We all know that kittens are adorable, sweet, and fun, but you probably don’t know everything about them. Kittens grow very quickly from the time they’re born to the time they’re ready to be adopted. Even if you’ve adopted a kitten in the past you may not know much about those weeks before you adopted her. Here are 8 facts about newborn kittens that may surprise you.
#1 – Kittens are born blind – Kittens are born with their eyes shut and they don’t start to open them until they’re about 2 weeks old. Even after opening her eyes, a kitten’s vision will be blurry for another week before she starts seeing clearly. During these first few weeks kittens stay close to their mothers and litter mates.
#2 – Kittens are born deaf – A kitten’s ears will begin to open when she’s around 2 weeks old, but her hearing won’t become clear and sharp until she’s closer to 4 weeks old.
#3 – Young kittens can’t regulate their body temperatures – Though adult cats are experts at regulating their body temperatures, kittens can’t regulate theirs until they’re around 3 weeks old. Until then, a kitten will depend on her mother and litter mates to keep her warm.
#4 – Young kittens need help pottying – Young kittens have to be stimulated in order to help them use the bathroom after meals. Their mama does this by licking them. Kittens generally won’t be ready to begin litter training until they’re around 4 weeks old.
#5 – Nursing helps keep a kitten healthy – A mama cat passes valuable nutrients and antibodies to her kittens while they nurse. The nutrients help them grow strong while the antibodies help build their immune systems.
#6 – Kittens are very social – Kittens spend most of their time sleeping. But when they’re awake they like to cuddle and play with their litter mates and mom.
#7 – Young kittens eat very frequently – Newborn kittens need to be fed every 2-3 hours. Once they’re around 2 weeks old they’ll feed only every 4-6 hours. Kittens can begin the process of being weaned to kitten-appropriate food at around 4 weeks old.
#8 – All kittens are born with blue eyes – All kittens are born with blue eyes, but most of them will eventually develop green, yellow, or brown eyes. Melanin, the pigment responsible for determining eye color, won’t move into a kitten’s eyes until she’s 7-12 weeks old.