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Cat development: how to care for and what to feed a little kitten?

Cat development

Kittens, just like humans, need time for their bodies, psyche and social skills to fully develop.

Observing your little kitten's development can be fun.

I hope that my article will help you understand your cat a bit better, and learning about the stages of development will help prevent later negative behavior.

  • What influences the development of kittens?
  • The age of the cat
  • Stages of cat development
    • The neonatal period
    • The period of development and socialization
    • A period of learning and playing
    • The period of establishing social relations and establishing hierarchy
    • The period of adolescence
    • Adulthood

What influences the development of kittens?

What affects the development of the cat?

The development of a kitten is influenced by factors such as:

  • race (e.g. Maine Coon matures more slowly),
  • cat lifestyle (wild cats need to grow up faster),
  • diet - malnourished cats mature more slowly,
  • medical care - diseases slow down development,
  • the number of stimuli, the environment in which they live,
  • the presence or absence of people,
  • individual factors.

The development of a kitten is an individual feature.

It happens that two cats from one litter develop and learn to different degrees.

The age of the cat

Cat and human age

Can you compare the age of a cat with that of a person??

There are a number of tables and conversion factors to compare the age of a person and a cat.

You must remember, however, that they are very contractual.

It is impossible to compare, for example,. A 12-year-old European cat with a 12-year-old purebred cat, or a healthy cat with one that was sick in childhood.

Below you will find a table from which you can learn how to compare the age of a cat with the age of a person:

[table id = 18 /

Stages of cat development

Due to the age of the kitten, the following stages of development are distinguished:

  • neonatal period,
  • period of development and socialization,
  • period of study and play,
  • the period of establishing social relations and establishing hierarchy,
  • growing up,
  • adulthood.

The neonatal period

The neonatal period in a cat

The neonatal period in cats is the first 2 weeks old kitten.

You need to know that the kitten is completely dependent on its mother at birth.

The kitten's senses at this age are not fully developed yet - he cannot see and hear, the only senses he uses in his short life are the sense of touch and smell, he also feels the warmth of his mother.

After 5 days kittens begin to hear, and after a week they begin to open their eyes - however, their sense of sight will develop only after 3 weeks.

The little ones spend their time eating (they can easily find their mother's nipple) and sleeping. Their digestion and excretion are also not fully developed - they are stimulated by a mother cat by licking the baby.

IN 2 weeks begins to slowly learn to show emotions - he hisses when he feels threatened.

She also begins to get to know her mother and siblings - the first family relationships.

The period of development and socialization

The period of development and socialization in a cat

It falls on 2-7 weeks kitten's life.

At this time, the kitten begins to explore the world and its personality begins to form.

This is the period in which the kitten should be familiarized with the presence of humans - then you can start stroking the baby or introducing him to the human voice.

However, remember not to upset the mother of the kitten too much.

Kittens also begin to learn hygiene at this time - they take care of their physiological needs and wash themselves.

IN 3 weeks cloves begin to grow.

This is the time when the kitten can gradually move the kittens away from her.

You can then slowly introduce solid food to your baby's diet.

In nature, at this time, the kitten brings her prey to the little ones.

The kitten is becoming more and more independent - it leaves the pen, enters various holes, so it is worth protecting them against them.

About 4-5 weeks the kitten should learn to use the litter box.

The kittens' eye color also begins to change from blue to greenish at this time.

They are also more aware of their own body - they start to walk like adult cats.

Sixth and seventh week of life this is the stage of further development of the kitten.

His sleep pattern develops, motor skills increase, social behavior and personality of the cat are developed.

At the end of this period, the kitten is independent.

WHERE IS MY MOM? - little kitten is crying
Watch this video on YouTube

A period of learning and playing

A period of learning and playing

The period of learning and playing a kitten is the time between 7 and 14 weeks life.

During this time, the kitten is playing with its mother and siblings.

This teaches him not only such important skills as motor coordination, but also hunting skills and family ties.

By reproducing the behavior of a female cat, a young kitten acquires some of her character traits.

About 8 weeks of life, little Frisky already has a full set of milk teeth.

He is weaned from his mother and begins to lead a more independent life.

In the USA, this is the minimum age for a kitten to adopt.

About 9 weeks of life is also the time of the first preventive vaccinations.

The period of establishing social relations and establishing hierarchy

The period of establishing social relations and establishing hierarchy

It falls on 3 - 6 months kitten's life.

The kitten is clearly looking for companionship. It's worth it then tame him with animals of other species, e.g. with dogs.

It also begins to show its future character.

Relationships between siblings are also established - who is the dominant in the herd and who prefers to comply.

Third month life is also a time when kittens can be weaned.

It is also the time of the next preventive vaccinations.

About 12-21 week of life, the kittens begin to replace their teeth permanently.

This process ends around 6 - 9 months life.

Sixth month of life it is also the period of sexual adolescence - non-neutered or sterilized animals begin to show sexual behavior.

The period of adolescence

Converting from junior food to adult cat food

This period falls on approx 6-18 month cat life.

Some believe that a cat's growing up can be considered complete only in 3 years life.

Animals at this age still show "kitten behavior" - they learn, play a lot.

Unsterilized kittens show sexual behavior - the time of the first estrus and the importance of the terrain.

During this period, the cat observes how much it can afford with its owner. This is the best time to lay the foundations of a hierarchy in your home.

Cats usually reach their adult weight and overall body build during this time.

This is also the time when we change the kitten's food to that for adult cats.

From approx 6 months life, you can also decide to castrate or sterilize the cat.


The cat's adulthood

Cats develop throughout their lives.

Experiences lived can shape their personality throughout their lives. Therefore, if you are a cat's guardian, you cannot stop caring for him after graduation 1.5 years.

Remember to observe the kitten's behavior - whether, for example,. not afraid of something or not stressed out.

Do not forget about visits to the vet, vaccinations and anti-parasitic prophylaxis.

To my patients after graduation 5 years I recommend life minimum annual blood tests.

Pets are considered to have graduated 10 years life are seniors of cats - then provide your cat with a properly balanced diet.

And one more thing - when your kitten is already an older, infirm kitten, do not give it back and do not surrender to fate. Often, diseases that are picked up in time can be easily treated or, at least, reduced.

Remember that having a pet is a life-long responsibility, not just the first few months.


I hope that my article will allow you to better understand your kitten's behavior, and by understanding the stages of its development, it will allow you to avoid subsequent behavioral problems of Frisky.

If you have questions related to your cat's development, or something bothers you about your purr's behavior - post a comment under the article, I will answer as soon as possible.

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