Stages Of Kitten Development

August 26, 2009

in Cats

Kittens show remarkable growth and development during the first weeks of life. Kittens of all breeds go through basically the same stages of kitten development.

When a kitten is born, the kitten is tiny and appears helpless. Newborn kittens are deaf and their eyes are closed. The umbilical cord typically falls off within the first three days.

Newborn kittens will often double their weight within the first week. Newborn kittens spend all of their time nursing and sleeping. It is considered detrimental to the newborn kitten’s ability to learn and socialization skills for the kitten to be separated from the mother at this time.

By the end of the kitten’s second week, the kitten’s eyes open. Even though the kitten’s eyes open, the kitten’s sense of sight is not fully developed until the fifth week. The eyes of kittens are always blue for the first several weeks.

During the kittens third week, the kitten becomes more aware of its environment. The kitten’s sense of smell has developed in the kitten starts to be able to hear. Kittens develop their socialization skills between the second and seventh weeks.

During the kittens fourth week, they begin to explore their environment. They may begin to take their first shaky steps during the third or fourth week. Their interest and curiosity in their environments increases.

Kittens may become socially interactive with people and their siblings during the fifth week. In the fifth week, litter box training typically begins.

After about eight weeks of nursing, many kittens are weaned from their mothers. The height of the kittens active play occurs from the seventh to the fourteenth week.

At around six months of age, a sense of status and ranking emerges among the kittens. Kittens may try to dominate their siblings, other pets, and even the people in the household. This process of establishing a rank or status may continue until the kitten is about eighteen months old.

Some cat breeds mature slower than others. While many kittens reach full size around eighteen months of age, kittens of a few cat breeds can take up to five years.

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