How to save & take care of a kitten and feral cats - an advocacy tool kit

How Old Is That Kitten? Kitten Guide: Eight Weeks

Guide/How-to| Kittens / "Leave Them Be"

Characteristics

Weight: 920-950 grams/32.4-33.5 ounces (2 pounds)
Teeth: 26 baby teeth
Eyes: Any color
Ears: Fully upright

 

Behavior

Eight weeks is a milestone age for kittens. They should weigh about two pounds, which means they’re ready to be spayed and neutered! They’re also fully weaned (you’re done with bottle feeding) and look more like adult cats. It’s a good time to start looking for their adoptive homes.

At this age, kittens explore confidently away from their mother and can jump. They are becoming more skilled and adventurous and will sleep and eat at regular intervals like adult cats.

Kittens’ growth rate will start to slow at this point. They will continue to develop muscle tone and strength but won’t be doubling their weight in a matter of days or weeks anymore.

Care

It’s time to spay or neuter kittens, as long as they weigh two pounds.

You can start looking for their adoptive homes but don’t actually separate them from their siblings for another couple of weeks to support their continued development and growth.

Feeding:

The kittens should be eating exclusively solid food.

Feeding frequency:

Regular intervals, two or three times a day.

Bathroom habits:

Kittens should use the litter box.

Socialization

Socializing kittens becomes more important as they get older, so they have the skills to thrive in their homes when they are adopted.

Grooming:

Make sure you incorporate grooming into your interactions with the kittens—especially if you have a single kitten or are raising a litter without the mother cat.

Introductions:

Introduce kittens to different parts of the house, different objects, different pets and people, and different experiences—all help them adjust to new situations.

If you haven’t already, introduce the kittens to scratching posts and trim their claws for the first time. Training the kittens to understand these routines helps prepare them for their new homes.

Playing:

Playing is an important part of kitten socialization because it helps them bond with each other and build confidence around people. Play with kittens for at least two hours a day (all together or broken up). Take time to socialize each of the kittens in a litter individually. At this age kittens will love to play with toys and you should encourage that!

If your kittens are behind on socialization, learn more about how to get started at alleycat.org/Socialization.