There is no sure way to tell the exact age of a kitten, but you can estimate by examining them physically and watching them closely. Are their eyes open? Are they still blue? (Some cats’ eyes never change, so this isn’t always a guarantee.) Are their teeth in? If so, how many and how are they shaped? As far as their actions, do they walk with confidence or are they a little shaky on their legs? Are they socializing with their littermates? I’ve done a little research on this subject and here’s what I’ve found.
When I bring a kitten to the vet for the first time, one of the first things I ask is how old is it. There are things that you can look for to estimate the kitten’s age.
At birth, the kitten’s ears and ears are closed. The eyes open during the second week, and the ears open when he is about three weeks old, causing the kitten to perk up and take notice of the world around him. It’s at this time that his eyes will start to change color to their permanent color.
The teeth of a cat often tell his age. Like a human, kittens are born with no teeth. Also like humans, they have two sets, baby and permanent. There are two differences between the first and the second sets of teeth. The first set, or baby teeth, are small and pointed, while the second set is larger and has flat edges. The baby teeth start to come in when the kitten is about three weeks old. About eleven weeks later, at fourteen weeks, the middle incisors come in. Then at about fifteen weeks the second incisors and at sixteen weeks the third incisors come in.
Example by ASACA: if the kitten has both his first permanent incisors but not her second or third incisors, our best guess would be that he is 14 weeks old
At birth, the kitten makes sounds that are no more than soft mews, telling mom that he is hungry. When he is three weeks, he begins to purr.
Also at three weeks, he will venture out on shaky legs, and about four weeks, he will be more confident in his wanderings. It’s then that you need to kitten proof your home. We will discuss this in a future post.
He will start to socialize with his litter mates at about four or five weeks. It’s then that you want him to get used to socializing with you very slowly. The best way to do this is with cuddles.
By the time he is a year old, he is no longer a kitten.
Being a guardian to a kitten is work, but it’s worth the endless rewards you’ll receive for years to come.