Determine the age of a kitten

Totally dependent on its mother at birth, the kitten acquires its autonomy in a few weeks. Its development is remarkably fast so that the kitten can leave its mother around 8 to 10 weeks of age. You may wonder how it is possible to determine the age of a kitten found, here are some tips...


The stages of kitten development

At birth, the kitten has a sufficiently developed sense of smell to find its mother. On the other hand, he is blind and deaf and will acquire these two senses almost at the same time.

Indeed, hearing appears around 5 days of age, but allows the kitten to orient itself in relation to sound only around 14 days of age - age at which its ears will unfold. He will be able to recognize his mother's voice at about 1 month of age.

The kitten opens its eyes between 7 and 15 days after birth.

The kitten has a great sense of balance, even if it is still a little clumsy. It has difficulty coordinating its movements before the age of 2 weeks. Walking on all fours starts around 2 1/2 weeks of age, and he becomes quite agile (to scratch his ear with a hind leg for example) around 3 weeks of age.

In summary: At the age of 1 month, he is able to orient himself according to sounds, lights and smells.

Grooming, elimination and feeding behaviors are partly innate, but also quickly taught by the mother to her kittens. From 15 days of age, the kitten is able to lick its front paw. From 3 weeks of age, he starts to relieve himself in the litter box. From 4 weeks of age, with the decrease of suckling and the appearance of the first milk teeth, the kitten starts to eat a solid food, imitating the behavior of his mother. This period of food transition starts around the 3rd to 4th week: it's the weaning.

The kitten also starts to play around 3 weeks of age with his siblings and his mother. He thus learns to inhibit his bites and scratches. Socialization towards humans and other congeners (dogs...) also starts around the 3rd week of age and is completed around the 3rd month of age.


The different criteria to determine the age of a kitten




Milk teeth appear between 2 and 6 weeks of age: incisors grow between 2 and 4 weeks, canines (also called fangs) around 3 to 4 weeks, and premolars around 4 to 6 weeks. There are no milk molars: all milk teeth are present between 2 and 4 months of age.

The permanent teeth begin to replace the milk teeth between 3.5 and 4 months of age and the adult permanent dentition is in place from 6 months of age. The kitten will therefore replace all his milk teeth between 4 and 6 months of age.

Teeth appear in the same order whether it's for the milk teeth or for the permanent adult teeth: incisors grow first, then come the canines, then the premolars, and finally the molars. These are the last ones to appear at the time of the adult dentition since there are no milk molars as in the child.

This is the most reliable and most used criterion to know the age of a kitten.



The weight is a criterion more difficult to use in the estimation of the age of the kitten. Indeed, it can be very variable according to the individuals.

To have a simplified idea, the kitten weighs at birth about 100 g (between 85 and 120 g), then its growth is about 100 g per week.

Schematically, we will then have the following weight curve: 250 to 300 g at 15 days, 500 g at 1 month, 700 to 750 g at 6 weeks and 900 g to 1 kg at 2 months.

According to his experience, only the veterinarian will be able to have an idea of the age of the kitten from the weight only, but he will also rely on the dentition to define more precisely the age of the kitten.



The acquisition of the kitten's autonomy takes place as he grows, in just a few weeks. Thus, the kitten will start to explore his environment and learn cleanliness from 4 weeks of age. Weaning then takes place from 3 to 4 weeks and continues until 7 to 8 weeks.

In summary: it is relatively easy to estimate the age of the kitten until 6 months of age mainly thanks to his dentition (which is the most precise criterion) and to the stages of his development. On the other hand, it is much more difficult to evaluate the age of a kitten between 6 months and 1 year, the growth of the kitten being finished around the age of one year.