Kitten Growth Chart — Six-Week-Old Kittens

Sue at six weeks pauses in the midst of playing for a photo

A six-week-old kitten can do everything a cat does, but is still a baby. At this age the kittens are very playful. They play with their toys, with their mum, with each other, and with us non-stop, it seems! When they’re totally pooped, they sleep for a couple of hours then wake up and start again!

Playing with Mum at six weeks old -- Libby finally stops mothering them long enough to play with them a bit.

Playing with Mum at six weeks old — Libby finally stops mothering them long enough to play with them a bit.

Sue and Reed are little explorers

Sue and Reed are little explorers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At six weeks, a baby cat should be weaning off its mother’s milk and eating solid food regularly. A lot of people think it’s a good idea to rehome kittens at this age, but actually kittens should stay with their mum until they’re eight to nine weeks old. Their mum still has so much to teach them, about cleaning themselves, behaving properly (in cat terms), and love. Sometimes kittens who are removed from their family at a young age grow up with behaviour problems, such as pooping outside the box or playing too roughly.

Ben is so tired from all that playing he falls asleep anywhere!

Ben is so tired from all that playing he falls asleep anywhere!

Lance finds the kittens fascinating. The kittens think Lance might be fun to play with.

Lance finds the kittens fascinating. The kittens think Lance might be fun to play with.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have a baby kitten of this age that you received from a friend, you should ask if your kitten can stay with his mum for a couple more weeks at least. If that’s not possible, you’ll have to be very attentive to make sure your kitten is eating, drinking, and pooping properly, and you’ll have to be very patient to take on the job of the mother and teach the kitten some of the finer arts of catting.

Libby stops play time to start bath time. "Mom! You're messing up my mane!"

Libby stops play time to start bath time. “Mom! You’re messing up my mane!”

Sue at six weeks pauses in the midst of playing for a photo

Sue at six weeks pauses in the midst of playing for a photo

Kitten Growth Chart — Four-Week-Old Kittens

Four-week-old kittens have fully developed senses of sight, smell, and hearing, but they are still very uncoordinated. Their teeth are starting to come in, so when you play with your four-week-old kittens, make sure you don’t play nibbling-on-the-human games, or they might become a habit (and poke tiny holes in your person!)

By the time our kittens reach four weeks, they are doing everything an adult cat does:

Good morning! Is it time for a kitteny day of doing stuff?

Good morning! Is it time for a kitteny day of doing stuff?

At four weeks old, Ben is learning the art of drinking water out of a bowl

At four weeks old, Ben demonstrates his newly discovered skill of drinking water out of a bowl.

Four-week-old kittens eating kitten kibble out of a saucer while their mom supervises. Don't be fooled: Libby tried her hardest to get at that delicious kitten kibble!

Four-week-old kittens can eat kitten kibble out of a saucer under the supervision of their mom. Don’t be fooled: Libby tried her hardest to get at that delicious kitten kibble!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kittens this age are excited to nom kitten kibble, but they still need their mommy’s milk to grow and thrive. If you are hand-rearing kittens, keep bottle feeding them for a couple more weeks to supplement the kitten kibble. Don’t give kittens adult cat food, cow milk or other dairy products, or bread or other carbohydrate-rich foods. Kittens can eat tinned food, but kitten kibble is probably best.

The kittens escaped from kitten play land while we were at work, and we searched everywhere for them. We were convinced they had been stolen until we found them safe and sound hiding behind the bed.

The kittens escaped from kitten play land while we were at work, and we searched everywhere for them. We were convinced they had been stolen until we found them safe and sound hiding behind the bed.

This is how the kittens escaped from kitten play land: clawed their way onto the bed, and then down via the laundry hamper. Johnny stops for a rest.

This is how the kittens escaped from kitten play land: clawed their way onto the bed, and then down via the laundry hamper. Johnny stops for a rest.

At three and a half weeks old, Sue is the first kitten to do a poopie in the litter.

At three and a half weeks old, Sue is the first kitten to do a poopie in the litter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If your kittens are starting to explore the house, you need to kitten-proof: make sure cables and cords are wrapped up and out of reach. Put plants on high shelves. Make sure garbage cans have tops that close. Kittens love to climb, so if your decorations might be dangers, you should consider putting them away until you have re-homed the kittens (or they stop scaling your shelving units like little fluffy mountaineers!)

 

 

Playing and having a kitteny time in kitty play land

Playing and having a kitteny time in kitty play land

Four weeks old and big enough to watch TV with the humans.

Four weeks old and big enough to watch TV with the humans.

Johnny at four weeks leaves the kitten play room to visit with Lance, whom she is still nervous of, though Lance seems to have taken no notice of the kitten

Though she’s big enough to hang out with the humans, she’s still quite nervous of Lance.  Lance, however, seems to have taken no notice of the kitten.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

pooped out after a long day of kittening

Annnd… pooped out after a long day of kittening!

Although the kittens are exploring all the nuances of catting, they still need their mommy! She teaches them how to cat professionally.

For the next several weeks, you should spend as much time with your kittens as possible, and invite lots of people over to play with them. This is the age to socialize your kittens so they will grow up to be friendly pets. If you have other animals living in your house, they can be introduced to the kittens now. Also, tiny children and the elderly.

Kitten Growth Chart — Three Weeks Old

The kittens cuddling with Libby
Three-week-old Sue

Three-week-old Sue

At three weeks old, Libby’s kittens are learning how to walk, and their senses are developed enough that they are keen to explore.

Sue is able to walk and explore at three weeks. She is the first one to leave the box.

Sue is able to walk and explore at three weeks. She is the first one to leave the box.

We moved their box into the kitten play area so they could explore and play safely. We gave them a soft floor and lots of toys, and built a wall around the play area to keep them safe.

Johnny looking pensive at three weeks

Johnny looking pensive at three weeks

At three weeks, kittens are already four times their birth weight! From looking at these guys, it seems like the bulk of that growth is fluff.

The kittens cuddling with Libby

The kittens cuddling with Libby

We put a kitten-sized litter box in the play area, too. Sue is the first one to try out the new pooping situation. Now Libby doesn’t have to take care of their toileting any more.

 

Libby is giving Johnny a bath, but all Johnny really wants to do is explorer

Libby is giving Johnny a bath, but all Johnny really wants to do is explorer

I am showing off my little mustachioed kitten, Reed, at three weeks

I am showing off my little mustachioed kitten, Reed, at three weeks

Kitten Growth Chart — Two-Week-Old Kittens

I thought they recognized me, but they all hissed at me!
When I went into the kittens' room on their two-week birthday, they all looked at me for the first time

When I went into the kittens’ room on their two-week birthday, they all looked at me for the first time

I thought they recognized me, but they all hissed at me!

I thought they recognized me, but they all hissed at me!

At two weeks, kittens’ eyes are fully open, but they have not got their adult pigment yet so will still appear blue or gray, and their vision is still not clear. They are also still sensitive to light, so no matter how cute your little fluffy-puffs are, please don’t use flash photography or shine bright lights towards them!

Their sense of hearing is still weak, but their sense of smell is starting to develop.

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Two-week-old kittens are more aware of their surroundings and are starting to interact with each other and with you. The more adventurous members of your litter might be trying to climb out of the box to go exploring. Mother cat won’t let them, as they’re still too little, so you can help her out by making sure the doorway is high enough that they can’t climb out.

Two-week-old kittens should be six to eight ounces and have fat tummies and clean faces. If you think your kittens are not growing well, or don’t seem healthy, take the whole family to the vet.  You might need to supplement Mum’s milk with some kitten formula via a kitten baby bottle.

Sue is the most intrepid at two weeks and keeps climbing over Mount Mum's Tummy.

Sue is the most intrepid at two weeks and keeps climbing over Mount Mum’s Tummy.

Kitten Growth Chart — One-Week-Old Kittens

Libby is so happy when we come into her room, she rolls onto her back so we can scritch her tummy. Poor kittens get rolled all over the place!
Ben was already establishing herself as the most cuddly and protested at being taken away from her mummy for the photo.

Ben was already establishing herself as the most cuddly and protested at being taken away from her mummy for the photo.

Johnny was the first to open her eyes.

Johnny was the first to open her eyes.

Sue was very alert already

Sue was very alert already

Reed's little mustache is starting to be more pronounced

Reed’s little mustache is starting to be more pronounced

In the first week, our kittens’ eyes started to open. Johnny was first; her left eye started to open when she was three days old. By one week they all had their eyes at least part way open.

But when kittens’ eyes first open, they are very sensitive to light. At this stage, it is important that you make sure there are no bright lights directed at the kittens’ faces. Also, the kittens still can’t see very well and rely on their sense of smell still to find their mummy and their favourite nipple at lunch time.

Play Spot the Kitty on your Android device for free!

The colour for all newborn eyes is gray or blue, because the melanin that gives them colour pigment hasn’t developed yet. You will find out what colour your kittens’ eyes are when they are six to eight weeks old.

During the first week, the kittens’ umbilical cords will begin to fall off. Remember not to pull them off as a kitten can easily get an umbilical hernia, which will require surgery to repair when she is older.

The mother is probably licking the babies a lot. She does this to keep them clean, of course, and to stimulate their digestive systems. The dedicated mother cat actually stimulates urination and defecation and eats what comes out. And your mom complained about changing your diaper! If you are hand-raising a kitten, you need to wipe him with a soft, absorbent towel every few hours to help him pee and poo.

The mother cat also cuddles the kittens and keeps them warm all day and all night. She probably only leaves the box to get food and water and to visit the litter. She will appreciate a lot of attention from you. If you are hand-rearing a kitten, you should keep her with you at all times, preferably holding her in your hands. There is no substitute for a mother’s love!

Be careful when handling your baby kittens, because their little claws are very sharp and they are not able to retract them yet. Also, make sure they are not getting their claws caught in their bedding. Some kinds of fabric are like velcro to kitten claws!

One-week-old kittens are double their birth weight. It’s incredible how fast they grow! By now they probably have fat little tummies, too.

Join us next week for an update on two-week-old kittens!

Libby is so happy when we come into her room, she rolls onto her back so we can scritch her tummy. Poor kittens get rolled all over the place!

Libby is so happy when we come into her room, she rolls onto her back so we can scritch her tummy. Poor kittens get rolled all over the place!