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How Old Is My Kitten?

May 15, 2013 · Updated Apr 29, 2017 · ·
  1. Anne
    The fastest and easiest way to determine the age of a cat is to make a trip to the veterinarian’s office. In an adult cat, it’s harder to tell but in a kitten, there are more variables to go by. Even with all the clues, determining the age of a stray cat is a best guess effort.


    When kittens are born, they are blind. After about a week or so, they open their eyes. At ten days, the eyes should be fully open. Eye color is another indicator for tiny kittens. All kittens are born with blue eyes. The color gradually changes as they grow and at as early as seven weeks (in most breeds and mixed breeds), the color begins to change. Some breeds take longer for eye color to become permanent and sometimes, it’s just hard to tell the color—kittens don’t hold still long enough to get a good look!


    The lower molars begin to come in at four to five weeks while upper molars show up at about eight weeks. Incisors are at three or four weeks. Kittens can eat solid food as early as five weeks. If he’s looking for the food bowl vs. the human putting soft food near his face, it’s a clue that he’s a bit older.

    Litter Training

    Cats have a natural instinct to dig—that starts when the kitten is mobile or at about four weeks.

    Other Clues

    Genetics and heredity play an important part in a cat’s life. If as a kitten, there was plentiful food and water, indoor living, and veterinary care, a cat will be larger and healthier than a feral kitten whose mother was malnourished and unable to provide proper nutrition for the kittens.

    If a cat is past the cutesy kitten stage but is obviously not fully mature, chances are he’s a year or two old. In human terms, a year old cat is comparable to a fifteen year old teenager which explains the bursts of energy followed by long naps. At age twenty, the cat is geriatric and comparable to a ninety-six year old human—even longer naps and rare energy bursts.

    As with any other species, cats slow as they age. Jumping is natural for cats so if the cat you’ve adopted isn’t comfortable jumping onto the bed, chances are he’s older than first thought. Pet steps or a footstool will give him the mobility without added stress. With less exercise, comes weight gain as well. A heavier cat can be older too—or being overweight has slowed a normally active cat. Just like with humans, the saying goes, “Before beginning a diet and exercise program, be sure to be examined by your veterinarian to make sure you’re healthy enough to make the changes needed to lose weight, improve health and gain mobility.”

    Indoor cats live much longer than feral, outdoor cats—no predators to avoid, good quality food, fresh water, and a family to call their own, extends a cat’s life. The average indoor cat lives twelve to fifteen years but with constantly improved veterinary care, twenty is now an attainable goal.[/float]

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  1. Anne
    Just a general reminder here, folks. Comments to articles are very welcome, but if you have questions or wish to discuss a specific topic, please do visit the forums and post it there. Thank you!
  2. chloeg
    Hi what tought was a mistake on part on cat introductions,turned out to be,perfect,for my furbabies.that is.Oh they went through all the
    regular hissing and growling and the cold shoulder to me,4 days later they are inseperable,playimng ,eating and sleeping to gether.Mybe its just beginners luck
  3. carol saints
    I do a lot of TNR and socializing their kittens so I have experience with this. If you have 2 day old kittens and they are pooping completely on their own be grateful. Often if you get abandoned kittens you have to do the stimulating yourself to make it happen. You are taking the place of the mother cat and that is what she would do. Pooping kittens is a good thing !
  4. emma cassidy
    My Kittens are pooing themselves a lot what do I do they are two days old but maybe that's just cause4 they are new they have all ready pooped on my bed, my new suite & my new white leggings :(
  5. babygirlmeli95
    what breed is your kitten? It looks exactly like mine.
  6. dwilkins57
    Why are their so many different ideas of when a kitten should be spayed/neutered? Rescue place said 6 weeks, my vet says 6 months???
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