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5 Week Old Kitten Care Guide

    Everything You Need to Know About 5 Week Old Kittens

    If you have been around my blog then you know that I have recently rescued and fostered an orphaned kitten.

    We estimate that we got her around three weeks and had a big awakening throughout the process.

    I wanted to walk you through the information that I gathered for each of the different weeks of a new kitten’s life. 

    Your kitten development skills have grown from two week old kittens through now five week old kittens. Your friends better look out!

    I want this to be a complete guide for caring for a kitten week by week. If you find a kitten, as always, you want to try your hardest to keep them with their mothers. Their mothers will be able to nurse them, keep them warm, and protect them.

    Mothers know how to care for their babies so if they can be left with their mothers, they should for at least 8 weeks.

    Orphaned 5 Week Old Kittens

    If you find a kitten who has no mother nearby, then you have just found an orphaned kitten. This kitten now needs you to be their mother. They will need to be fed, kept warm, and protected by you, the human.

    We have already talked about caring for a two-week-old kitten, and three-week-old kittens, maybe even four-week-old kittens.

    So, if you have read that article, that means that you are now caring for a FIVE-week-old kitten. FIVE GUYS! You have survived at least 5 weeks with your kitten! That’s longer than a month!

    Or, you have just found a kitten thinking it is about four, maybe five weeks, though we will mention how to be sure in a little.

    Five-week-old kittens are at that wonderful age where they can start to show desires to start weening. It is still important that until they are completely on wet food, they still need you to bottle feed them.

    They should be getting the hang of litter box training , and continuing to gain weight as they grow.

    What Does A Kitten Look Like At 5 Weeks?

    At 5 weeks old, kittens are starting to exhibit the classic feline features that make them so irresistible. Here’s what you can expect when you lay your eyes on a 5-week-old kitten:

    The Appearance of a 5-Week-Old Kitten

    • Size and Proportions: 5-week-old kittens are still quite small, typically weighing between 10-16 ounces (280-450 grams). They have a plump, round appearance with short legs, making them look like tiny, furry potatoes.
    • Fur: Their fur is soft and downy, and it’s often a bit fuzzy at this stage. The color and pattern of their fur are starting to become more defined, but it may still change as they grow.
    • Eyes: At around 5 weeks, kittens’ eyes have usually fully opened, revealing bright, clear eyes that are filled with curiosity. The eye color can vary and might not settle into its permanent shade until they are a few months old.
    • Ears: Their ears are proportionate to their head size, and they can twitch and swivel to catch sounds. Kittens at this age have an excellent sense of hearing.
    • Teeth: Kittens start to get their baby teeth (deciduous teeth) around 3-4 weeks old. By 5 weeks, they have a full set of tiny, needle-like teeth. Be prepared for some nibbling if they decide to explore your fingers!
    • Movement: At 5 weeks, kittens are becoming more coordinated. They may wobble less and start to attempt pouncing and play-fighting with their littermates.

     

    How Much Should A 5 Week Old Kitten Weigh?

    Like we mentioned above, 5 week old kittens are still relatively small. Their weight should be at least 280-450 but can weigh anywhere between 550-650 grams depending on the kitten and should still continue to steadily gain weight each day.

    If you notice your kitten is not gaining weight for a few days, make sure you are feeding them enough, and speak to your vet about possible other reasons for delayed weight gain.

    At five weeks old, they will be able to keep warm on their own.

    They may still want to cuddle up with you for extra warms, but the extra heating sources are no longer necessary.

    How Much Should A Five Week Old Kitten Eat?

    Now, let’s talk feeding a five-week-old kitten.

    Understanding the Dietary Needs of a 5-Week-Old Kitten

    At 5 weeks of age, kittens are no longer solely reliant on their mother’s milk. They’re starting to explore the world of solid foods, which is a crucial phase in their development. Here are some key factors to consider when determining how much to feed your 5-week-old kitten:

    • Transitioning from Mother’s Milk: By this age, most kittens have started the weaning process. While they may still nurse occasionally, they are ready to make the switch to solid food.
    • Nutritional Requirements: Kittens have higher energy and nutrient requirements compared to adult cats due to their rapid growth. They need a diet rich in protein, fat, and essential vitamins and minerals.
    • Frequency of Feeding: Kittens should be fed more frequently than adult cats. At 5 weeks, aim for approximately four to five small meals a day.
    • Portion Sizes: It’s important not to overfeed or underfeed your kitten. Portion sizes should be small and manageable, typically about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of high-quality kitten food per meal.
    • Kitten-Specific Food: Invest in a high-quality commercial kitten food that is specifically formulated to meet the nutritional needs of growing kittens. Consult with your veterinarian for recommendations.
    • Fresh Water: Always provide fresh, clean water alongside their meals to keep them well-hydrated.

    Feeding Schedule for Your 5-Week-Old Kitten

    Creating a feeding schedule for your 5-week-old kitten can help ensure they receive consistent nourishment. Here’s a sample schedule to consider:

    • Morning: Offer a small portion of wet kitten food. Monitor their appetite to gauge how much they eat.
    • Mid-Morning: Provide a snack-sized meal of wet food or kitten milk replacer.
    • Lunch: Another serving of wet food or kitten milk replacer.
    • Afternoon: Continue with small meals to maintain their energy levels and promote healthy growth.
    • Evening: Offer the last meal of the day, ensuring it’s well before bedtime to avoid digestive issues.

    Tips for Feeding Your 5-Week-Old Kitten

    1. Monitor Their Weight: Keep an eye on your kitten’s weight to ensure they are growing at a healthy rate. Consult with your veterinarian if you have concerns about their growth or appetite.
    2. Gradual Transition: If you’re switching from kitten milk replacer to solid food, do so gradually to prevent digestive upset. Mix a small amount of wet food with milk replacer, and gradually increase the proportion of solid food.
    3. Variety: Introduce a variety of high-quality kitten foods to expose them to different flavors and textures. This can help prevent picky eating habits later in life.
    4. Consult Your Vet: Your veterinarian is your best resource for guidance on your kitten’s specific dietary needs. They can provide tailored recommendations based on your kitten’s health and growth.

     

    How Often Should a 5 Week Old Kitten Eat?

    The feeding frequency for your 5-week-old kitten should take into account their small stomachs and high-energy requirements. Here’s a recommended feeding schedule:

    1. Four to Five Small Meals a Day: Kittens of this age should be fed approximately four to five times a day. This frequency ensures they receive consistent nourishment throughout the day without overloading their stomachs.
    2. Measure Portion Sizes: Each meal should consist of small, measured portions of high-quality kitten food. Start with about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of wet kitten food per meal.
    3. Variety in Diet: Introduce a variety of flavors and textures to their diet to help them adapt to different foods and prevent picky eating habits in the future.
    4. Fresh Water: Alongside their meals, provide a bowl of fresh, clean water to keep them well-hydrated.

    Sample Feeding Schedule:

    • Morning (7:00 AM): Offer a small portion of wet kitten food.
    • Late Morning (10:00 AM): Provide a snack-sized meal or a mix of wet food and kitten milk replacer.
    • Lunch (1:00 PM): Another serving of wet food or a combination of wet food and milk replacer.
    • Afternoon (4:00 PM): Continue with small meals to maintain their energy levels and promote healthy growth.
    • Early Evening (7:00 PM): Offer the last meal of the day, ensuring it’s well before bedtime to avoid digestive issues.

    Bottle Feeding a Kitten

    To get a complete guide on how to bottle feed a kitten, you can visit my post ‘How To Bottle Feed A Kitten’.

    In short, you need a bottle, and kitten milk replacing formula. I personally like KMR, mainly because that is what the kittens have seemed to respond best to.

    You want to make sure you heat up water and follow the instructions on the formula to determine the correct amount to give your kitten. (When in doubt, give them a little extra. They are trying to grow).

    Always test the bottle on your arm not only for a steady flow, but for the temperature as well.

    Kittens at five weeks are able to suckle a bottle on their own, though showing less interest in it. So you may want to start introducing the slurry into the mixture.

    One call out that I do want to add is this. I know there are certain amounts they say your kitten needs every few hours. If they are a small underweight orphaned cat, use those guidelines as minimums.

    If they are willing to eat more, let them. When I fostered my kitten, we would make double the sizing needed and make sure she ate at least half. Most of the time, she actually ate it all!

    She was hungry and needed all those nutrients from the formula.

    She was so underweight that it took us a while to figure out that she needed to be gaining much faster than she was. Learn that lesson from us, you can’t really over-feed a kitten when they are wanting the bottle.

     

    >> Get Your Kitten Milk Replacer On Amazon Now!

    What Should 5 Week Old Kittens Be Doing?

    Kittens at five weeks old will be will walking confidently on their own and running in their little sprinting fashion. This is really the age in which they start to come into themselves.

    They really seem like a real cat! This is where I think the fun really begins.

    At five weeks, they should be able to go to the bathroom on their own, and the accidents should be happening less and less…The litter box should be small enough for them to walk in and out of, but still enough room for them to move around.

    Physical Milestones

    • Walking Confidently: By 5 weeks, kittens should have mastered the art of walking with a confident, albeit wobbly, gait. They will explore their surroundings with newfound mobility.
    • Coordination: Their coordination is improving daily. You’ll notice them becoming more skilled at climbing, jumping short distances, and even playfully pouncing on objects.
    • Eye Contact: Kittens at this age can maintain eye contact and often give you those irresistible, wide-eyed gazes.
    • Hearing: Their sense of hearing is well-developed, and they can react to sounds in their environment, such as your voice or the rustling of their toys.
      •  

    Social Behavior

    • Playfulness: 5-week-old kittens are bundles of energy and curiosity. They engage in frequent play, both with their littermates and with toys, honing their hunting skills.
    • Interaction: They are becoming more interactive with both their feline siblings and human caregivers. Socialization is essential at this stage to build their confidence and trust.
    • Kneading and Purring: You may notice your kitten kneading soft surfaces, such as your lap or a blanket. This behavior is comforting and instinctual. Purring is also more pronounced as they express contentment.
      •  

    Diet and Feeding

    • Weaning Process: At 5 weeks old, kittens are in the midst of the weaning process, gradually transitioning from solely nursing to incorporating solid food into their diet. Offer them high-quality kitten food, wet or dry, specifically formulated for their age.
    • Teeth: Kittens should have a full set of baby teeth by this age, and they might start nibbling on solid food. Be patient as they learn to eat independently.
      •  

    Toilet Training

    • Litter Box: Most 5-week-old kittens are ready to start using a litter box. Provide a low-sided, easily accessible box with kitten-friendly litter. They may need guidance initially, so gently place them in the box after meals.
    • Litter: Kittens cannot use clumping litter at this point. Kittens are like babies where they want to put nearly everything in their mouth. If your kitten eats clumping litter, it could cause bowel obstructions and serious harm to your already sensitive kitten.You want to get a non-clumping litter, like this one that I use. You will want to change this out a little more often than clumping litter to keep it clean, but I think your kitten’s health is worth it.

    Sleep Patterns

    • Naptime: Kittens still sleep a lot at 5 weeks old, averaging around 18 hours a day. They often nap in cozy piles with their littermates, recharging for their active play sessions.

    Healthcare

    • Veterinary Care: Schedule a visit to the vet for vaccinations and a general health checkup. Discuss deworming and other preventive measures to ensure your kitten’s well-being.

    >> You May Also Like: How To Care Four 4 Week Old Kittens

    bottle feeding kitten

    Should 5 Week Old Kittens Have A Safe Spot?

    Finally, and maybe the most important is you want them to still have a safe space. At this point, they are probably safer to start roaming around on their own, but you want to make sure you have kitten proofed the house.

    Loose wires, or things they can chew and eat should be places away from them. They won’t be able to jump high quite yet, so height can always be a safe place for things.

    The Importance of Proper Sleep

    Before we delve into suitable sleeping spots, let’s understand why sleep is so crucial for a growing kitten:

    1. Growth and Development: During sleep, kittens’ bodies release growth hormones, essential for their physical development. Their bones, muscles, and organs all benefit from adequate rest.
    2. Mental Health: Just like humans, cats need quality sleep for mental well-being. It helps them process experiences and form memories.
    3. Immune System: Sleep plays a vital role in maintaining a robust immune system, helping kittens stay healthy.
    4. Energy Restoration: Kittens are bundles of energy during their waking hours, so sleep is essential for recharging and ensuring they have the vitality to play and learn.

    Suitable Sleeping Spots for 5-Week-Old Kittens

    1. A Cozy Bed or Blanket: Providing a soft, comfortable bed or blanket in a quiet, warm corner of your home is an excellent choice. Make sure it’s easily accessible and free from drafts.
    2. Kitten-Sized Cat Bed: Specialized kitten beds are designed for the needs of young felines. They often have raised edges that provide a sense of security.
    3. A Cardboard Box: A simple cardboard box lined with a soft blanket can make an inexpensive and effective bed. Kittens often enjoy the cozy confines of a box.
    4. A Cat Condo or Tree: While these are more suitable for adult cats, some kittens may enjoy climbing and exploring these structures. Ensure there are soft surfaces for them to rest on.
    5. Your Bedroom: Many cat owners choose to let their kittens sleep in their bedroom. This can foster a strong bond between you and your kitten and offer them a sense of security. Just ensure the sleeping area is safe and comfortable.

    Tips for Creating the Perfect Sleep Environment

    1. Keep It Quiet: Ensure the sleeping area is free from loud noises and disturbances, allowing your kitten to rest undisturbed.
    2. Regulate Temperature: Kittens are sensitive to temperature changes. Keep the sleeping area comfortably warm, but not too hot. Avoid placing their bed near radiators or heaters.
    3. Safety First: Remove any potential hazards from the sleeping area. Ensure there are no cords, small objects, or other items that your kitten could chew on or swallow.
    4. Cleanliness: Regularly clean and wash the bedding to maintain a fresh and hygienic sleeping environment.
    5. Introduce Routine: Establish a bedtime routine to signal to your kitten that it’s time to sleep. This can include gentle playtime and a final feeding before bedtime.
    6. Comfort Items: Consider adding a soft toy or a piece of your clothing to the sleeping area. Your scent can be comforting to your kitten.

    Can a 5 Week Old Kitten Survive Without Its Mother?

    If you find a five-week-old kitten, they still need to be kept with the mother. Kittens this young desperately need their mother to help them get big and strong.

    However, if no mother is found, that is not a death sentence to your kitty. Educate yourself, get the supplies you need, and become the kitty mother of the world!

    Remember to have patience throughout this whole process, especially if this is your first time handling orphaned kittens. Everything will come with time and getting frustrated won’t help anyone.

    The most important things for them right now are warmth, shelter, and food. If they have that and are starting to gain weight as they should then you are doing good! And that means in a few days you will move onto week

     

     

        

     

     

    2 thoughts on “5 Week Old Kitten Care Guide”

    1. Kate DAlessandro

      Found 3 kittens in a box on the freeway ramp – I guess they are about 5 weeks – they use the litter box regularly – they eat wet canned food voraciously and kitten kibble throughout the day
      They sleep under the sofa and also visit me in bed during the nite and wildly romp pounce and play with each other and explore me lying there then they go to their place to sleep
      I hope they can be sheltered and adopted as a 3 some but know this may not occur = will they adapt to being separated?
      I in my situation at this time am unable to keep my kitty team – but will foster and care for them until their forever homes are found
      Also – is it okay for them to explore the garden while I am there ? They are curious and seem to enjoy a new world outside tho I feel it is unsafe
      Thank you much

    2. how to make a food slurry that will go through the bottle nipple I tried but she will not drink it tried putting it on my finger but she will not touch it help

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