After birth, kittens quickly go through a number of developmental changes. By the time they are six weeks old, they are almost ready to leave their moms. Their first few weeks of life are filled with a variety of unusual sights and sounds. But that doesn’t mean we stop evolving and learning as a result.
A kitten still needs to accomplish a number of significant developmental milestones between the ages of six and twelve weeks.
- A kitten’s first set of baby teeth starts to erupt around the age of six weeks. The mother cat could be hesitant to milk her young in the coming weeks when all of the kittens’ new teeth should start to burst through their gums. These baby teeth will start to fall out at the age of 12 weeks.
- Even though a kitten’s ears have been open for several weeks at this age, its eyes are still blue. The eyes gradually change to their ultimate adult eye color during the coming weeks, and both hearing and vision are finished developing.
- A kitten need extra heat up until it is about six weeks old in order to stay warm. It won’t require a heating pad, heat lamp, or any other heat source after about a month and a half. As long as the kitten is in a room-temperature environment, it will be alright because it can control its body temperature on its own.
- At around seven to eight weeks of age, a male kitten’s testicles drop and become palpable.
A kitten is extremely friendly and active between the ages of six and twelve weeks. Even if it sleeps less than a baby does, it will still sleep for more than half the day. A kitten begins to play with its littermates, discovers its surroundings, and begins to develop a personality. Your kitten needs this time to develop its social skills. A kitten may suffer as an adult if it is not given the chance to learn right from wrong through play and is unable to observe its mother and littermates being disciplined. If kittens are not adequately socialized, their social skills may decline and possibly turn violent.
Care and Health
A kitten should have its first FVRCP vaccination and a checkup from a veterinarian around the age of eight weeks. Three separate vaccinations are combined into one with the FVRCP vaccine. Cat-specific viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia is referred to as FVRCP. These deadly diseases can affect cats of any age. This vaccine must be given again at around 12 weeks old, along with another shot that must be given three to four days later, as well as another at approximately 16 weeks old.
- While some vets recommend waiting until a cat is closer to six months old or have a minimum weight requirement, others will spay or neuter a kitten when it is between eight and twelve weeks old. To make sure that your kitten is healthy enough for anesthesia, this surgery should be reviewed with your veterinarian. A preliminary blood screening is typically advised. This blood test will also create a baseline, giving you something to compare your kitten’s blood test results to as it gets older.
- With your doctor, you should also discuss flea and heartworm prevention. Some products are not safe for young cats or small kittens, but these parasites can kill a cat, especially one that is little. Avoid using flea shampoo if you find fleas on your cat and instead wash it with dish soap.
Disease and dietary requirements
The suggested age to start weaning a kitten off of nursing is six weeks old. Until the kitten is ready to swallow the meals without the water, high-quality canned kitten food should be grueled with water. Once the kitten has gotten used to eating canned food and has grown into its baby teeth, it will switch to dry kitten kibble. An adult kitten should have completely weaned itself from its mother by the time it is eight to 10 weeks old. At this point, there is no need to restrict the amount of food a kitten eats.
Kittens for training purposes
- If a kitten observes their mother or other cats using a litter box, training them to do the same will be simple. Cats normally seek to cover up their dripping dampness after peeing or feces.
- Once your cat is around eight weeks old, you may start using repetition and prizes to teach it its name. Your kitten will respond to vocal praise, caressing, toys, and treats, among other forms of reinforcement.
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