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Kitten Progression: Week-by-Week

Determining a kitten’s age can be difficult. Kittens develop at their own speed based on environmental and genetic factors. Observing physical signs, such as how open their eyes are and their weight, as well as behaviors, like when kittens begin venturing from their mother or using a litter box, will help. The photos and descriptions below can help you gauge the age of kittens with an unknown birth date.

Learn more about kitten age and what to do when you encounter kittens outdoors.

First Week

When kittens are first born, they are helpless—they cannot see, hear, keep themselves warm, or eliminate waste on their own. They fit in the palm of your hand, and weigh 3-5 ounces. Callie, Penguin, and Ruby are completely dependent on their mother (or you!) for protection, warmth, and nutrition. Even so, these kittens can purr and make distress calls. They spend 90% of their time sleeping and the other 10% eating.

1 day

At one day old, the kittens cannot stand. Their eyes are closed and their ears are folded. Kittens this young require round-the-clock care and bottle feeding every two hours.

3 days

Notice that the kittens’ ears are just beginning to unfold, though their eyes remain closed. Their sense of smell, hearing, and taste are slowly starting to develop.

6 days

After almost a week, the kittens begin to wiggle around on their own a little bit and their eyes start to open.

One week old

One week in this world, Callie, Penguin, and Ruby are becoming more aware of their surroundings. Their eyes are almost completely open, though their eyesight is still unfocused. They have doubled their birth weight to around eight ounces.

Second Week »