Anyone who has ever raised an orphaned kitten knows that it is a waking, 24-hour job for the first few weeks. But it is also one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have. Kittens are fragile creatures and require round-the-clock care and attention in order to survive. In this article, we are discussing the orphaned kitten development from birth to 8 weeks of age that will also answer the question about how to determine a kitten’s age. Knowing the age of the kitten is crucial since it helps to determine how to care for them. With a little love and patience, we can successfully raise a healthy and happy kitten.
Importance of Mother in Kitten’s life
Do all in your power to keep the kittens with their mother. Be extremely cautious while handling orphaned, motherless kittens because they will be more prone to illness. Avoid bringing them into contact with other animals and keep them in a secure area.
Kittens who didn’t take in their mother’s colostrum on the first day of birth will be more prone to illness. A newborn kitten’s immune system will already be damaged if they don’t nurse on their mother during the first day after birth since the colostrum in the mother’s milk contains antibodies that give the kitten passive immunity.
However, the kittens occasionally have to survive without their mother. It can be difficult for the person caring for an orphaned kitten, but with the knowledge provided here, he or she will be able to comprehend the orphaned kitten development, her age, and how to support her growth.
Cats that are just born will have their ears folded and their eyes closed. Their ears will appear extremely little and close to their heads, like those of a tiny teddy bear. If you open the mouth and peek inside, you’ll find very pink gums because they are toothless at this stage.
At this age, the lips, nose, and even the little toe beans may all appear to be quite pink. A kitten that is actually a newborn will still have her umbilical cord. Around four to five days after birth, it will fall off on its own. So leave it alone and don’t attempt to cut it off or pull it off yourself.
Since they lack thermoregulation, the young orphaned kittens must be given a heat source. At birth, they have an average body temperature of 95 to 97 degrees. Ideal temperatures for their surroundings at this time range from 85 to 90 degrees.
A newborn kitten typically weighs between 75 to 150 gm. You must weigh them frequently throughout the day to ensure that they are gaining weight.
If a newborn kitten isn’t with its mother, she should be syringe-fed a kitten formula, given toilet support, and kept warm and secure. Newborn kittens don’t have a gag reflex at this age, therefore you must be extremely careful when feeding them.
The majority of the day will be spent sleeping for newborn kittens; they only wake up to eat and poop. Although they are unable to move, they may be able to wiggle a little in order to migrate toward or away from heat. When handled, they are supposed to be fairly alert. They ought to be able to move around, make noises, meow, and communicate their well-being to you. An orphaned kitten should have cared for every two hours from the time it is born until it is one week old.
One Week Old Kitten
A kitten that is only one week old is still rather little, but they are stronger. Their belly is considerably larger, and their head has grown considerably. You’ll note that these little creatures’ claws are not retractable.
A kitten aged between five and eight days old shed her umbilical cord. Kittens who are one week old are still generally uncoordinated and spend the majority of the day sleeping. The ear canals begin to gradually expand up around day seven. As a result, if you look, you can actually begin to see a little of the ear’s interior. You can notice that they begin to react to sounds a little bit more than they previously did over time. They ought to be capable of lifting their heads and moving their limbs around at this age.
It’s crucial to give the orphaned kittens access to a heat source because their body temperature ranges from 97 to 98 degrees. The ideal temperature for a one-week-old kitten should be approximately 85 degrees.
The weight of kittens that are one to two weeks old, ranges from 150 to 250 gm. If they are doing well, they will have virtually doubled their birth weight by the time they are one week old.
Every two to three hours, including overnight, they should have kitten formula in amounts averaging 6 to 10 ml per feeding. It is very important for an orphaned kitten development to feed them properly and timely.
Their eyes at this stage are still closed, but they will begin to gradually open within the next 8 to 12 days. You can observe the development in seven-day-old kittens is that their eyes begin to develop slightly more of an eye line.
Two Weeks Old Kitten
It is crucial for an orphaned Kitten development to vaccinate on time because they are already being raised without a mother and may not have been fed first-day milk from her. At this age, the kittens are eligible for their first dosage of dewormer, which is normally given again two weeks later. A kitten that is two weeks old will still be nursing and require stimulation to poop. However, they should be able to hold their heads up, look around, and make crawling motions while they are awake. They have a very, very tiny triangular tail that wiggles behind them like an antenna as they travel.
The weight of 2-3 week old kittens ranges Between 250 and 350 gm.
It’s still crucial to provide the orphaned kittens with a heat source at this time even when their normal temperature is between 98 and 99 degrees. The ideal temperature for them should be about 80 degrees.
It is important for an orphaned kitten development to take between 10 to 14 ml milk per feeding, every three to four hours, including during the night. Now, the transition from a syringe to a bottle can be done at this age.
Between the ages of 8 and 12 days, kittens begin to open their eyes, which can sometimes be amusing to watch. At the age of two weeks, kittens’ eyes will be awake, pupils will be enlarged and they will have a very weak vision. One eye may open sooner than the other, or both may open at once only partially.
All kittens are born with blue eyes, and this isn’t because of pigmentation; rather, it’s because there isn’t any. The kittens’ real pigment will show as they get older. However, kittens usually have their eyes nice and wide open by the age of 14 days.
Kittens that are two weeks old may even attempt their first steps, so they will be pretty uncoordinated. These individuals may move around like little worms and may even be able to move forward a bit, but walking is not their strong suit. Though they’ll begin to show symptoms of curiosity about their surroundings, they are surely not yet engaged in playing.
Three Weeks Old Kitten
During the development of an orphaned kitten, probably the cutest age ever is three weeks. At this age, the kittens will be awake a lot more frequently at this age. You might notice that they’re not always asleep in between meals and are instead sitting there, looking around, and sometimes all they do is stare off into the distance or roll around on their back, which is very cute!
A great technique to tell if your kitten is three weeks old or not is to look inside its mouth. If you look inside the mouth, you might be able to see little teeth in the front of the mouth because the emergence of the first teeth begins at three weeks. They are referred to as incisors. Don’t let the baby teeth deceive you. The incisors are made for grooming; they are not for consuming meat.
When a kitten is three weeks old, her eyesight is rapidly developing and eye color is becoming more apparent. They can actually focus better and start looking about a little bit more now that their eyes are maturing and pupils are able to dilate in response to the light. Even while their vision isn’t quite perfect, it is unquestionably improving.
On the other hand, the ears are fully developed at this age. Now the kittens’ hearing is entirely better, they can react to the sounds around them. Even when their name is spoken, they awaken. At three weeks old, they are much more engaging thanks to all the growth in their hearing and eyesight.
Three- to four-week-old kittens typically weigh between 350 and 450 gm.
Even if their temperature is usually between 99 and 100 degrees, it’s still crucial to provide them with a heat source. It should be about 75 degrees where they are.
Every four to five hours, including during the night, they should consume from a bottle an average of 14 to 18 ml. Therefore, at this orphaned kitten development phase, you truly begin to feel like you are dealing with a small cat. Some individuals might attempt to wean a kitten at this age, but you should not wean these kittens this early, as it may be highly harmful or even fatal.
The coordination of kittens at three weeks old significantly improves. They can start to move slowly. They won’t be prancing, running, or playing. But they will be able to push themself where need to go by placing feet underneath their body.
A kitten may exhibit her initial grooming habits at the age of three weeks. You can use a toothbrush to educate the kittens on how to begin grooming themselves around three weeks old, which is a perfect age.
If you are taking care of an orphaned kitten for less than three weeks, you should encourage her to use the litter box, and at that age, you should continue to do so. You can use a soft tissue or a baby wipe to encourage her for potty trips. Three-week-old kittens and younger will unquestionably either be licked by their mother or require your assistance in stimulating them to use the litter box.
However, when they are three weeks old, you might notice them using the litter box on their own. It’s possible that they have a small accident in their blanket or that you notice them beginning to poop in their bed on their own. Even if kittens don’t use it, three weeks old is an excellent age to at least start providing them with a shallow litter box. Many kittens become interested in the litter box between the ages of three and four weeks.
Four Weeks Old Kitten
Kittens that are four weeks old start comfortably exploring their environment and improving their coordination. They can move quickly around an area and walk with great assurance. Even while kittens won’t be able to jump and pounce with the same assurance as an adult cat, now is a good time for them to begin engaging in some of those early playful activities.
Kittens are noticeably more attentive now than they were in the early weeks. They genuinely begin to scan their surroundings and react to the noises and things they encounter.
Kittens that are four weeks old may interact socially with their littermates and pick up on cues from their peers’ body language. Many kittens at this age will be utilizing the litter box, but some of them may still require stimulation, either from their mother or from tissue.
A kitten’s vision and hearing are already significantly better at four weeks old. As the pupils concentrate on the objects in their environment, the eyes will appear much bluer, and you’ll realize that when you look at them, they’re staring straight back at you.
At the age of four weeks, the canines begin to show through if you peek inside the mouth of a kitten. Alongside their incisors, the canines will resemble a little fang. Keep in mind that just because an animal has incisors and canines, it doesn’t always indicate that it is prepared to consume meat.
While observing an orphaned kitten development, typically, four-week-old kittens will still be feeding from a bottle, but they are getting close to weaning time. They should be bottle-fed every five to six hours, including overnight, and get an average of 12 to 22 ml every meal.
The weight of kittens that are four to five weeks old ranges from 450 to 550 gm.
They often have temperatures between 99 and 101 degrees. As long as the room is between 70 and 75 degrees, they no longer require a heat source.
Five Weeks Old Kitten
Kittens truly develop into a little cat at the age of five weeks. Their social abilities grow, and they engage with people and other animals more frequently. They can walk with confidence, and even begin to sprint. Kittens that are five weeks old will be lively and practice catching prey. At this age, kittens like to hunt and bite their toys.
Even while five-week-old kittens still have their baby-blue eyes, their eyesight significantly improves. Their eyes may enlarge in response to light, and they can concentrate on the surroundings.
Kittens start polishing their usage of the litter box and have no trouble utilizing it at this age. They may now go to the restroom completely on their own without needing to be prompted.
The kittens start to wean themselves off of milk at five weeks old, which is perhaps the most fascinating feature about them. Five-week-old kittens have distinctive canines, the little incisors in the front, and you can see premolars at the rear if you peek inside their mouth.
Now, the kittens are prepared to begin eating little pieces of meat on their own since those teeth are made for shredding and chopping flesh. At this age, they should be fed every six hours, including overnight, but after that, until they are confidently consuming wet food, they need to get additional support from a bottle. This is also the time to introduce them to a shallow dish of water.
Kittens that are five weeks old develop their grooming and toileting skills. They are particularly skilled at grooming themselves after a meal.
A 5-6 week old kitten weighs in the range of 550 to 650 gm. It’s crucial to weigh them to observe the orphaned kitten development at every stage, it’s particularly important to do so while they’re weaning in order to make sure they’re gaining weight steadily.
They ought to be between 100 and 101 degrees.
Six Weeks Old Kitten
The most crucial piece of advice for the owners at this age is to play with the kittens frequently to stimulate their instinctive hunting behaviors, like pouncing and biting. It’s the time for orphaned kittens to receive their first dose of the FVRCP vaccination at this age, followed by a second dose in two to four weeks.
When a kitten is six weeks of age, mostly all the teeth erupt.
A six-week-old kitten fully develops eyesight and hearing. Cats’ eyes will still be blue as they start their sixth week. The synthesis of melanin in the eye rises between six and seven weeks, resulting in the development of adult eye color.
Six to seven-week-old kittens typically weigh 650 to 750 grams.
They have good thermoregulation, with a typical body temperature of 100 to 101 degrees.
Kittens at this age need to be fed every six hours. However, kittens can often consume wet food on their own and are consequently able to tolerate being left alone for eight hours while you sleep. Kittens at this age are able to eat, drink, and use the litter box on their own.
Seven Weeks Old Kitten
Kittens that are seven weeks old are curious, lively, and can climb! Additionally, if the kitten is a boy, the testicles will begin to descend about that time. Make sure to provide kittens with plenty of access to enrichment and toys because they are still developing their micro-panther abilities at this age. Playing is important. Never play with orphaned kittens with your hands to educate them to correctly target their prey and not attack humans. Only engage in toy play.
The shift to a kitten’s adult eye color completes at seven weeks. When the kittens are born, they have baby blue eyes but after seven weeks you can see the lovely green eyes on their cute faces.
The weight range for seven to eight-week-old kittens is between 750 and 850 gm.
They have a temperature range of 100 to 101 degrees and are capable of good thermoregulation.
They ought to have access to plenty of water and eat a meal every six to eight hours at this age.
Eight Weeks Old Kitten
In this phase of orphaned kitten development, they are safely ready to be adopted by someone else or if you want to gift them to your friend or family.
Kittens that are eight weeks old typically weigh approximately two pounds.
They have good thermoregulation, thus their temperature will be 102 degrees and 101 degrees.
Three times a day, you can give them moist kitten food.
A kitten is born completely helpless. Raising an orphaned kitten can be a daunting task, but with the proper care and attention, they can grow up to be healthy cats. Make sure you are paying close attention to their weight, temperature, food, and litter box habits so that they can thrive during this crucial development stage.
Of course, keep in mind that not every kitten will reach these milestones at the same time. It just serves to demonstrate that each kitten will eventually be unique, even if there are certain common milestones to watch for. The first eight weeks are the most crucial time period for orphaned kitten development, especially the first six weeks which is also known as the kitten phase. In the next two weeks, these kittens are more fun!
By following the guidelines in this article about orphaned kitten development, you can help your little one grow into a healthy cat. Have you ever raised an orphaned kitten? Share your story in the comments below—the more information we can spread about how to properly care for these kittens, the better!