How Old Is My Kitten? [An Illustrated Guide]

Are you curious about your kitten's age? Understanding your kitten's age is important because it helps in determining how to take care of them. Different age groups require different kinds of attention, especially when it comes to things like feeding, grooming, and keeping them warm. In this comprehensive illustrated guide, "How Old Is My Kitten?" we're going to help you figure it out.

It can be hard to tell a kitten's age just by looking, but we've got some clues that might help. We will dive into different stages of a kitten's life and what changes they go through. From their first few weeks to when they start exploring their world, each stage has unique signs that can hint at your kitten's age.

We will also discuss kitten behavior, physical growth, and health to help you guess their age. But remember, the best way to find out is to ask a vet or a professional. What we provide is a rough guide, which can help you understand your kitten better.

If you're eager to start this detective journey, keep on reading! This guide has everything you need to guess your kitten's age. Let's get started!

Why Knowing Your Kitten's Age Matters

So, how do you unlock this puzzle? The surest way is through a vet visit. They have the expertise to provide an accurate estimation of your kitten's age. Experienced rescuers or breeders could also help you figure it out.

If you're keen on unraveling this mystery yourself, our guide is here to assist. Armed with an array of details about early-age development in kittens, you're in for an informative read. But remember, guessing the age of a kitten, especially strays, is more of an art than a science. You'll likely end up with an approximation, but that's a great place to start!

Important Note: If you've found yourself caring for newborn kittens, it's vital that you seek expert advice. Our specialized article on caring for orphan newborn kittens will be of great help. And if possible, it's highly beneficial to connect with a local rescuer who has experience with such young kittens.

For any questions, or concerns, or just to engage with a community that loves kittens as much as you do, head to our active forum. Our members are always eager to help. But remember, asking your questions here won't be productive as our members won't see your questions in the article comments.

However, if your purpose is solely to gain knowledge about how to estimate a kitten's age, keep reading for some insightful information.

Guide To Kitten Development Stages - With Illustrations

Let's start by looking at how cats develop from birth to adulthood.

First Week - Newborn Kittens

Newborn kittens enter the world both blind and deaf. Their movements are limited, with their main ability being to navigate toward their mother's body for warmth and sustenance.

Unable to regulate their own body temperature, they depend heavily on their mother for warmth, nourishment, and protection.

Newborn kittens typically weigh between 80 and 170 grams (2.8-6 ounces), and it's not uncommon for them to double their body weight within their first week of life.

Second Week - One-Week-Old Kittens

The kittens' eyes open and they begin to process input from the outside world. Their movements gradually become more coordinated but they still stay close to their mother with minimal interaction with their siblings or environment.

At the beginning of Week 2, the kittens weigh between 150 and 300 grams (5.3 and 10.5 ounces), with males being slightly heavier on average.

Third Week Of A Kitten's Life

The kittens start to move better as their senses get sharper. They're still learning how to walk and they might look clumsy. They get to know the world around them more and start to interact with their brothers and sisters.

At the beginning of week 3, kittens average 200-400 grams (7-14 ounces).

When Kittens Are Four Weeks Old

The kittens can walk around now even though they're not very graceful. They start to play with their siblings and toys. This is also when they learn how to use the litter box, so make sure to provide a clean one with non-clumping litter. The kittens may start to eat soft food but still rely on nursing.

They weigh between 300-500 grams (10.6 ounces - 1.1 lbs) at the beginning of week 4 and grow to 350-600 (12 ounces - 1.3 lbs) by the end of the week.

Kittens From Five To Six Weeks Old

During the first half of the second month, kittens are busy critters! They get their teeth and learn how to use them as they discover soft foods while still nursing.

They develop their motor skills by climbing, jumping, and running around, gradually improving their aim and balance. Social skills develop as well, so make sure they get plenty of human company. Kittens average 500-900 grams (1.1-1.9 lbs) by the end of the sixth week of their lives.

When Kittens Are Approaching Two Months Old

As jumping and climbing improve, the kittens increase their range and explore distant areas of the room. Make sure their environment is kitten-proof as they are prone to accidents.

They spend their days and nights eating, sleeping, and playing with each other, as they learn the ins and outs of feline social behavior by testing the limits of their siblings' and mother's patience.

They are larger now and most kittens weigh over one kilogram (2.2 lbs) at this point, with males being significantly heavier than females.


When Kittens Are Three To Four Months Old

The kittens are more independent now. With their senses and motor skills fully developed, it is their size that prevents them from reaching certain places adult cats can.

At 12 weeks of age, they can be safely weaned and go to loving homes. Weighing anything between 1-2.5 kg they are about a third of their final expected body weight.

5-6 Month-Old Kittens

The kittens can now be called young cats. They still have a lot of growing to do, as physically they are about half their final expected weight. Additionally, they lack experience and have a lot to learn.

Kittens at this age are full of energy and their curiosity knows no bounds. Now is the right time to have your kitten spayed or neutered and establish household routines that could last throughout their lifetime.

Kittens' Eye Development

What do kittens' eyes look like as they grow?

When kittens are born, they are blind and their eyes are shut. After about a week or so, they open their eyes. At ten days, the eyes should be fully open.

Eye color is another indicator of a kitten's age. 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!

Read more about your cat's eyes here.

When Do Kittens Start Teething?

Kittens' teeth, specifically their incisors or canine teeth, start appearing around three or four weeks. Lower molars come in at four to five weeks, while upper molars show up around eight weeks.

Kittens can start eating solid food as early as five weeks. If a kitten is searching for the food bowl instead of waiting for food to be brought to it, that's a sign it's a bit older.

Do Kittens Lose Baby Teeth?

Just like humans, kittens go through two sets of teeth. The first teeth are their temporary "baby teeth".

Sometime between the age of six weeks and the age of six months, they gradually lose these smaller teeth and grow a new set that will last them their entire life.

Litter Training Kittens

Cats have a natural instinct to dig in the litter when they need to eliminate. That behavior usually starts when the kitten is mobile or at about four weeks. Make sure there's a litter box available for these tiny kitties.

It should be smaller than a regular box, and with lower sides, so they can easily get in and out of the box.

And don't worry if they miss the box occasionally, especially if they're playing too far away from the box to run back to it in time.

Read more: How To Train Kittens To Use The Litter Box

How Do Cats Age?

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 down 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 you first thought.

Pet steps or a footstool will give him 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. This is because they have no predators to avoid, good quality food, fresh water, and a family to call their own. These factors will extend a cat's life.

The average indoor cat lives twelve to fifteen years. However, with constantly improved veterinary care, twenty and even more can now be an attainable goal.

Comparing Feline To Human Age

how old is my cat in human years

Cat owners often wonder how their cat compares to humans when it comes to age. Is being 7 years considered old for a cat? How about 14? How old is my cat in human years?

The average lifespan of humans in developed countries is around 80 years old. For cats, it's around 15.

However, cats mature faster than humans do. So, at six months old, a kitten is not as helpless as a toddler would be at age three. Refer to our infographic above about your own cat.

So, is 7 considered old for a cat? If by "old" you mean elderly, then not just yet. Most cats can still be considered as being in the prime of their life at that age.

However, many veterinarians consider cats to be elderly or "seniors" at 8-10 years. Any older and your cat can officially be considered an "old-timer".

Just like with people, individual cats age at different rates regardless of their biological age. Talk to your veterinarian and work out an adequate care routine that works for your kitty.

Understanding Kitten And Cat Development

In conclusion, a cat's life is an incredible journey from a blind, dependent newborn to an energetic kitten, and finally, a mature and wise old cat.

Understanding the stages of a cat's life—from their physical development and changing eye color to their teething process and litter training—is essential for pet owners.

This helps ensure the best care and enables a rewarding relationship. Regardless of their age, remember that each cat is unique.

Tailoring your care approach to their individual needs, under the guidance of a vet, can pave the way for a healthy and joyful feline life.


Cute kitten staring at something while standing at.  Title article for "How Old Is My Kitten?"

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11 comments on “How Old Is My Kitten? [An Illustrated Guide]

Jessica May 28, 2022
Do baby kitten poop very day or every other day
HONEY BEAR June 29, 2020
    MarkMDP July 6, 2020
    Hello! You are more than welcome to join the forums (it's free!). We have expert members who'd be glad to share relevant insights about the breed of your cats. The Breed forums is a good place to start a thread: Click where it says "Create New Thread". If you have any questions on how to use this site, ask for advice in the Site Help forum right here:   If this is an urgent medical matter please don't waste time posting in the forums and call your vet instead. No online advice can ever replace vet care. Looking forward to seeing you on the boards and welcome to TCS! 
SweetiePie1 February 10, 2020
Thank you for this repost. Even though its older I really appreciate the refresher and quick reference.
Anne July 21, 2013
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!
chloeg July 21, 2013
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
carol saints July 11, 2013
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 !
emma cassidy July 2, 2013
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 :(
babygirlmeli95 June 12, 2013
what breed is your kitten? It looks exactly like mine.
dwilkins57 June 1, 2013
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???
    Lexi March 23, 2020
    I have the same question.. I've adopted 2 kittens from our local shelter and the age they gave for both seemed older than they appeared to me both boys already neutered... Still looking for the right answer on this.

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