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The Developmental Stages Of A Kitten: A Guide By Preloved

The Developmental Stages Of A Kitten: A Guide By Preloved

If you’re looking to introduce a furry friend into your family home, we think it’s important that you have the right information about its developmental stages before you starting the rehoming process. Knowing the major growth milestones of a kitten is vital to making informed decisions about bringing a bundle of fluff into your home.

We fully recognise that pet ownership is a huge commitment, from the moment they’re first brought home and for years to come. So that’s why we’re continually providing more on-site advice and educational content for our wonderful Preloved members! Knowing the age of a kitten means you can confidently understand what care they need such as bathroom help or feeding. There is so much change and progression that takes place in those first stages of a kittens life that a new need will have to be catered to weekly.

We do put in a lot of work behind the scenes to ensure the sale of animals is handled as responsibly as possible. This is why we understand it is our duty to make prospective buyers aware of what every stage from newborn to 8 weeks should actually look and behave like. As a general rule, we do not allow cats to be sold within 9 weeks of being born here at Preloved. We hope after reading this blog, you’ll be able to identify the obvious differences between various stages of a kittens growth, feeling confident that they are ready to be given a forever home. And most importantly, you will know whether the development has taken place as it should.


the first developmental stages of a kitten

Out of all the developmental stages, here kittens require the most care and attention due to their teeny tiny size and vulnerability.

Newborn: Sight and sound non-existent as the kitten’s eyes and ears will still be folded. The umbilical cord is still attached but will fall off within 5 days. They aren’t yet able to regulate their body temperature, and their paws may appear a pinkish colour. Newborn kittens tend to sleep for most of the day and must be kept warm. The best care you can provide a newborn kitten is to keep it with its mother if they are present.

developmental stages of a kitten newborn

Source: Cat’s Protection

1 week: Eyes should begin to open between 8-12 days, but this will be done in their own time. Their ears will begin to slightly unfold. 1-week old kittens will still be heavy sleepers throughout the day. They may be able to hold their head up but still won’t be stable on their own. 

developmental stages of a kitten week 1

Source: Cat’s Protection

2 weeks: By now, their blue eyes should be completely open. But be cautious as they may be a little unstable and wobbly on their feet, despite the slight improvement of vision and hearing. Don’t let this knock them though, as their curiosity will encourage them to make their first steps. 

developmental stages of a kitten week 2

Source: Cat’s Protection


3-5 weeks developmental stages of a kitten

This is where the kitten will begin to reach important stages of their development which the owner must assist them with.

3 weeks: The incisors at the front of their mouth will start appearing, plus you’ll notice that their ears are unfolded and pointed. At 3 weeks, they encounter their litter box and become curious about their surroundings. Despite coordination improving, they may not be particularly playful yet since they aren’t able to run after moving objects.

developmental stages of a kitten week 3

Source: Cat’s Protection

4 weeks: Slightly larger and stronger canine teeth will start emerging, as will their retractable claws. The kitten becomes more confident with their walking and sight, even beginning to play and become responsive to the sights and sounds of their environment. 

developmental stages of a kitten week 4

Source: Cat’s Protection

5 weeks: Premolars start to show through. They slowly become accustomed to wet kitten food for the first time. This is where they become fairly independent, harnessing their grooming skills and being fully confident with the litter box. At 5 weeks, your kitten should start being sociable around other animals as well as humans. 

kitten at 5 weeks

Source: Cat’s Protection


8 weeks developmental stages of kittens

The kitten will now show stability, playfulness, and confidence in more aspects of everyday life.

6 weeks: All milk teeth will have surfaced so that they can now eat with confidence. 6-week old kittens become more adventurous. This involves play-fighting, pouncing, jumping off surfaces, and learning to land on their feet. 

kitten at 6 weeks

Source: Cat’s Protection

7 weeks: Their adult eye colour will become apparent now, as will their coordination and social skills. They become more energetic even though they are sleeping less. Running and climbing are now part of their everyday movements. Weaning is usually complete by 7 weeks and they will now be eating solid food. Whilst they may still suckle, they are no longer dependant on their mother’s milk.

kitten at 7 weeks

Source: Cat’s Protection

8 weeks: At the 2-pound mark, kittens are ready to be microchipped, sprayed, or neutered… Perfect timing to start searching for its loving, forever home.

8 week old kitten

Source: Cat’s Protection

Thank you for reading about the developmental stages of a kitten! We hope it has given you a better understanding of their growth milestones and how to care for them at each stage.

Zoe Allison

Zoe Allison

Writer and expert