How to Tell the Age of Kittens

In order to be in a position to best help a found kitten, it is helpful to determine the kitten’s age.


Birth to 2 weeks 

Between the ages of one to two weeks, kittens start hearing sounds and are able to orient toward those sounds.  Their eyes are starting to develop and are usually open by two weeks of age.  They are very delicate at this age and should stay with their mother if at all possible. 

1 week old kitten

3 – 4 weeks

By the time kittens are three weeks old, their sense of smell is almost fully developed and they can see well enough to locate their mother.  At 3-1/2 weeks their ears stand up.  By the fourth week, their sense of hearing is fully developed and you will notice some interaction with their littermates.  Their teeth are beginning to erupt and they are learning to walk at 3 weeks and can walk well at 4 weeks.   Kittens born in the outside should not be taken from their mother before they are 4 weeks old.   If taken away from mom at 4 weeks old, they will need bottle-feeding for at least another week.

4 week old kitten


5- 7 weeks

Sight is fully developed by 5 weeks.    They are steady on their feet, beginning to play, avoid obstacles, run and pounce on “prey.”  They will begin to groom themselves and each other.  If you see kitten running around the yard they are at least 5-6 week sold.    Five week old kittens can be introduced to canned kitten food.   By six weeks old they can often eat dry cat food mixed with canned food. Five-Six weeks of age is the best age to socialize a homeless kitten.   Seven week old kittens are usually fully weaned and but will occasionally suckle on their mother.  They, too, can be socialized to be good pets but this takes a little extra effort.    

6 week old kitten


8-12 weeks

These kittens are very well developed they are very active and rarely, if ever, nurse.   They will play with toys, chase their tails and leap and pounce.   Kittens found at the age of 8 – 9 weeks who have had no contact with humans whatsoever can sometimes be socialized to become pets although some may always be shy cats around strangers.     Kittens 10-12 weeks who have had some contact with humans are sometimes able to become pets if proper socialization is given.  These will likely be social toward their owners and shy of others. 

8 week old kitten