Sights, sounds and smells, the first few weeks of the kitten’s lives are full of new exciting things! At six weeks they are confident enough in their little happy walking and pouncing and have become extremely curious and playful, making it an excellent time to start learning. They are almost ready to leave their mother at 13 weeks. But that doesn’t mean the growing, changing, and learning stops. Here are five development and changes the kittens will go through from six weeks.
1. Physical Development
The kitten’s eyes started opening at 2 weeks, but at six weeks of age, their eyes will still be blue. Hearing and vision are fully developed, and over the next couple of weeks, the eye colour will slowly change to the final British Shorthair amber eye colour signature. Throughout the next couple of weeks, all of their little baby teeth should break through the gums and their mother may be reluctant to feed as much because of this. At 12 weeks their baby teeth will start to fall out. The kittens will also be able to self-regulate their body temperature removing the need for any extra source of heat.
2. Behavior Development
At six weeks of age, the kittens are very active and social. They will not ‘have the time to sleep‘ quite as much as they did as tiny newborns, although regular naps are always a feature in their ‘busy’ daily schedule. The kittens absolutely love playing with their siblings, exploring their surroundings and perfecting their grooming skills. From this stage, their personality will also start to slowly develop. This time is important for the development of their social skills as they begin to learn right from wrong through playing and discipline from their mother and siblings. Playing and cuddling with their human, introducing them to other people and pets, letting them explore their surroundings (under close supervision) are all things that the kittens get exposed to during this mega-cute time.
Litter box training will come naturally to the kittens as they see their mother and siblings using the litter box. They will need a shallow litter tray, or a self-cleaning solution if feeling adventurous. Covering their waste after ‘going to the loo’ is something they will do instinctively. Teaching the kittens their name can be done from this stage through repetition and reward. Verbal praise, petting, toys and treats are forms of rewards that kittens will respond to.
4. Health Development
In three weeks time, at about nine weeks of age, the kittens will go for a check-up with a vet and receive their first FVRCP vaccine. The FVRCP vaccine contains three different vaccinations in one. FVRCP stands for feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia. These are major diseases that cats of any age can contract. This vaccine will need to be repeated or supplemented with a booster vaccine at 12 weeks of age. Worm and flea treatments will also be given at this appointment.
5. Nutritional Development
Six-week-old kittens should be in the weaning process to transition away from nursing. It will usually start with wet food, then the kittens will advance to dry kitten food. They love their food and there is no need to limit the amount of food the kittens consume at this age. Let the banquette start. By eight weeks of age, kittens should be fully weaned from their mother. Poppy, Petal and Bluebell will be able to have more ‘me time’ at this stage.