Shelter Health

Telling a Kitten's Age in 4 Steps

When kittens enter your agency accompanied by little or no background information, do you know how to determine their ages?

Age is an important factor in determining the best courses of care and socialization, and we have four key questions that can help.

1) How do her teeth look?

Baby teeth start to come in around 3 weeks of age and permanent teeth at 3-4 months. The middle incisors are the first to come in around 14 weeks, with the second and third incisors following at about 15 and 16 weeks, respectively.

Kitten teeth are tiny, which makes it tricky to tell if the incisors are baby or permanent. It’s easiest when you have some of both to serve as a comparison. The baby teeth are a little smaller with pointed tips, while 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 does he weigh?

A kitten’s weight in pounds roughly corresponds to his age in months, and he 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.

3)  Are her eyes open?

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

4)  Is he 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 a kitten who is walking pretty well and playing is at least 4 weeks of age.

Print out our free poster and keep it handy for accurate aging!

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