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Are You Kitten Me? It’s National Kitten Day!

July 1, 2023

Here’s an interesting note about our feline friends: we call the babies of smaller, domestic cats kittens, but when larger cats have offspring, we refer to them as cubs. Of course, no matter what you call them, baby felines are absolutely adorable! In honor of National Kitten Day, which is coming up July 10th, a Sandstone, MN vet goes over some basic kitten info.

Helpless As A Kitten

Little Fluffy is born blind and deaf, and she’ll stay that way for at least a week. Kittens’ eyes and ear canals both usually open 7- 10 days after birth. At this early stage, little Fluffy will mostly be interested in eating and sleeping. Kittens at this age are extremely vulnerable. They can’t regulate their temperatures, so heat or cold can easily kill them. Even flea infestations can prove deadly. At this point, Mama Kitty’s colostrum is crucial for both nutrition and building immunity.

Getting Started

After about two weeks, little Fluffy will figure out how to stand up. It may take her another week or so to get the hang of walking. Her first order of duty? Completely captivate any and all humans around. Kittens are known for not only scampering and pouncing on, well, everything, but also for being so darned adorable that you can’t help but melt. Socialization should start at this stage, though much early socialization comes via littermates, rather than human companions.


Mama cats usually wean their kittens at about 8 or 9 weeks. However, you really shouldn’t take little Fluffy away from her mama the day she is weaned. Giving her another week or so can help tremendously with socialization. This is when your furry friend will really learn how to behave with other cats.

Coming Home

Nine weeks is generally considered the minimum age for little Fluffy to go live with her humans. Before bringing your little bundle of fur home, you’ll need to do some careful petproofing. Remove or secure potential hazards, such as toxic plants, plastic bags, wires and cords, and small or sharp items. You’ll also want to have the basic necessities, such as food, litter, toys, and beds ready. Don’t forget to take lots of pictures. That adorable stage will be over before you know it!

Our Advice on National Kitten Day in 2024

At what age do kittens usually start walking?

Kittens typically begin to stand and explore the basics of walking around the age of two to three weeks. This developmental milestone is crucial for their growth and socialization. Initially, their movements may be unsteady, but with time, they gain the coordination and strength needed to walk more confidently. This period also marks the beginning of their curiosity and playful nature, as they start interacting with their surroundings, littermates, and any humans in their environment.

When do mother cats typically wean their kittens?

Mother cats typically start the weaning process for their kittens at about 8 to 9 weeks of age. This period is crucial for the kittens’ development, as it transitions them from mother’s milk to solid food. While the weaning process begins around this time, it’s beneficial to allow kittens to stay with their mother for an additional week or so. This extra time contributes significantly to their socialization, teaching them important behaviors and interactions with other cats, laying the foundation for their future social skills.

How often do newborn kittens need to eat?

Newborn kittens need to eat approximately every 2-3 hours, including overnight, to support their rapid growth and development. At this stage, they rely entirely on their mother’s milk or a suitable kitten milk replacement if the mother is unavailable. Regular feeding is crucial for maintaining their energy levels and ensuring proper growth. This intensive feeding schedule continues until they are around four weeks old, at which point they gradually begin transitioning to solid food, introduced alongside milk as they start the weaning process.

What is the best type of food to feed a kitten?

The best food for a kitten is a high-quality, nutrient-rich kitten formula specifically designed to support their rapid growth and development. These formulas are richer in protein, calories, and essential fatty acids, like DHA, which are crucial for brain development, compared to adult cat food. Wet food is often recommended for hydration and ease of eating, but dry kibble is also beneficial for dental health. Feeding a combination can offer the benefits of both. Always ensure the food is labeled “complete and balanced” for kittens.

When should a kitten receive its first vaccinations?

Kittens should receive their first vaccinations at around 6 to 8 weeks of age. This initial set typically includes vaccines for core diseases such as feline panleukopenia (distemper), feline herpesvirus, and feline calicivirus. A rabies vaccination is usually administered when the kitten is around 12 to 16 weeks old. Following the initial vaccinations, booster shots are necessary to maintain immunity. We encourage scheduling an appointment at our clinic in Askov, MN, to discuss a comprehensive vaccination schedule tailored to protect your kitten’s health as they grow.

Do you have questions about kitten care? Contact us, your local Sandstone, MN pet clinic, today!