very little subcutaneous fat. As a result, he is unable to regulate his body temperature on his own. Thus, its survival depends entirely on external heat sources, which it detects thanks to heat receptors on the skin at the tip of its nose. In practice, he orients himself spontaneously towards hot bodies, that of his mother, his brothers, and sisters, or towards an infrared ray lamp.
The Kitten Uses The Litter Box Around 4
Until the age of one month, the kitten needs its mother to eliminate urine and stool. As long as he does not know how to walk without staggering, the mother cat, by licking him, stimulates his sphincters and allows him to evacuate his bodily waste. From the moment he begins to walk, around 4-6 weeks old, he can start using the litter box.
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Newborn Kittens: When Do Baby Kittens Open Their Eyes And Start Walking
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Cats are the second most popular pets in the US, and most pet parents start caring for them as kittens. Today, our Los Angeles vets give you some information about when newborn kittens open their eyes and other tips about their early development.
If you’ve never seen a very young kitten before, you might be surprised at how different they look from their adult counterparts! Their eyes are usually closed tightly, and their ears are folded against their heads. They can’t stand and are mostly helpless, but with proper love and care from their mother or caregivers, they’ll grow up healthy and happy.
So You Found An Orphaned Kitten With Eyes His Closed Now What
Another question you might have when thinking, When do kittens open their eyes? might be, What do I do if I find a kitten who still has his eyes closed? Again, kitten season means the likelihood of finding a kitten in need exponentially increases. Knowing what to do if you find an orphaned kitten who still has his eyes closed can mean the difference between life and death for the vulnerable kitten.
The first thing to do is get him to the veterinarian. Neonatal kittens with their eyes closed need around-the-clock care. If you have found a kitten and it will take 24 hours before getting him to the vets office or to a pet-supply store where you can get the proper formula, theres a recipe from The Feline Foundation of Greater Washington, Inc. perfect for emergency situations. You can also use goats milk in a pinch .
Since kittens eyes are fully opened at two weeks old, kittens with eyes that are either completely shut or slightly opened require specialized care. Below is a quick guide to how much and how often to feed them. For more information, check out Catsters guide to feeding weaning kittens.
- Under 1 week old: kitten weighs less than 4 ounces. Feed formula: every two to three hours.
- 7 to 10 days old: kitten weighs 4 to 6 ounces. Feed formula: every two to three hours.
- 10 to 14 days old: kitten weighs 6 to 8 ounces. Feed formula: every three hours.
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