Determining the age of kittens
If you find young kittens, it is important to figure out how old they are so that you know how to handle their immediate needs. Below are some key things to look for but please remember that just like human babies, individual kittens develop at different rates so take into account these are general timelines.
At birth kittens are virtually helpless. Their eyes are sealed shut, their ear canals are closed (ears folded over), and their motor skills are very limited. They will still have the umbilical cord attached (usually falls off between 3-5 days). If the kitten still has it's cord then they are generally less than 5 days old.
3-7 days old
Kittens at this age will probably still have their umbilical cord and their eyes will not be open. Kittens separated from their mother at this age have a very low chance of survival - even with the best human intervention. Finding mom gives them their best chance!
7-10 days old
By now most kittens will have lost their umbilical cords. On some, their eyes will begin to start opening. You will see partial openings. Please do not try to force the rest open, let it happen naturally. They will start to hear muffled sounds. They will purr when content, squeak when hungry or hiss if feeling threatened.
10-14 days old
As a rule of thumb, eyes are opened between 10-14 days, however, there are exceptions where they may open their eyes earlier. They do not really get around on their own but may start to move by wiggling. They may start to put weight on their legs to try standing.
2-3 weeks old
Their wiggling will start to look more like walking and they will slowly be able to get around. They are not yet running or playing. They do not have teeth until the 2 1/2-3 week mark when their incisors (front teeth) start to come in.
3-4 weeks old
By 3-4 weeks they are usually getting around quite well but still quite clumsy. Even at this age, they will be very easy to catch unless they dive into a small space. They can be introduced to wet food but many will not be interested. At 3 weeks they get their canine teeth and by 4 weeks they will have their back molars.
4-6 weeks old
By this age kittens are playing and washing themselves. They bounce around and attack imaginary prey. By now they should be eating wet food. This is when they usually reach 1 lb.
6-8 weeks old
If you can't catch the kitten easily, it is probably 6-8 weeks or older. They should be eating wet and dry food by now. Their eyes will start to turn from the blue color they have had since they were born. Usually by 8 weeks they do not have blue eyes (unless they are Siamese!).
8-10 weeks old
10-12 weeks old