How old is that kitten?

Last week, we talked about what to do if you find kittens outside without their mom: leave them be!

Their best chance of survival is always with their mother, and chances are, she is hiding from you or out hunting. Watch quietly from afar; she may not return for several hours; until she feels it is safe.

Kittens born outside are ready to be brought into rescue around the age of five weeks to give rescuers time to socialize them and prepare them for adoption at eight weeks of age, after they are dewormed, treated for fleas and mites, vet-checked, vaccinated, and tested for feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus.

Newborn kittens weigh an average 100 grams and are pink in colour, with eyes fully closed, and their umbilical cords will still be attached to their little bellies. They can't stand, keep themselves warm, eat on their own, or even eliminate on their own; they rely on mom for everything!

By two weeks of age, their eyes will be fully open (and blue) and they will be mobile, although very wobbly on their tiny feet. Their little ears will still be folded inward, and they won't have any teeth yet; their hearing is just starting to develop. By four weeks of age, their incisors and canines will be poking through their gums; their ears will become unfolded and open.

They will be walking more confidently and exploring their surroundings and will be open to discovering a litterbox. They are soon ready to begin the weaning process with wet food and their sight is becoming stronger every day. By six weeks of age, they are showing their individual personalities, playfighting with their littermates, and they have learned how to clean themselves and their siblings too.

They are (hopefully) fully litter-trained by now and are ready to discover dry kitten kibble along with wet food. By eight weeks of age, they will weigh an average 900 grams, and are ready to join their new families.

You can easily find kitten age charts to help you determine a kitten's age online, and we do have hand out charts available at SHAID Tree Animal Shelter if you have discovered a litter of kittens born outside and want to get them on our intake list when they reach five weeks of age. Please call us at 902-543-4849 or email manager@shaidanimalshelter.com if you have any questions or need our help.

Thank you for printing this article from lighthousenow.ca. Subscribe today for access to all articles, including our archives!