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Determining the Age of Your Orphan Kitten

A one-week old kitten needs a completely different level of care than a four week old.

You’ve rescued an adorable little fluff ball. Before you can decide what you need to do next, you need to determine his age. A one-week old kitten needs a completely different level of care than a four week old. Once you know his age, you’ll know if you need to stimulate him to potty or provide a litter box.

Please remember that this chart is only a general guide. Every kitten is different. Some kittens open their eyes at three days. Some kittens wean themselves at 3 weeks, while others squeal for a bottle at 8 weeks.

Newborn to
7 days

  • A kitten will weigh 3 to 4 ounces at birth
  • Ears flat against head
  • Kitten can’t regulate his body temperature
  • Kitten is blind and deaf
  • Kitten can smell well enough to find mother’s nipple
  • Sleeps 90% of the time and eats the other 10%
  • Room should be 85° to 90° F
  • Kitten should be fed 6 to 12 times a day
  • Stimulate private parts to help him go to
    the bathroom

Day 3

  • Umbilical cord falls off

Newborn to
14 days

  • Crawls around

5 to 14
days

  • Ears open
  • Eyes open

6 days

  • Develops shiver reflex

7 days

  • Kitten should weigh 6 to 8 ounces
  • Hold head and chest up

7 to 14
days

  • Room should be kept at 80° to 85° F
  • Kitten should be fed 5 to 7 times daily
  • Kitten should weigh 8 to 10 ounces

14 day

  • Starting to coordinate his movements
  • Locates specific sounds
  • Stands up and crawls around
  • Begins to play and explore

14 to 17
days

  • Begins walking (probably wobbly)

14 to 21
days

  • Room should be 75° to 80° F
  • Starts to explore his surroundings
  • Kitten should be fed 4 to 7 times daily
  • Kitten should weigh 10 to 12 ounces

17 to 21
days

  • Poops and pees on his own
  • Interacts with littermates
  • Tail swishes

21 days

  • Really walking
  • Ears stand up
  • Swivels ears
  • Scratches with hind leg
  • Eyes starting to focus
  • Turns head toward sounds

21 to 28
days

  • Canine teeth (fangs) emerge
  • Pees and poops without help
  • Runs and climbs
  • Kitten should be fed 3 to 7 times daily
  • Kitten should weigh at least 14 ounces
  • Should start socialization with people and friendly cats

28 days

  • Room should be no cooler than 70° F
  • Laps milk replacer from a saucer and eats gruel or canned foods
  • Kitten should weigh at least 28 ounces
  • Playing with littermates

4 to 5
weeks

  • Lower molars emerge
  • Kittens begin to pounce
  • Runs around
  • Uses litter box

6½ to 7 weeks

  • Eyes change from baby blue to their adult color

7 weeks

  • Weaned

8 weeks

  • Upper molars emerge
  • Many vets will spay or neuter kitten

12 weeks

  • Ideal time to remove from mother

12 to 16 weeks

  • Permanent teeth emerge

5 to 6 months

  • Reaches sexual maturity