Kitten Progression: Early Stage Age Chart, Milestones, and More

Written by Heather Hall
Updated: August 28, 2023
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Key Points

  • Newborn kittens are fragile and rely completely on their mother for survival, unable to stand or regulate their own body temperature.
  • In the first week, kittens weigh 3-5 ounces, sleep 90% of the time, and can purr and cry.
  • By week 4, kittens weigh around 15 ounces, are more sturdy at walking, and start to play and explore their world.
  • At week 8, kittens weigh around two pounds, some are fully or partially weaned, and it is safe to spay or neuter them.

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on kitten progression! In this article, we will take you through the early stages of a kitten’s life, providing an age chart, highlighting important milestones, and sharing valuable insights. Whether you’re a new cat parent or simply curious about how these adorable furballs develop, we’ve got you covered. So let’s dive into the fascinating world of kittens and discover their incredible journey from birth to those playful paws that melt our hearts.

Kitten ProgressionMilestones
NewbornKittens are blind and deaf and completely reliant on their mother for food and waste elimination.
Week 1Kittens weigh 3-5 ounces. They can purr and cry. They sleep 90 percent of the time.
Week 2Kittens ears will uncurl, and they will begin to crawl. They huddle together for warmth.
Week 3Kittens’ ears will uncurl, and they will begin to crawl. They huddle together for warmth.
Week 4The kittens weigh around 15 ounces now. They are more sturdy at walking and start to play. They are becoming interested in exploring their world and interacting.
Week 5Their eyesight is fully developed, and they are playing vigorously. Human handling and socializing the kittens is important now.
Week 6They are learning crucial cat skills, such as grooming, from their mothers and still nursing. They have learned to use their tails for balance and how to stalk and pounce.
Week 7Kittens are still nursing, but less often. They are extremely curious now. Their mother will teach them how to scratch and about different objects, pets, and people in the environment.
Week 8The kittens will weigh around two pounds now. Some will be fully or partially weaned by their mother, some not. Do not adopt out, either way. They need more lessons from their mother, such as paw coordination. It is safe to spay or neuter now.
Week 9Adult cat body language is setting in. They may seek out more human comfort, cuddling, and attention now. Their adult eye and coat color are apparent. Weight gain slows.
Week 10This is a good week to spay or neuter kittens. Some kittens will be eating almost entirely solid food by now.
Week 11This week is all about social skills and learning how to behave from their mother. They will learn how to ambush, paw objects, and how to greet other animals safely.
Week 12Kittens learn about dominance and submission from their mothers this week and all about the hierarchy in the environment. They are fully weaned and trained in the art of being a cat after Day 84 and can be adopted into their forever homes.


Newborn Bengal kittens. Bengal cat progression.
Newborn kittens only weigh 3-5 ounces. That’s about as much as an apple!

When newborn kittens enter the world, they are undeniably fragile and reliant on their mother for survival. In this initial stage of life, their closed eyes and folded ears highlight their vulnerability. These tiny creatures cannot yet stand or regulate their own body temperature, making them entirely dependent on their mother’s nurturing care. Even basic tasks like feeding must be facilitated by the watchful eye of their momma. Newborn kittens embody pure innocence as they navigate through this delicate phase, cherishing the warmth and sustenance provided by their doting mother until they gain the strength to embark on further stages of growth and development.

Week One Progression


Kittens are unsteady on their feet for the first week or two of life.


In the early stages of their lives, newborn kittens are incredibly vulnerable and rely completely on their mother or caretaker for survival. At this point, they are so tiny that they can fit in the palm of your hand and typically weigh between 3-5 ounces. An example, they require constant attention to ensure their protection, warmth, and nutrition.

Despite their fragility, even at such a young age, these kittens possess some remarkable abilities. They have the incredible capacity to purr as well as emit distress calls when in need. However, due to their underdeveloped senses, they spend around 90 percent of their time sleeping while dedicating the remaining 10 percent to feeding.

Day 1:

Within just one day after birth, these adorable creatures still cannot stand on their own. Their eyes remain tightly shut while their ears stay folded. As a result of these limitations, round-the-clock care becomes necessary, along with bottle feeding every two hours.

Day 3:

By three days old, significant progress starts taking place in terms of sensory development. The once-folded ears begin unfolding slowly while sight remains elusive, with closed eyes still dominating the visual aspect. Nevertheless, there is gradual growth occurring in terms of smell perception, hearing ability, and taste recognition.

Day 6:

At six days old, kittens reach a milestone. Wiggling around on their own becomes possible albeit limited, and another thrilling development occurs — their eyes gradually start opening! This newfound sense gives them a glimpse into the world surrounding them, which was previously concealed.

Day 7:

At the age of one week, kittens are starting to recognize their environment. Their eyes are mostly open, though they are still unable to see clearly. They have gained weight since they were born and weigh approximately eight ounces. Around the seventh day, their ears will become unpinned.

Week Two Progression

cat with kittens

During week two of kittenhood, cats open their eyes and ears.

©Esin Deniz/

As the second week of kitten progression unfolds, these tiny creatures continue to experience remarkable growth and development. With each passing day, their physical abilities become more evident. By the end of this week, a significant change occurs as their ears start to uncurl, revealing their adorable shape in all its glory. Furthermore, they embark on an exciting new adventure – crawling! Although still dependent entirely on their caregiver for nourishment and waste elimination at this stage, whether it be their mother or you.

Day 8:

On day 8 of this enchanting journey, the kittens find solace in snuggling together for warmth and comfort. Their bond with one another strengthens during this time as they rarely venture far from their nurturing mother or the cozy nest that has become their sanctuary.

Day 9:

At just nine days old, a captivating sight awaits anyone who gazes into these delicate beings’ eyes – a mesmerizing shade of blue is revealed. This entrancing hue remains for the first couple of weeks before gradually transforming into their true eye color over time. Patience is key when trying to determine what shades will ultimately grace these felines’ beautiful gaze; it may take up to two months before clarity is achieved.

Day 12:

By day 12 arrives, marked progress can be observed in these resilient little explorers. Though still wobbly on their feet while navigating newfound territory away from mom’s side, they are growing increasingly comfortable venturing outwards. The world beyond beckons them with curiosity and fascination.

Day 14:

By the fourteenth day, the progress of these kittens has advanced. They are more aware of their environment, and they have started to interact with one another, although they still rely on their mother. Their sense of smell has been increasing, and they will make hissing noises at unfamiliar odors or sounds, though the noises they make may not sound as threatening as they expect. The kittens are also kneading, but their claws are still unable to retract.

Week Three Progression

Two three weeks old different colored kittens on a woolen blanket. Pet adoption, animal care.

Week three is a big milestone for new kittens.

©Olga Rolenko/

By the third week, you can easily determine the gender of the kittens as their physical characteristics become more apparent. As their teeth begin to emerge, they gain a newfound confidence in their walking abilities. It is now suitable to introduce a litter box and wet food into their daily routine.

Day 15:

As the end of this crucial week approaches, these adorable little furballs start engaging in playful interactions with their siblings, displaying increased mobility compared to earlier stages. Despite these exciting developments, it’s important to note that even at 15 days old, sleep still occupies a significant portion of their day.

Day 16:

Around 16 days old, the kittens embark on an exciting journey of discovery as they gradually explore and hone their fine motor skills through playtime. This stage serves as an essential foundation for future physical development.

Day 20:

Once the kittens reach 20 days old, they exhibit yet another milestone by starting to eliminate waste independently without relying on assistance from their mother or caretaker. To facilitate this transition effectively, it becomes necessary to initiate litter box training during this period.

For those who are bottle-feeding these precious bundles of joy, you may observe that they consume larger quantities per feeding but require fewer feedings overall – typically around four to five times daily. With solid food introduction becoming appropriate at this age range, consider initially incorporating wet food mixed with kitten formula into their diet.

Week Four Progression

funny 4 week old maine coon kitten sticking out tiny tongue

After week four of age, kittens really start to develop unique and individual personalities.

©Nils Jacobi/

At four weeks old, kittens have reached a significant milestone in their development. They are now sure on their feet and actively engaging with the world around them. Their playful nature becomes evident as they frolic with each other, toys, and even people. It is truly delightful to witness these tiny creatures resembling adorable, fluffy replicas of their mother.

During this stage of kitten progression, there is a noticeable shift in their behavior. They begin showing interest in the outside environment and start interacting more with their littermates. Additionally, they embark on an exciting journey of exploring various objects and forming connections with both humans and toys. This signifies that it is high time to introduce them to socialization techniques.

Day 22:

By day 22, one can observe an impressive transformation taking place within these little beings. Their ears are fully extended now, standing upright proudly as a testament to their growing strength and stability. Furthermore, they effortlessly maintain balance while maneuvering through their surroundings – a clear indication of just how sturdy they have become!

Day 23:

The kittens’ fur begins filling out gradually. Keen eyes may even discern whether each individual will develop short, medium, or long fur later in life. It becomes apparent that playing holds immense value for these young ones beyond mere entertainment purposes. Engaging in play serves as a crucial tool for socializing.

Week Five Progression

Mother torbie tortie tabby cat nursing five one week old kittens in a small pet bed with light green blanket

Kittens are still nursing from their mother for the majority of their nutrition at 5 weeks old.

©Sheila Fitzgerald/

Welcome to week five of the kitten progression! It’s an exciting time as these adorable furballs are bursting with energy and playfulness. Their personalities are really starting to shine through, making every day even more delightful.

At this stage of kitten progression, their sight is fully developed, allowing them to engage in vigorous and exhaustive play. You’ll find them running around with boundless enthusiasm, exploring every nook and cranny until they simply collapse from exhaustion right where they are. It’s a heartwarming sight to see these little bundles of joy finally succumb to sleep after such lively adventures.

Day 30:

While the kittens are still experimenting with solid food, they continue to nurse from their mother or receive bottle feeding a few times a day. This combination ensures that they receive all the essential nutrients for their growing bodies while also gradually transitioning towards independent eating.

Day 31:

Interacting with people becomes increasingly important during this period of feline development. As early socialization plays a crucial role in shaping their behavior later on, it’s vital for them to spend quality time engaging with humans. Day 31 marks an important milestone as exuberant play not only tires out our energetic kittens but also helps strengthen bonds between littermates and fosters confidence when interacting with people.

Day 33:

By day 33, these little ones have already been handled by caring individuals multiple times in order to encourage healthy social development. Showering them with love and engaging in playful activities establishes positive associations between humans and enjoyable experiences.

Week Six Progression

Beautiful, curious and very funny 6 week old kitten

Kittens learn how to use their tails for balancing at 6 weeks old.

©Narko Polo/

During this stage of kitten progression, it is evident that their confidence and independence are growing through socialization and play. Not only have they mastered the art of using the litter box, but they are also starting to consume cat food alongside occasional visits to their mother for snacks and comfort. As the kittens continue to develop, it becomes increasingly crucial to focus on their socialization. This particular age marks a significant milestone as caretakers begin teaching them how to play appropriately, emphasizing that human hands should not be used for biting or scratching.

Day 37:

At 37 days old, these kittens have become remarkably steady on their feet. They have discovered a newfound sense of stability by employing their tails as a balancing mechanism. It’s fascinating to observe how quickly these tiny creatures adapt and grow in such a short span of time.

Day 40:

By day 40, instinctual behaviors ingrained in all cats start manifesting in these curious little beings. Stalking, hiding, pouncing, and digging activities now dominate their daily routines—whether they end up being indoor or outdoor cats later in life.

Day 41:

On day 41, an exciting development occurs: the kittens have become proficient at grooming themselves—a skill learned from birth under the guidance of their mother cat. In addition to self-grooming practices, they also engage in mutual grooming with each other. These bonding moments between siblings serve as a testament to the strong familial ties within a litter.

Week Seven Progression

A cute white little Snow Bengal kitten outdoors surrounded by purple flowers, oregano herb. The curious little cat is 7 weeks old. The cat is centered with room for text.

Kittens learn very important behaviors from their mothers and littermates at 7 weeks old.

©Angela Kotsell/

During their seventh week, kittens are reaching a crucial stage in their development. Socialization plays a vital role during this period as they are introduced to various aspects of their environment. They are exploring different parts of the house, encountering new objects, and interacting with other pets and people. These experiences serve to familiarize them with novel situations and help them adapt easily in the future.

47 days:

As part of their socialization process, you should introduce kittens to scratching posts at 47 days old. This not only allows them to exercise their natural instinct for scratching but also aids in teaching them appropriate behavior when it comes to using designated surfaces for sharpening their claws. Additionally, they have had their claws trimmed for the first time, which is an important step towards ensuring they can comfortably interact with humans without accidentally causing harm.

Day 49:

By 49 days old, these little darlings are almost fully weaned from their mother’s milk and are maturing rapidly. Their independence is starting to shine through as they confidently navigate through daily activities on their own. Although still seeking comfort from mom occasionally, these self-sufficient kittens are well on their way to becoming capable individuals who will soon be ready for adoption into loving homes.

Week Eight Progression

8 week old outside kittens eat their meals and clean themselves afterwards in an urban environment

Once a kitten has reached the 8-week mark, their mother teaches them how to groom themselves.

©Grindstone Media Group/

At around eight weeks old, kittens reach an important stage in their development. Not only do they weigh approximately two pounds, but they also become more skilled and eager to explore their surroundings. During this period, the mother cat plays a crucial role in imparting essential feline behaviors and teachings to her offspring. Therefore, it is highly recommended not to separate them too early from their mother and littermates.

Day 54:

By day 54 of this progression, the kittens’ eye-paw coordination reaches its peak alongside heightened playfulness. As a result, these tiny adventurers start attempting more daring and intricate feats within their environment. It becomes paramount for caretakers to maintain vigilant supervision during this time while ensuring that the designated play area remains secure for these budding daredevils.

Day 56:

Fast forward to day 56 when these remarkable little creatures turn two months old. By then, they typically weigh around two pounds. At this age milestone, veterinarians often advise considering spaying or neutering procedures for the kittens as part of responsible pet ownership practices.

Week Nine Progression

British shorthair kitten nine weeks old

As a kitten reaches nine weeks old, they start to look more like mini versions of their parents.

©Josje Toby/

At the ninth week of kitten progression, these adorable little felines are truly starting to resemble adult cats. Their body language has transitioned into that of mature cats, and they have gained a remarkable level of independence. Notably, their eyes, which were once mesmerizing blue hue, now exhibit their permanent adult color. This change in eye color serves as a visual reminder that these kittens are rapidly growing up.

Alongside their physical development, the kittens’ behavior also reflects their advancing age. Seeking human interaction becomes an important aspect of their day-to-day lives as they actively seek out cuddles and attention from their caretakers. These social interactions provide them with comfort and reassurance during this crucial stage of development.

Day 57:

By day 57, the transformation into adulthood becomes strikingly evident as the kittens proudly display their final coat pattern and eye coloration. At this point in their journey toward maturity, it is fascinating to witness how each individual’s unique features begin to emerge.

Day 60:

As the days progress toward day 60, one can observe a gradual deceleration in the growth rate among these young felines. While they continue to refine muscle tone and enhance stealth abilities through playfulness and exploration, gone are the days when they would double in weight within mere days or weeks.

Day 62:

By day 62, a semblance of routine emerges for these furry creatures. As sleeping patterns become more regularized alongside consistent meal times throughout the day, one can see how structure begins to shape their daily lives. Their diet primarily consists of solid food.

Week Ten Progression

Handsome silver tabby 10 week old Maine Coon cat kitten, laying down side ways. Looking at camera with greenish eyes. Isolated on black background.

Some kittens are weaned at ten weeks old but should still remain with their mothers for important lessons.

©Nynke van Holten/

At around ten weeks old, it is common for mother cats to have completed the weaning process with their kittens. However, every feline parent has their own unique approach, and some may still allow their little ones to nurse occasionally for a couple more weeks. It’s truly astonishing how quickly these adorable furballs grow up before our eyes!

Day 70:

For those fortunate kittens who have successfully transitioned to a diet of solid food and have been solely relying on it for an entire week, they are now ready to embark on the next chapter of their lives – finding forever homes through adoption. This milestone signifies that they have developed the necessary skills and independence to thrive without nursing from their mother.

Week Eleven Progression

A cute bicolor ragdoll kitten relaxing on a blue background. The eleven weeks old cat is brown and white and it has blue eyes.

Socialization is very important as a kitten reaches 11 weeks old.

©Angela Kotsell/

During the eleventh week of a kitten’s life, their social and object play becomes more prominent, contributing to the development of their physical coordination and social skills. As they continue to learn about the world around them, kittens primarily rely on observation, with their mother serving as an essential role model.

Day 72:

Social play encompasses various behaviors that foster interaction among littermates or other cats. This includes adorable belly-ups, where kittens lie on their backs invitingly; gentle hugging moments that strengthen bonds; sneaky ambushing attempts when one kitten surprises another; and affectionate licking sessions that provide comfort and grooming.

Day 74:

Object play involves engaging with toys or other objects found in their environment. Kittens begin to exhibit a range of playful behaviors during this stage, such as scooping at objects with their paws, tossing small items into the air for entertainment, pawing at interesting items within reach, mouthing different textures to explore them further, and even holding onto toys tightly while investigating.

Day 77:

The combination of social and object play introduces even more exciting activities for these developing felines. For instance, they might engage in tail-chasing games where they try to catch up with their own tails in playful pursuit. Additionally, pouncing exercises become common as kittens practice leaping onto unsuspecting targets or siblings nearby. Their newfound agility allows them to showcase impressive leaps and bounds resembling mini-dances.

Week Twelve Progression

Nine week old grey tabby and twelve week old ginger kittens playing in the garden, UK.

Social hierarchy and how to greet other animals are learned from their mother at week twelve.

©Caron Badkin/

At the twelve-week mark, kittens are entering a crucial stage of their development. Their social interactions expand beyond their littermates to include companions from different species. This widening circle of playmates introduces them to new dynamics and helps shape their understanding of hierarchy within the household.

Day 80:

During this period, kittens begin to observe and utilize ranking systems, distinguishing between dominant and submissive roles not only among themselves but also when interacting with humans. They start grasping the concept of authority and learn how to navigate these power dynamics in their daily lives.

Day 84:

Understanding and adapting to hierarchical structures is an essential skill for feline socialization as it allows kittens to establish harmonious relationships both within their own species and with other members of the household. By recognizing rank, they can adjust their behavior accordingly, respecting boundaries while seeking guidance from those in higher positions.

This emerging awareness of dominance-submission dynamics contributes significantly to a kitten’s overall growth and maturity. It lays down the foundation for developing healthy relationships throughout its life by promoting cooperation, communication, and empathy.

The photo featured at the top of this post is ©

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About the Author

Heather Hall is a writer at A-Z Animals, where her primary focus is on plants and animals. Heather has been writing and editing since 2012 and holds a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture. As a resident of the Pacific Northwest, Heather enjoys hiking, gardening, and trail running through the mountains with her dogs.

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