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Tip of the Week: 4 Ways to Tell a Kitten’s Age

Got kittens? Knowing how old they are is an important factor in your decisions about their veterinary care. Accurately aging these wee felines can seem like a daunting job, but we’ve compiled some simple guidelines that can make determining your kitten's age a breeze.

Answer these 4 questions to help determine your best estimate of a kitten’s age:

1. What do their teeth look like?
Baby teeth start to come in around 3 weeks of age in kittens, and their permanent adult teeth start to come in between 3-4 months. The middle incisors are the first to come in around 14 weeks, with the second and third incisors following shortly after at about 15 and 16 weeks, respectively.

Photo: Stephanie Janeczko, DVM, MS, Dipl. ABVP (Canine/Feline)

Kitten teeth are tiny, which makes it tricky to tell if the incisors are baby teeth or the permanent adult teeth. It’s easiest when you have some of both to serve as a comparison, like in the above photo. The baby teeth are a little smaller with pointed tips, while the permanent teeth are a little wider with flat edges. Because the first two incisors in this kitten are permanent teeth and the third incisors are still baby teeth, we would estimate his age at approximately 15 weeks.

2. How much do they weigh?
A kitten’s weight in pounds roughly corresponds to her age in months, and she will gain weight at a relatively predictable rate until about 5 months of age. As long as a kitten is in good body condition, you can safely guess that a 1-pound kitten is about 4 weeks old and a 3-pound kitten is about 12 weeks old.

Photo: Sandra Newbury, DVM, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine

3. Are their eyes open?
Kittens are born with their eyes closed, and they don’t open until about 10 days of age.

4. Are they walking and playing?
Most kittens start walking around 3 weeks of age, but take a little longer to gain their coordination. You can be comfortable saying that a kitten who is walking pretty well and playing is at least 4 weeks of age.

How are you estimating the ages of kittens at your agency?

 

Related links:

Tools: How To Determine Kitten Gender
How-To: Vaccinating Puppies and Kittens

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

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Great photos as well as educational tips to hone in on ages- thank you! 

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I have a kitten she eat on her own and walks around but doesn't have her teeth yet and her eyes are open i just want to know how old she is

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If she has no teeth she is under 3 weeks and needs kitten milk.

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I have a little kitten. He eats by myself and drink and sleep a lone. I want to know how old is my kitten

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My kitten drinks milk from a small bowl. She's tiny and has her teeth, but very tiny. How old is my kitten?

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I hope it's kitten milk and not cow's milk and I hope you are also feeding her canned kitten food.

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I rescued two little females from a hoarding situation the guy told me they were 8 weeks old but the other night I woke up to my black little female trying to nurse on me. Both seem healthy and active. Another thing I noticed is my white and black female recently found her purr but the other one has yet to start.

So my question is are they older or younger than what I was told

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My adult cat still nurses on my ear when he is being affectionate. Sometimes cats/kittens will do this if they were taken away from their mother too early. Some cats/kittens do it as a nervous habit or something to help soothe them. As long as they are eating canned kitten food on their own and growing okay they will be fine. I foster kittens and have taken in many that are smaller or younger than what I have been told their age is. If I feel uncomfortable with only providing canned kitten food I will buy kitten replacement milk (I have found they like nurse all best at a mixture of 2 scoops to 1 cup water) and buy a quality dry kitten food which I put it a food processor to make a powder and then make my own soft kitten food mixing the formula and dry kitten food powder. My kittens have all grown well using this method. The vet has also said that it is a wonderful way to make sure they are getting all the vitamins they need and a higher fat content to help them grow. You could also just mix canned kitten food with the formula as well, I have just found this to be messier.

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I have a kitten and she has the long teeth but not the middle front or bottom front teeth. I can't figure out how old he is.

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I have 6 kittens. Their eyes are open, they walk on their own and play. We are wondering their age, and when can they start soft cat food.

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