Kitten growth seems to happen right before your eyes! Make sure you’re prepared for each milestone your kitten reaches so you can know what to expect as he grows.

As fun as it is to watch their tiny wobbly bodies become fluffy little pouncing machines within a matter of weeks, you need to be involved at key stages of kitten growth to turn these little furballs into good pets.

Here you will be introduced to important milestones reached during each of these stages, and what you need to know in order to care for them at each kitten growth stage.

See an illustrated kitten growth chart here.

Kitten Growth from Birth to Ten Days

DAY 1: Newborn kittens weight only about 4 ounces when born and are completely helpless–blind, deaf, and unable to regulate their own body temperature.

Mama cat is completely responsible for taking care of her newborn kittens’ needs for warmth, milk, and helping them eliminate their waste.

These tiny little kittens have a lower survival rate if they have been abandoned or orphaned but with a dedicated human mom to help them, they still have a chance to make it.

DAY 5 : Kittens will already be a third bigger than their birth weight, since they gain half an ounce daily in the first several days.

Their ears will begin to open, but they are still flat against their heads and are still unresponsive to sound.

During this stage of kitten growth, they only have a sense of feel, vibration, and temperature sensors and can root (scoot) in the direction of mom’s body heat as she arrives back to her litter.

They also have a developed sense of smell, and will even hiss if an unrecognized scent enters their nest!

You may also see some of the kittens’ eyes begin to open. It looks kind of funny, since they open on the inside corners first!

Once fully opened, they will begin to focus a few days later. The kitten age range for this is from day 5 to 14.

DAY 10 Kitten Growth: The kittens will begin to orient towards sound, however they will not recognize what they hear for almost another couple of weeks.

They are also getting stronger and still gaining weight rapidly during this development stage.

Kitten Growth from Ten Days to Four Weeks

DAY 14: The kittens are growing in leg strength but they are not yet able to support their body weight and they are still wobbly and uncoordinated.

Most of them during this stage of kitten growth should have their eyes open, but it may take a couple days for some of them to be able to focus.

It is a good idea to get little kittens used to human handling even this early in kitten development.

kitten growthKittens have a sensitive period of socialization, which means that between 2 and 7 weeks, they need to be exposed and handled by humans if they are going to trust people and become good pets.

Handling of kittens at this kitten growth stage should be nothing more than just holding them and very gently petting them with your thumb or finger.

It is a myth that the mother will abandon her litter after her kittens are touched, but if you do it too much she may hide them from you in another location. So just about a minute per kitten each day will be sufficient.

DAY 21: At the 3-week-old mark during kitten growth, the kittens’ ears are erect and they are beginning to recognize sound.

Their baby teeth are starting to come in and they are beginning to learn how to purr. And yes–it is very, very adorable.

DAY 25: At this development stage, they are able to walk using their legs, but are still uncoordinated and falling over a lot.

They have the ability to crawl over the sides of the nest box if the walls aren’t high enough, so be prepared for little escape artists!

They still have a stubby, stiff tail with no flexibility, but it will develop more at the 4- or 5-week-old kitten growth stage.

Continue to Part 2: Kitten Development One Month to One Year