Cat Behavior

Age after birthEvent – state of affairs etc.62
Birthkittens weigh 3% of adult body weight at 100 – 110 grams. Poor auditory systems & eyes closed. Need mother’s warmth as can’t regulate temperature.
Early daysKittens display “rooting reflex” – successfully searching for mother’s nipple. Kitten kneads to aid milk production. Kitten has preference for a certain nipple based on scent and texture which remains until weaned.
9 -14 daysIncrease in mobility
2 – 16 daysEyes open – when largely depends on genetics
Kitten hoodKitten goes limp when picked up by scruff of neck by mother. This is a reflex action. It allows mother to move kittens about.
First 2 weeksKittens nurse 4 hours daily.
2 weeksDeciduous teeth erupt. Mother starts to bring solid food to kittens
After week 2Kittens nurse 2 – 3 hours daily.
First 28 days (neonatal period)Contented kittens purr and emit high pitched call when needy – mother responds.
2 – 3 weeks oldChange occurs due to “maturation of sense organs”.
End of 3rd weekKittens recognise mother by sight.
26 – 32 days oldFree-living mothers bring kittens solid food (e.g. mice)
4th weekLocating direction of sound well developed. Kittens begin to run.
4.5 – 5th weekMother brings live prey to kittens. The beginning of the weaning process.
7 – 8 weeksKittens change play and show changes in “locomotor patterns”. At 7 weeks adult movement is achieved.
Weeks 2 – 7Important time to socialise the domestic cat. Early handling by human caretaker critical for socialisation as kittens are highly sensitive to olfactory cues and stimulation through touch. There are long term benefits for the kitten in early human handling. They develop into more confident cats with emotional stability and greater learning abilities63. Handling by humans should happen early on during this period (before 4th week) and last for 30 mins daily. Interaction between other other kittens also important.

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