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

How Old Is That Kitten? Kitten Guide: Five Weeks

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

Five weeks is when the fun starts—kittens are extremely playful at this age, especially now that their eyesight is fully developed. Interacting with people is important for kittens at five weeks old, so be sure to spend two hours each day playing with them.


Weight: 525-550 grams/18.5-19.5 ounces
Teeth: Premolars coming in
Eyes: Blue
Ears: Fully upright


Five-week-old kittens are full of energy. Their sight is fully developed, so they play vigorously.

They’re developing their own distinct personalities.

They can retract their claws at will.

As they near six weeks old, they’ll become completely stable on their feet, using their tails to balance. They start stalking, hiding, pouncing, and digging—instinctual behaviors in all cats, whether they grow up indoors or outdoors.



They should now be eating wet food mixed with baby cat kibble. Provide them with kibble and a dish of water at all times.

In addition, feed them half of a can of wet food per kitten in a dish, two or three times a day. If needed, supplement with kitten formula.

When transitioning them from formula to solid food, it is important to feed them a mix of both, so that they don’t have digestive issues due to the change in diet. Gradually decrease the amount of food they were eating (formula), while increasing what they will be eating (solid food), over the course of seven days.

For more information on kitten formula, visit Caring for Neonatal Kittens.

Feeding frequency:

Two or three times a day


Kittens can regulate their own temperature now, but you should still provide a cozy nest they can go to as needed.

Bathroom habits:

Kittens should use the litter box. Provide them with a small, shallow litter pan with non-clumping litter. Show kittens the litter box, and they should quickly start using it out of instinct.

To help them out, put in one of the cotton balls that you used to help them urinate.

For more about bottle feeding and litter box training, visit Caring for Neonatal Kittens.


Socializing kittens becomes more important as they get older, so they have the skills to thrive in their new homes when they are adopted. If you find older kittens outdoors, socialization is crucial. Without proper and early socialization, kittens will not become socialized to humans and will not be adoptable.


Food is a great tool to socialize kittens. When you feed the kittens wet food, stay in the room so they associate you with food and start to trust you. Over time, move the food plate closer to your body while you sit in the room, until the plate is in your lap and the kittens are comfortable crawling on you to get to it.

Pet the kittens for the first time while they’re eating so they stay put, and build up to holding the kittens, rewarding them with some canned cat food. Don’t allow the kittens to play with your hand, or bite or scratch you—it will teach kittens that biting is okay.


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!

For more about socializing kittens, visit