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Newborn Kittens: When Do Kittens Open Their Eyes?

Newborn Kittens: When Do Kittens Open Their Eyes?

Many families love having cats as pets, and often, they raise their kittens from birth. Today, our Richmond vets talk about caring for a newborn kitten and when you can expect them to open their eyes.

Taking care of and raising kittens is an exciting journey. When they're tiny,  you'll see that their eyes are closed, and their ears might still be folded to their heads.  They will be unable to stand or walk around and are more or less helpless - but with proper love and care from their mother or caretakers, they're sure to grow up healthy and happy.

When Can You Expect Your Kitten to Open Their Eyes?

Kittens grow differently due to various factors, but most newborns will begin opening their eyes between the ages of 2-16 days. During this period, their eyesight gets better, but sometimes one eye opens faster than the other. At around 2 weeks of age, both eyes are usually dilated, and by 3 weeks old, many kittens are able to focus with both eyes. All newborn kittens have blue eyes, but as they get older, their eye color will change and usually become their permanent color at around 8 weeks old.

How to properly care for the eyes of your newborn kitten

Try to keep very young kittens away from bright lights that could potentially hurt or even damage their developing eyes. If the kitten doesn't have a mother or isn't being well cared for by their mother, it's up to you to ensure that the newborn kittens are clean and healthy. Keep their faces clean with a warm, damp clean washcloth and, most of all, never try to force a kitten’s eyes open before the lids open naturally on their own. Patience is key!

When you should be concerned about your newborn kitten's eyes

Newborn kittens can get a crust on their eyes that makes it hard for them to open them. This is a common problem that can be caused by a bacterial or viral infection; yet another reason to ensure that your kittens' bedding and shared areas are clean and hygienic to stop infections from reoccurring or spreading to littermates.

If kittens' eyes develop this matted crust, try gently cleaning their eyes with a cotton ball dampened with warm clean water.  don't use soap. If their eyes don't get better or get worse, call your vet right away to ensure that they receive care.

How to Care For Your Newborn Kitten

Much like newborn human babies, newborn kittens spend much of their time sleeping, waking occasionally to be fed and cared for. Kittens are able to sense warmth and use their sense of smell to move toward their mother's belly and are dependent on a source of milk and warmth to aid them in their development.

Newborn kittens sleep a lot, about 22 hours a day. As they grow, at around two weeks old,  they start crawling and getting their teeth.  By four weeks, they are able to walk, jump, and play more steadily. This is also when their capacity for mischief increases, as they are curious and adventurous – and often eager to practice climbing! 

Raising a Kitten

Kittens are cute and cuddly pets, but they have unique requirements that must be met. These needs vary as they grow, and neglecting them can affect their well-being and lifespan. In this article, we'll discuss how to care for your new furry friend during their kitten stage.

0-4 Weeks Old

When a kitten is 0-4 weeks, it's a newborn. At this stage, they're leaving to meow, walk, and even regulate their body temperature. If they have a mother, their mother will be able to do most of the work, including feeding. Your job is to ensure the moth is healthy and they're in a warm, safe place. Cover their create or area floor with a blanket, and provide a cozy bed. 

If the newborn kitten does not have a mother, the first thing you should do is take them to see a vet. Your veterinarian will be able to determine the health of the kitten and provide you with detailed instructions on how to meet the needs of your tiny little friend.

5-11 Weeks Old

When the kitten you are caring for is around 5 to 10 weeks old. It's time to transition them from bottle or mother's milk to high-protein meals, given about 3 to 4 times a day. To do this, put the formal in a bowl and maybe mix in some of the food to make it easier for them.  Also, be aware that as they get older, motor skills will improve, and they'll become more adventurous. So, you'll need to closely watch them to ensure they stay out of trouble. 

Your kitten will require a lot of supervision and hands-on playtime while they are between 2-4 months old.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Did your cat have kittens, or are you currently caring for a newborn kitten that is without a mother? Call our vets in Richmond to schedule an examination.

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