They make us smile and laugh. They make us say, “Awww!” But these babies have distinct needs and attributes. We'll guide you through 22 of them.
They’re fragile. Newborn
kittens are completely help-
less and totally dependent on their
mothers for nourishment, warmth,
and elimination. If they’re orphaned,
they need 24/7 care from a kind
human. (If you find an orphaned kit-
ten less than 5 weeks old, feed a kit-
ten milk replacement formula.) They
need to stay warm and eat every
couple of hours around the clock.
They even need help pottying.
From birth to about 5 weeks old,
kittens rely on their mothers to
stimulate their genitalia so they can
urinate and defecate. A foster parent
can help with that by taking a warm,
wet cotton ball and gently rubbing
the kitten’s genitalia. Without this
help, they could die.
During kittens’ first 12
weeks, they learn who's safe and
trustworthy, what's good to eat, and
where the bathroom is. To become
socialized and friendly toward people, this is the time for loving human
hands to hold them, pet them, feed
them, and, once they start playing,
have fun with them.
family. For about the
first 12 weeks, kittens
also become social-
ized toward other cats.
They learn appropriate
respect toward adult
cats from their mothers
and how to get along
with their peers from their
littermates. They learn
things like where they stand
in a hierarchy, to respect
other cats’ territory, and
how to fight fair.
They're born with blue
eyes. Their eyes open with a
bluish hue at about 2 weeks of age,
and some breeds — like Siamese,
Tonkinese, and Ragdoll — keep their
blue eye color. You might see a
range of colors during a kitten’s first
year before her eyes change into
their permanent color.
Their sense of smell is
far superior to ours. Cats
are equipped with an extra organ
involved in their sense of smell.
Located at the roof of their
mouths, the vomeronasal organ
enables cats to heighten
the power of their
sense of smell. By
4 weeks of age,
this organ is
Kittens rely on