When Do Newborn Kittens Open Their Eyes?

The eyes of a newborn kitten are light-sensitive organs and when kittens do not have their eyes open, they rely on senses other than sight. Kittens that are about a day old will be checking the world around them with their paws. This is because they cannot see anything yet, but as soon as their vision appears to develop, they start poking their heads outside of the nest box. Newborn kittens usually get a brief glimpse of the world before being released outside for hunting or exploring. They tend to open their eyes for the first time about 8 to 12 days after birth. You can see that kittens are born with “blue” eyes because they are very light and colorless.

As the kittens begin to grow older, their eyes will change into its final color. Some may be a green color or even a golden yellow. Newborn kittens typically have very large eyes which allow them to see light and shadows. But even if you have a well-adjusted kitten, you may notice that their eyes seem smaller than normal for a while. This is because their muscles are not yet developed enough to hold the eye in the correct position. As they get older, their eyes will start to look more normal. Cats have a high concentration of cells called rods on the retina which allows them to see in low light conditions, but this also makes their night vision poor. A cat’s daytime vision is 8 times greater than that of a human being.

Kittens Open Their Eyes When They Are Ready

If you have a newborn kitten, it is not easy to know exactly when the eyes open for the first time. If you have an adult cat that has given birth recently, you may be able to tell by gently lifting an eyelid or checking to see if there is any discharge from the eye. Fetal kittens do not seem to have any sort of visual acuity when they are just days old, but this is because their retinas have not yet developed fully. After about 2 weeks, all the major parts of the eye are in place and the kitten starts to navigate the world by sight. Within a few days after birth, your new cat should start to act more alert and active. This is especially true if you are raising a kitten that has been taken from its mother before weaning time. After the eyes are open and they start walking, many will become very active. This can be a dangerous time because they may jump from high places and injure themselves, or they may get into things that they should not.

When Do Kittens Start To Walk?

According to Hills Pet, kittens start to make their way out of the nest box between 3 to 5 weeks of age. Their first movements are slow and clumsy. They may try to move a paw or just stick it out of the box. It takes time for their muscles to get used to working together and they don’t run or jump yet. Newborn cats are unable to walk without falling over and they must crawl on all fours until they are stronger and faster than an older cat moving on all fours. Although it is typical for kittens to stay near their mothers in the nest box during the first weeks of life, they begin to wander when they are about a month old.

Quicker Gait

By 4 weeks of age, the kitten is able to get around much more quickly than when it first started walking. This is because the muscles are now stronger and the bones are heavier. At this age, most kittens start to take their first steps around a corner and they can turn in small areas. If you watch your kitten closely, you may notice that they are excited or pouncing on objects. This is because they have learned how to chase and capture objects by scent and sight. At eight weeks, according to Pets Best, kittens start to get more confident in their ability to move around, and can even start jumping.

How To Take Care Of Newborn Kittens

As you can see, newborn kittens are not able to do very much for themselves. If you have an older cat or kitten or plan on raising a litter of your own, you will need to be prepared and know exactly what to do to help them thrive. Web MD states that you’ll need materials to help keep them warm, clean and fed, and that you should be prepared to take them to the vet if they need it. Keeping a clean place is probably the most important for a new litter of kittens because it prevents infection and the spread of disease. For kittens that are taken from their mother too soon, it is important that you provide your new babies with a warm place to spend time.

This may include giving them their own special nest box or even just a blanket in the living room. You should have at least one litter box for each litter of new kittens. If you do not use washable liners, be sure to keep them clean. There are special cat litter boxes on the market that you can use and they are very convenient. You should also keep a supply of food and water available at all times for your kitten at all times. Depending on how many kittens you are caring for, you may need to feed every 2 to 4 hours, especially during the first few weeks. At six weeks of age, you will be able to feed them as often as they need to eat.

Final Thoughts

Newborn kittens are very small and they do not have a lot of strength or ability in their first few months. Yet they are learning quickly because of the experience and love of their humans. You and your children can make a big difference in the lives of these otherwise helpless kittens while also teaching them valuable lessons about sharing, love and compassion that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

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