If you have ever had a litter of kittens born at your home, then you might remember that they all had their eyes closed when they were born. Whether or not a kitten’s eyes are closed is a good indication of its age. This is particularly useful information to know if you come across an abandoned kitten as you will know how to help it. With this in mind, here is what you need to know about when a kitten opens its eyes.
Why Are a Kitten’s Eyes Shut?
The reason that a kitten’s eyes are closed after birth is that their eyes are still developing and having them closed protects them while they develop. Kittens are also extremely sensitive to light and have to learn to adjust before they can begin opening their eyes.
When Do They Open Their Eyes?
Kittens open their eyes gradually as they become more accustomed to the light. They first start to open their eyes between the ages of one week and ten days. At this stage, the eyes will not fully open. The kitten will be around two weeks of age before their eyes are fully open.
What About Their Blue Eyes?
When kittens are born they are deaf, blind, unable to feed themselves and unable to regulate their own body temperature. Kittens are all also born with blue eyes. This does not mean that the cat’s eyes will remain blue as the color will change at around six weeks to the eye color they will have as an adult.
Finding Orphaned Kittens with Their Eyes Closed
If a kitten’s eyes are closed when you find it, then you know it is less than two weeks of age and will need special care around the clock. The best thing to do is to take the kitten to a vet as they will know exactly how to care for the kitten. Alternatively, take it to a no-kill animal shelter as the staff there are also experienced at looking after kittens. During the summer months, the shelters are often very busy as this is the season when most kittens are born. Therefore, they may be unable to take your kitten and advise you on how to care for it at home.
If you are unable to get the kitten straight to the vet and need to care for the kitten yourself for a day or two, then you will need to feed the kitten with special kitten formula. If the ca is under one week then they need feeding every three to four hours. Between one week and ten days, you must feed a kitten every two to three hours. From then until they are two weeks old you can feed them every three hours.
You can buy this kitten formula from a pet store and then feed it to the kitten with their belly facing downwards. A kitten that still has its eyes closed may also need help with eliminating their waste and regulating their body temperature. You can keep them warm by putting them in a box with a heated pad that covers half the surface of the box.
How Can Kittens with Closed Eyes Communicate?
Considering they cannot see what is going on around them, you may have wondered how a kitten communicates. They rely on the only senses available to them at that age; smell and touch. These two senses are the only ones that kittens are born with as they cannot see or hear.
One way to communicate with a kitten is to mimic the behavior of his mother. One thing the kitten’s mother would do is to gently move the kitten around occasionally. You can also carefully move the kitten around in this way. Feeding the kitten is another way of communicating with the kitten as you will touch the kitten and the kitten will know that you are its caregiver.
A further way of delivering care and mimicking the behavior of the kitten’s mother is to stimulate their bottom to help them eliminate waste. You can do this with a damp cloth, but a mother would do it with her mouth. This is a way that a mother cat and her kittens will bond.