Cats can give birth to kittens all year long, but fall is often called “kitten season” because the kittens from spring and summer are ready for their furever home as even more kittens are born in the fall.
In honor of the season, here are 10 facts about kittens.
- Kittens do not digest cow’s milk very well, so kittens that do not have access to their mother will need to be bottle-fed special kitten formula.
- Kittens can begin to eat kitten food beginning around 2-4 weeks of age, and weaning will begin around 3- 4 weeks of age.
- They will begin to open their eyes after 7-14 days. By two weeks of age, kittens will be alert and trying to stand, and by 3 weeks they should be trying to climb out of their box.
- Starting at 2 weeks of age, kittens should be dewormed every 2 weeks since they are usually born with parasites. At 6 weeks it is time for their first round of vaccinations.
- Kittens begin to develop personalities at a young age, so plenty of early handling will help them to be friendly, confident, social, and exploratory.
- Kittens LOVE to play! Play time is vital at this stage as kittens learn about the world. Playing helps them learn to hunt, as well as to communicate.
- Playtime is also a great way to bond with a kitten (if you have adopted a kitten, spending lots of time playing with your new friend will help him to connect with you!).
- Mother cats will usually train their kittens to use the litterbox, so if you’re adopting a kitten, chances are he already knows the drill and just needs to be shown the box. But they need one with low sides when they are very little or they won’t be able to climb in and out!
- Cats can have up to three litters of kittens per year, with 1 to 8 kittens per litter. Overpopulation is a serious problem because one female cat can have 100 kittens in her lifetime.
- Spaying or neutering cats isn’t just about overpopulation – it also prevents health problems, including certain types of cancer. It is a myth that these surgeries will change your cat’s personality.
Kitten season can be a lot of fun – who doesn’t love to play with kittens? But it’s also a reminder that there are more cats in the world than there are homes for them. You can help by adopting from shelters and having your pets spayed or neutered.
Enjoy your new friend!