Developmental Stages of Kittens

Birth to seven weeks

  • Kittens need to be with their mother during this stage
  • Sensory development is rapid during the first three weeks of their life; eyes open at about two weeks and they have a well-developed sense of smell by the third week
  • Their eyes and ear canals will open and they begin to cut their milk teeth
  • They discover their purr at about three weeks
  • Kittens will walk by four weeks and begin to interact with their litter-mates
  • It is essential that kittens are handled regularly by humans from about three weeks old. Interaction for a couple hours a day will socialise them and encourage them to trust people
  • Kittens will become playful, they will hone their predatory skills by stalking, pouncing and catching “prey”.
  • Grooming themselves and their litter-mates will begin

Seven to twelve weeks

  • Physical co-ordination increases
  • Social skills are learnt through play and observing their mother
  • Litter-boxes and scratching posts must be made available during this time
  • There is more nocturnal activity, this can be discouraged by playing with them during the day and tiring them out

Three to six months

  • Cats will recognise and practise social ranking among companions of all species
  • They may begin to challenge older cats
  • Adult teeth will replace milk teeth
  • It is important to have your cat spayed or neutered by six months as this is when sexual maturity will begin. Sterilisation will discourage territorial marking, caterwauling and roaming

Six to Eighteen months

  • This is the period of adolescence to adulthood
  • Kittens reach physical, emotional and mental maturity
  • Just like human teenagers, this is when cats establish their sense of self and their personality emerges
  • Your cat will develop independent relationships with everyone in the household, including other pets

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