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A kitten is a young cat. All cats become kittens when they are first born. After the kitten stage, cats become adults.

A Tabby kitten

Birth Process and Early Life

When Kittens are created in the womb the mother cat has a gestation period of approximately 64–67 days. When kittens are first born, their mother's milk is very important, as it gives them strength. Kittens can be weaned of milk. Ten days after birth, their eyes open for the first time.

Kittens are born as blind, deaf and helpless creatures. They sleep most of the time, an instinctive behavior that protects them in the wild. By sleeping almost constantly, there is less opportunity for the babies to wander or make noise that might attract a predator.

When awake, they are nursing and staying warm, and completely dependent on their mother for all their needs for the first few weeks of their lives.

Kittens open their eyes approximately ten days after birth. They develop very quickly form about two weeks of age until their seventh week.

Their coordination and strength improve, they play-fight with their littermates, and begin to explore the world outside the nest. They learn to wash themselves and others as well as playing hunting and stalking games, showing their inborn ability as predators.

As they reach three to four weeks old, the kittens begin to eat solid food, with weaning usually complete by six to eight weeks. The weaned kitten becomes progressively more independent.

A orange tabby kitten with blue eyes.

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