Kittens Development: Garbo's Litter
1 Day Old
Mamma Garbo came to me very pregnant. She was also older and so surely had had previous litters. Throughout the process, she sometimes seemed tired and jaded and more than glad to have me keep the kittens busy and cuddled. Garbo of course did everything else. Kittens are born entirely helpless. Their first days will be spent eating and sleeping. They are blind, deaf, and have no teeth. The mother must stimulate them to defecate and urinate. It is important to have a warm room because kittens can become hypothermic very fast. It is also wise to not handle the kittens the first days except for quick inspections. The mother usually removed the umbilical cords quickly but do not be alarmed if it takes her a couple days. If the cord looks infected get the whole family the vet for its first exam.
Day 2 Kittens Development
I Named Them
I decided to name the kittens after world capitals. The kitten farthest left who is white and orange was named Washington. Moving up and to the right the darkest orange kitten is Victoria. The light orange kitten is Vienna. To the front right, the grey haired kitten is Paris. That's three girls and one boy. They all looked healthy but Vienna was always a little smaller than the rest. If you look closely, their eyes are closed and their ears folded over. They could not see or hear. The huddled together for warmth but Mamma Garbo rarely left the nest this early on. Garbo preferred a fleece under the bed rather than a box I had prepared.
Moving into Second Week: Kittens Development
This is Paris and Washington moving into second week. They started crawling after the first week and you can see by this picture they are still crawling more than walking. By end of this week they were walking.
At 7-10 days of age kittens eyes open which you can see in this photo. But their vision is not good. If there is any sign of discharge or eye seems to be stuck shut with discharge, it is time for the litter's first visit to the vet. At two weeks their ears have perked up most of the way. Below is my favorite picture of Vienna not quite holding her ears up yet. (Best to leave an newborn animals ears alone or you can break down the cartiege).
Week 3: Kittens Development
You can see from the above picture that moving towards week three kittens are exploring their environment. Cat's usually land on their feet. Kittens, on the other hand can be quite clumsy so never drop them or leave them unattended on a chair where they could fall. Carpeting helps them learn to walk because it helps them keep their footing. Kitten claws are gentle like Velcro but they can get caught.....be cautious about what you have in the room with them. You don't want anything they could get stuck in or tangled in like a long sleeve shirt. String or yarn is not a good idea at this age.
At week three you can see the beginning of play and some signs of dominance in a litter. Obviously they should be steadily gaining weight. A good baby scale is helpful.
5 Weeks: Kittens Development
At five weeks the kittens are busy and so much fun. In the photo above, they have mastered climbing a low chair only 6 inches off the ground. According to Ask The Cat Vet, they can see clearly by this age and in another week would have their full hearing. But they were practicing climbing higher on a cat tree. Mom spent less and less time with them and was perfectly content to sleep while I played with her kittens. They loved to sit on my lap and would fall asleep. They were all really confident kittens but I really fell in love with the fawn colored Vienna. She had caught up and was only a little smaller that the others. It looked like Washington and possibly Paris was going to be medium to long haired. It can take a long time for cats, almost two years, to have their full coat.
This was a happy story.....considering the mom was a stray she came to us quite healthy and tested negative for diseases. She had high quality food to help her with her nursing. He kittens were born healthy and they grew and thrived. If you want to see some other fun kittens, cats and photos, see my other hub http://hildaspann.hubpages.com/hub/Cat-Behaviors-My-Learning-Experience