How to Tell How Old a Kitten is
“Cats have nine lives”, as the proverb goes; but it seems this litter of kittens used up at least one very quickly.
Softball coach Jayne Anderson discovered a kitten inside a barrel near one of the recreational fields where she was coaching during a tournament.
An effective way to tell how old a kitten is is by looking at their nipples; if they appear enlarged it indicates nursing activity.
Newborn kittens are born blind and deaf, with closed eyes and folded-over ears. Eyes typically open five days postnatally and initially show blue hues.
Kittens begin making tentative steps toward standing, remaining close to Mom and each other for support. Soon they may start grooming each other or using the litter box independently. Kitten formula should be provided every two hours to feed this staged of development; hand feeding should not be excessive! Remember to monitor how much they consume.
Catster reports that kitten pupils are narrow slits with changing shapes that indicate their emotions. Wide and dilate pupils can indicate fear and excitement while narrower, squinted ones reflect calmer moods. Furthermore, they widen if hungry or having an overloaded bladder – an effect known as catstering.
Slow blinks from a kitten indicate affection, often signalling their first recognition of human family members. Socializing them early allows them to get used to being handled while also helping develop individual personalities.
A kitten’s ears should be light pink with just a small amount of earwax; any more could signal an issue. Check inside their ears for foul odor, redness or swelling as well as waxy, sticky or goopy discharge; these could all be signs that an infection has set in; common culprits include mites, bacteria and yeast infections that lead to gross-looking ears.
At 8 weeks, kitten eyes will have fully transitioned to adult color and teeth will have formed their adult set – 26 baby teeth before losing them and sprouting the full set of 30 adult ones at six months old.
Kittens conserve their energy by sleeping an average of 18 hours daily; their bodies need this rest to grow big and strong. Sleep also releases growth hormones, so if a kitten appears lethargic it could be related to lack of rest.
Brittany Ray adopted Walnut from a local shelter in 2014, and quickly fell in love with him. Since then, he’s become particularly fond of sitting beside Brittany while she sews, sometimes falling asleep on fabric scraps! Additionally, he enjoys cuddling up next to Brittany while sleeping on the sofa; indeed he is her favorite snuggler among all of her cats.
At birth, kittens do not possess any visible teeth. By 3-4 months of age, however, a full set of 26 deciduous (also called primary or baby) teeth will begin to erupt – these will soon be replaced by 30 permanent ones including three adult incisors top and bottom as well as canine teeth on each side and premolars and molars for both upper jaws and lower jaws.
Kittens typically begin losing their baby teeth between six months and nine months of age, though timing varies between cats. As your cat experiences her teething process, she may become mouthy or want to chew on soft objects such as toys or your hand; she may also drool and have bad breath; both conditions are typical during this stage.
Cats’ gums should always look healthy and pink without signs of infection or disease, so if any issues arise it is crucial that they be reported immediately to a veterinarian.
Though most cats’ baby teeth eventually fall out, some can remain until spaying or neutering at six months. Retaining deciduous teeth can create complications like early decay when food becomes lodged between the gaps, leading to plaque build-up. To avoid this risk, have your cat examined by your veterinarian on an annual basis as well as creating an at-home dental care routine that includes brushing teeth regularly as well as providing pet-safe dental chews.
Weight can help us gauge a kitten’s age. They should continue gaining weight at an estimated one to two pound pace until approximately five months, when growth may decrease. A healthy and fed kitten should gain one or two pounds every month.
Checking a kitten’s teeth for age can also give a good indication. A kitten typically starts out with baby teeth that will fall out at around three to four months of age as adult ones take their place – typically narrow with pointed tips whereas permanent teeth will have wider, flatter edges.
At six weeks old, kittens will begin weaning themselves off their mother’s milk and may begin eating solid food. Kittens at this age can play and socialize independently while still leaning on their mother for comfort.
At this stage, kittens should be eating a diet designed for all life stages. This food should contain high levels of protein to promote growth while lacking carbohydrates or fillers such as corn or wheat. In addition, kittens must always have access to fresh, clean water at all times and access to a litter box for waste elimination. Finally, all kittens should submit fecal samples to be tested by a veterinarian for intestinal parasites like roundworms or giardia.