Bringing a kitten into your home is an important and exciting milestone – but it’s only the first of many as your pet grows into an adult cat. Read on to find out more about kitten development stages and the milestones to look out for.

Your kitten's development stages

Newborn (0-2 weeks)

A kitten at birth will weight around 100 grams. They are born deaf and blind and will mostly sleep and eat at this stage. Mother’s nurse their young until they are around 5 weeks of age.

A kitten’s eyes will start to open at around 10-14 days of age, and their sense of smell and hearing will improve. All kittens are born with blue eyes, but their true eye colour sets in around 12 weeks.

Toddler (2-4 weeks)

From when they are 2 weeks old onwards, your kitten should be wormed every 2 weeks until they are 12 weeks old. Your kitten may start to take their first steps and should also begin to purr!

As your kitten’s hearing develops, you might find that they’re more sensitive to sound. They will also be more active and move about. By 4 weeks, kittens should have a fully developed sense of smell, be more exploratory and want to socialise with their littermates.

Try our Cat Flea, Tick and Worm Treatment Finder

Try our Cat Flea, Tick and Worm Treatment Finder

Kitten (5-12 weeks)

At 5 weeks, your kitten will have fully developed sight, be more active and moving around, and be in the process of weaning. Introduce drinking water and some soft kitten food, as well as a litter box.

Once they are 8 weeks old, take your kitten for a checkup at your local Greencross Vets so you can discuss and commence their core vaccination program. This will consist of three vaccinations four weeks apart.

A 7 week old kitten should have developing sleeping patterns and be increasingly social and playful. Don’t be surprised if your kitten starts to pounce, using their eyes to catch ‘prey’.

When your kitten reaches 8 weeks, they should be eating mostly solids and regular small meals each day. If you want to find the best food for your kitten’s age, breed and lifestyle, use our Cat Food Finder.

Try our Cat Food Finder tool

Try our Cat Food Finder tool

Teenager (3-6 months)

If you’re adopting your feline friend, you can bring them home when they’re 8 weeks old! From now on, you may start to see your kitten challenge you at home, testing their “dominance” and “submissiveness” amongst all inhabitants of the household, human and pet. A kitten’s rank in the social order can be established by 6 months of age.

At 14-16 weeks, your kitten will have their third vaccination, and at this visit your vet will discuss with you and determine your kitten’s long-term vaccination program. The recommendation will be guided by your kitten’s lifestyle and environment.

Young Adult (6-12 months)

At 6 months old, your kitten has reached their adolescent stage. This is the ideal time for you to have a conversation with your vet around desexing and the health and behaviour benefits for your kitten. In addition, whether they’re kept indoors or outdoors, your kitten should be routinely wormed every 3 months from when they are 6 months old.

Generally, kittens are considered to be adult cats at 12 months old. However depending on their breed your kitten may not be fully grown until they’re 18 months old. Now that your kitten’s an adult, you should gradually transition them to adult cat food.

Remember that all cats should be taken in for regular vet checkups every 6 months to ensure that they are healthy and for the early detection and treatment of any diseases.