Kittens go through developmental stages and each stage brings unique needs that are important to a kittens physical and social development, so it is beneficial to know how to tell the age of a kitten. A kitten weaned too early can have life-long health problems, and a kitten separated from its mother and siblings too early can develop social problems. Determining the age of a kitten, as closely as you can, gives you the opportunity to help it develop into a healthy, happy, socialized animal.
The things to look for when determining the age of a kitten are:
- Look at the kitten's eyes to see if they are opened or closed when the kitten is awake. If the eyes are closed, the kitten will be less than ten days old, because kitten's eyes do not open until it is between one week and ten days old.
- Look at the color of the kitten's eyes if they are open. Kittens between two and seven weeks will have blue eyes, with a slightly hazy quality similar to cataracts. Looking for blue eyes will not help much with determining age if your kitten is Siamese or Persian.
- Check the position of the kitten's ears. From birth until about three weeks, a kittens ears will be pinned forward and close to the head. After the third week a kitten's ears will stand erect.
- Watch to see if and how a kitten moves. Kittens cannot normally walk before three weeks of age, and at three weeks will be wobbly. They will start to jump around and be more sure-footed from four weeks on.
- Weigh the kitten. While not a definitive guide because each kitten grows at its own pace and weight charts overlap slightly, the average kitten will fall within these weight guidelines. If the kitten weighs four ounces or less, it will usually be from one to seven days old. From seven to ten days old a kitten will be between four and six ounces. From ten days until twenty days a kitten should weigh between six and eight ounces. Three week old kittens begin to gain weight rapidly and weigh between eight and twelve ounces. Kittens in their fourth and fifth weeks of age continue to grow rapidly and weigh between 1/2 pound a full pound. At eight weeks of age a kitten will weigh up to two pounds.