Cats are fascinating animals, even as newborn kittens. They are the most adorable, tiny, fuzzy creatures, but they're also especially vulnerable in this stage of their lives.
Here are six kitten facts that every cat lover should know about newborn kittens.
1- Can't go potty alone!
Kittens below four weeks old can't go pee or potty by themselves. They must be stimulated by their mother. She does that by licking her babies' genitals after each meal.
If you're caring for a kitten under four weeks old, you will have to do the mom's job so that the kitten can pee and poop. This is done by rubbing a soft tissue over their genitals in a circular motion until they finish their business.
Gradually, kittens will start to relieve themselves on their own, so three to four weeks is the perfect age to introduce a litter box.
2- They're blind and deaf
Kittens are born with their eyes shut and their ears folded in. They can't hear or see anything.
Kittens usually open their eyes around ten days after birth, even then, their vision is still poor, nowhere near an adult cat's sight. It isn't until about ten weeks that their sight is fully developed.
Their ears, on the other hand, will start to unfold around one week after birth when they begin to hear sounds around them.
3- Can't regulate their body temperature
Newborn kittens don't have the ability to regulate their body temperature. Which is why Hypothermia is one of the main causes of newborn kitten mortality.
Keeping the kittens with their mother is always the best thing. But if you care for orphaned newborn kittens, you should provide them with a heat source. A heating pad or simply a sock filled with warm rice will do. Even when they can't see or hear, kittens will instinctively crawl towards the heat!
4- Non retractable claws
Cats are known for their retractable claws. While kittens are born with claws, you'll notice that they're always out. Kitten claws don't become retractable until about four weeks of age.
5- Baby Teeth
Kittens, like humans, are born with no teeth. They start growing two weeks after birth.
These are baby teeth that will only last until eleven weeks of age, when they start falling out to make room for the kitten's adult teeth.
At six months of age, kittens should have all 30 of their adult teeth.
6- Always blue eyed
All kittens are born with blue eyes. The color will either stay or change as they grow. At seven weeks or so, their true eye color will start developing. The most common eye color for cats is greenish gold.