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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Pet Care Library > Articles > Growth And Development In Kittens

Growth and Development in Kittens


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A newborn kitten grows so fast it sometimes seems as if it's getting bigger right in front of your eyes! Like babies, the growth and development of kittens is somewhat predictable, meaning all kittens look and act a certain way at a certain age.

Newborn kittens can't see, hear, or walk. However, newborns do manage to push themselves around with their legs. Their eyes are firmly shut, and their ears are closed. However, certain shorthaired breeds, like the Siamese, open their eyes within a few days. Newborns have a keen sense of smell and are very sensitive to touch. When newborns aren't nursing, they're sleeping. Newborns often twitch when they sleep, which is perfectly normal. Newborn siblings often nurse in shifts and some drink more milk than others.

Week one. Kittens double their birth weight by the end of the first week. Their eyes may start to open, and usually their umbilical cords will have shriveled and fallen off. Week-old kittens can't walk, but they can crawl.

Week two. By the end of the second week, kitten's eyes will open and their ears will begin to stand up.

Week three. Three-week-old kittens can stand and walk, although they often wobble. Teeth begin to grow at this stage, and the kittens may begin eating solid food.

Week six. Six-week-old kittens can run, jump, play and get into lots of trouble! Socialization with lots of people and other Pets is crucial at this age. Each kitten's unique personality begins to emerge.

Week seven. Kittens are fully weaned by the seventh week.

Weeks ten to twelve. Even though kittens are weaned, they still need the companionship
of their mother and littermates to develop properly. If you can, wait until a kitten is ten to twelve weeks old before adopting it. Never adopt a kitten younger than eight weeks.

Weeks fourteen to sexual maturity. The last phase of early development is often referred to as the juvenile phase. At this age, a kitten's locomotive skills, such as running and climbing, are fully developed. Kittens' physical growth slows during this stage. Fourteen-week-old kittens look a lot like adult cats.

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