When Do Kittens Open Their Eyes?

pet owner contemplates on when do kittens open their eyes

Kittens (and puppies) are undoubtedly one of nature’s great gifts to humankind. When these small furry and adorable creatures first emerge, their eyes are sealed shut. Which begs the question: When oh when do kittens open their eyes?

For cat mums and dads – or parents to be – this is a key question. One of the most wondrous things cats do is stare into our eyes and blink slowly. It’s a key part of cat body language. Of course, that’s one of the reasons we want to know when they open their eyes!

Find out how soon a kitten’s eyes open. Like the wings of a butterfly parting for the first time.

Newborn kittenseyes are closed

When kittens are born they sort of resemble a butterfly emerging from its cocoon. Their soft little ears, for example, are folded in while their eyes are sealed shut.

At this vulnerable stage they’re blind and deaf and can’t pee or poop without some help from mum. (Quite a thought given how independent they can become later on).

They weigh in at just around 100 grams and are still attached to their umbilical cord. After roughly three days or so the umbilical cord falls off. Their eyes on the other hand take a little longer to open…

kittens don't open their eyes when they're first born

One week old

At one week kittens still aren’t quite ready to open their eyes. Not just yet anyway. Seven days in they still have more important things to occupy themselves. Like sleeping, which they spend a whopping 90% of the day doing.

During brief waking moments they’ll take the chance to get a meal from mum. Mummy cat’s milk is packed with powerful nutrients and vitamins. It also provides them with natural antibodies that safeguard against illness. These antibodies don’t last though and at some point your kitten and cat health checklist needs to step in to take over.

Although kitten’s eyes and ears haven’t yet opened, they can still communicate. They do this mostly through purring and feeling mummy cat purr. Find out the magical wonders of a cat’s purr to help bone and muscle growth and rejuvenation in our article on sleeping with your cat.

All in all, at one week old, life is good. The future adventures that lie in wait (like training your cat to walk on a leash) are still part of the great unknown.

So when exactly do kittens open their eyes?

When do kittens open their eyes? At around two weeks of age.

Two weeks old

Our fabulous felines may begin to open their eyes anytime from 10 days onwards. By 14 days the whole litter of kittens will likely have opened their eyes. For the first time they’ll see each other, their mum cat and you.

This hardly means they’ll be looking around. Rather their focus still lies squarely on finding milk as fast as possible. But they can see and their eyes are starting to adjust to taking in the sights. And for that matter the sounds too. At two weeks of age kittens open their eyes and also unfurl their little pointy tufts of ears.

They can now see and hear. And this soon means baby steps as they explore a whole new world.

this kitten has recently opened it's eyes

When do kittens’ eyes change colour?

Like human babies, kittens will all have blue or blue-grey eyes to begin. As they grow and begin producing melanin, they will eventually reach their permanent eye colour between three and eight weeks old.

Melanin is amazing, and also affects the fur colour (ditto with human skin pigment). Read how Siamese cats’ melanin reacts to temperature in our article about black Siamese cats.

Three weeks

Besides its true eye colour beginning to show, three weeks also marks another kitten milestone: teeth. At three weeks kittens’ canines will begin poking through. Your furry baby is slowly gaining a sense of independence and may take its first few wobbly steps beyond the comfort of mum’s nest.

Did you know that, just like us, kittens go through a teething phase and have two sets of teeth? Read all about when they come through and how to keep cat teeth sparkly white.

Four weeks

At four weeks a kitten can start to be weaned off mum’s milk. This coincidentally is a time that marks not just what goes in, but also where it goes out. In short, you can now gradually teach your kitten to use the litterbox.

Most likely the weaning and initial training will be done by a cat breeder. Or the owner of the cat mum. You on the other hand will enter your new cat’s life when they’re roughly 12 weeks old (some say eight). This means kittens will have opened their eyes by the time they meet you and they’ll be able to bond by sight and smell.

If purebred cats are on your radar be sure to buy from an ethical breeder. Here’s our piece on finding an ethical dog breeder, which process-wise applies to cats too. Or maybe you’re ready to adopt a cat – in which case shelters often have kittens in need of their furever home.

Find out what new kitten parents need to know then watch this cute kitten video for inspo:

Five weeks

At five weeks old, long after kittens open their eyes, their canines are starting to properly grow out. As these fangs take form your kitty can start eating solid food.

Feeding your feline well means the right foods at the right times in life to meet their health needs. This can be quite an art – which happily is something everyone can do with knowledge. Find out how by reading our article on choosing between dry cat food or wet.

Wide-eyed and in need of cat insurance

Once kittens open their eyes, it’s as good a time as any to think of getting them cat insurance. In fact, the sooner you get pet insurance the better the cover you’ll get. That’s because pet plans don’t cover health issues that start before you get them.

This is why you should get cat insurance when your kitten is young and healthy. So if and when they get sick or injured, you won’t be alone footing the bills of vet hospital, medicine and more.

When you sign up with PD Insurance you get one or more months of free pet insurance. Click below to start now.

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