Your Simple Guide To Caring For A Four Week Old Kitten
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. Today’s topic, four week old kitten development.
I want this to be a complete guide for caring for a kitten week by week. If you find a kitten, 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. Mother cats know how to care for their babies so if they can be left with their mothers, they should for at least 8 weeks.
Can A 4 Week Old Kitten Survive without Its Mother?
Let’s talk about Orphaned 4 Week Old Kittens. If you find a kitten who has no mother cat 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.
Or, you have just found a kitten are thinking it is about three, maybe four weeks, though we will mention how to be sure in a little.
Kittens at this age still need you to bottle feed them, on occasions help stimulate them to go to the bathroom, litter box train them, and make sure they are still gaining weight they need to.
If you catch yourself asking, ‘How old is my kitten?’, this is the guide for you.
What Does A Four Week Old Kitten Look Like?
At four weeks of age, kittens are entering a stage of their lives where they start to display more kitten-like characteristics. While they still have some growing to do, they have come a long way from the fragile newborns they once were.
- Size: Four-week-old kittens are typically much larger than newborns, but they’re still relatively small, usually measuring around 4 to 5 inches in length.
- Weight: Their weight can vary, but they usually weigh between 10 to 12 ounces (280 to 340 grams).
- Coat: At this stage, a kitten’s fur is becoming denser and more defined. The coat pattern and color are becoming clearer, making it easier to identify their future appearance.
- Eyes: By four weeks, kittens usually have fully opened their eyes, revealing bright, curious orbs. However, the eye color is still in the process of changing from the initial blue to their final color, which can take a few more weeks to develop fully.
- Ears: Their ears are now standing more upright and are proportionate to their head size, giving them that adorable, alert look.
- Claws: At this age, their claws will still not retract and should be visible at all times.
- Mobility: Four-week-old kittens are starting to gain more control over their limbs, allowing them to wobble around clumsily. They might attempt to take their first steps or even engage in play with their littermates.
- Socialization: Kittens at this age are becoming increasingly social. They are learning to interact with their littermates and may even start purring when content. This is a great time for positive human interactions to build trust.
- Teeth: At around four weeks, kittens will develop their baby teeth, which are tiny and sharp. This is a sign that they will soon be ready to transition to solid food.
How Much Should Four Week Old Kittens Weigh?
Their weight at this age should be between 280 to 340 grams, but can be upwards of 450-550 grams depending on the kitten and should 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.
4 week old size will still be relatively small but growing everyday. It’s crucial that they gain weight every day, so they can continue to grow.
At four weeks old, their body temperature will be able to keep warm on their own. They may still want to cuddle up with you for extra warmth, but extra heating sources will not be necessary.
However, you can also add a heating pad in their little box to help them stay warm if needed.
It is still too early to spayed/neutered your newborn kitten.
What Do You Feed A 4 Week Old Kitten?
A four-week-old kitten has made significant progress since birth, but they are still highly dependent on their mother’s milk or a suitable alternative. Proper nutrition during this stage sets the foundation for their overall health and well-being.
What Should a Four-Week-Old Kitten Eat?
- Kitten Milk Replacer (KMR): If the mother cat is not available or unable to nurse, KMR is the closest substitute to mother’s milk. It provides essential nutrients like protein, fat, and vitamins necessary for a growing kitten. Ensure that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions for mixing and feeding.
- Wet Kitten Food: Around four weeks, kittens can start transitioning to wet kitten food. Look for high-quality, commercial kitten food specifically formulated to meet their nutritional needs. It should list “kitten” or “growth” on the label to ensure it’s suitable for your young cat.
- Kitten Formula Soaked Kibble: Gradually introduce a mix of high-quality dry kitten food that has been soaked in kitten formula. This helps kittens transition to solid food while still receiving the essential nutrients from the formula.
- Frequency: Four-week-old kittens need to eat small, frequent meals. Aim for about four to six meals a day. This mimics their natural feeding habits and helps with digestion.
- Portion Size: Provide small portions, roughly a quarter to a third of a cup per meal. Adjust the amount based on your kitten’s appetite and weight gain. Consult with your veterinarian for precise portions.
Different Ways To Feed Your Four-Week-Old Kitten:
- Bottle Feeding: If you’re using KMR or a kitten formula, feed your kitten with a kitten-specific bottle or syringe. Hold the kitten gently but securely, allowing them to nurse at their own pace.
- Transition to Wet Food: As your kitten becomes more accustomed to eating solid food, introduce wet kitten food. Gradually reduce the amount of formula or milk replacer while increasing the portion of wet food.
- Provide Fresh Water: Alongside their meals, always have fresh water available for your kitten. Hydration is crucial for their overall health.
Tips for Successful Feeding:
- Temperature: Ensure that any formula or food you provide is at room temperature. Cold food can upset their delicate stomachs.
- Cleanliness: Keep feeding utensils and the feeding area clean and sanitized to prevent infections and gastrointestinal issues.
- Monitor Weight: Regularly weigh your kitten to track their growth. Consult your veterinarian if you notice any significant changes in weight.
- Consult a Vet: Always consult your veterinarian for guidance on your kitten’s specific dietary needs. They can provide tailored advice and recommend suitable brands and products.
How Long To Bottle Feed A Four Kitten Old Kitten?
You do not want to try to wean the kittens off the bottle before they are ready. Some people think you can start weaning them at four weeks, but I would recommend giving them an extra week on the bottle before you start trying to get them onto wet kitten food.
I usually recommend that people continue to bottle feed until they almost become ‘bottle aggressive’. To understand bottle aggression and How To Wean Kittens off the Bottle, visit the post linked to the left. But for now, bottle-feed and let them get nice and strong a little while longer!
When will they be ready? Like it said before, not yet. But trust me, you will know when they are getting ready to start weening. It will be obvious and persistence.
For now, you need to get used to actually feeding the kittens. You will want to do about an ounce of formula per ounce of body weight.
Steps to Prepare the Bottle for Your Four-Week-Old Kitten:
- Wash Your Hands: Before you start, always wash your hands thoroughly to prevent any contamination.
- Clean the Bottle and Nipple: Ensure the bottle and nipple are clean and sterilized. Use hot, soapy water and rinse them well before each use.
- Mix the KMR Formula: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the KMR packaging to determine the correct amount of formula powder to use. Typically, it’s one part powder to two parts warm water. Mix it in a clean bowl or container until the powder is completely dissolved.
- Fill the Bottle:Using a funnel or pouring carefully, fill the bottle with the prepared KMR formula. Leave some space at the top to allow for air.
- Test the Temperature: Drip a small amount of formula on your wrist to check the temperature. It should be comfortably warm, similar to the mother cat’s body temperature.
- Prepare a Comfortable Feeding Area: Place a towel or blanket on your lap to create a warm and cozy space for your kitten during feeding.
- Get Your Kitten Ready:Gently pick up your kitten and place them on your lap. Ensure they are calm and comfortable before starting the feeding process.The easiest way to feed a kitten is to place them on the ground. Gently, but firmly, hold their heads up with their feet on the ground and let them find the bottle. You will want to either be holding the kittens, or have them safely on the floor during this process. This will be clunky at first. I know some people will wrap the kittens in a towel to prevent them from trying to rip the bottle from you. Some will have trouble finding the bottle. Be patient. This first few times feeding them will be the hardest. Once you get into a swing of things it will get better.
- Begin Feeding: Hold the bottle at a slight angle and gently insert the nipple into your kitten’s mouth. Allow them to suckle naturally. Be patient and let them feed at their own pace.
- Burp Your Kitten: After a few minutes of feeding, pause and gently pat your kitten’s back to help them burp. This prevents gas and discomfort.
- Monitor Your Kitten’s Progress: Keep an eye on your kitten’s weight gain and overall health. Consult your veterinarian if you notice any issues or changes.
Weaning A 4 Week Old Kitten
To completely contradict myself, there are some kittens who have shown signs they are ready to start the weaning process. But expect them to not be fully weaned for a few weeks.
If you have read the post, How To Wean Kittens from the bottle, you know that the process to get them to eat solid food is not as easy as bottle to dry kitten food.
You will want to start out slowly and have them go from wet food to dry food. Learn even more about it above.
4 Week Old Kitten Development
Kittens at four weeks old will be will walking better than they were at three weeks, their eyes will be clearer, and they will starting to really MOVE!.
They will not be fast by any means, but they will start to get into a little rhythm when they walk as they are starting to get the hang of this whole moving thing. Not to mention it is so cute to watch them ‘book’ it.
At four weeks, they should really no longer need to be stimulated anymore.
They should be able to go to the bathroom on their own, though sometimes they won’t have complete control over it. If you do need to stimulate them, you can use soft pads or cotton balls to help them go to the bathroom as needed.
If you have not already, you should start to introduce a litter box.The litter box should be small enough for them to walk in and out of, but still enough room for them to move around.
How To Litter Train A 4 Week Old Kitten
Bringing a four-week-old kitten into your home is an adorable adventure, but one of the first essential lessons is teaching them proper litter box manners. Litter training your young feline friend is a crucial step in ensuring a clean and happy home. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the process of how to successfully litter train a four-week-old kitten, helping both you and your new companion on the path to a harmonious coexistence.
Why Litter Training Matters:
Litter training is not just about convenience; it’s also about fostering good habits and ensuring a healthy environment for your kitten. At four weeks old, kittens are ready to start learning the ropes of using a litter box.
What You’ll Need:
- Kitten-Sized Litter Box: Opt for a small, shallow litter box designed for kittens. These are easier for them to access and exit.
- Unscented Clumping Litter: Choose a high-quality, unscented, clumping litter. Kittens are sensitive to scents, and unscented litter is less likely to discourage them.
- A Quiet and Accessible Location: Place the litter box in a quiet, low-traffic area where your kitten can access it easily. Avoid noisy appliances or strong odors nearby.
Steps to Litter Train Your Four-Week-Old Kitten:
- Choose the Right Timing: Litter training should ideally start around four weeks when kittens begin to gain control over their bodily functions. Keep an eye out for signs of your kitten trying to eliminate, such as sniffing, circling, or digging.
- Introduce the Litter Box: Place the clean litter box in the chosen location and gently set your kitten inside. Allow them to explore the box on their own. They might start digging or pawing at the litter out of curiosity.
- Demonstrate Digging: If your kitten doesn’t immediately start digging in the litter, you can demonstrate the behavior by gently taking their paw and showing them how to scratch the litter surface. Kittens often learn by imitation.
- Monitor and Praise: Keep a close eye on your kitten and watch for any signs of them using the litter box. If you notice them attempting to urinate or defecate in the box, offer praise and encouragement in a gentle tone. Positive reinforcement goes a long way in training.
- Regularly Clean the Litter Box: Kittens are more likely to use a clean litter box. Scoop waste daily and change the litter as needed. Make sure to keep the box fresh to encourage them to use it consistently.
- Be Patient and Consistent: Litter training takes time and patience. If accidents occur, avoid scolding your kitten. Instead, clean up the mess without making a fuss. Negative reactions can make the process more stressful for your kitten.
- Gradual Transition to Solid Food: As your kitten begins to transition to solid food, you may notice changes in their elimination habits. Be patient and continue to provide access to the litter box.
If your kitten is having difficulty with litter training or seems to be having accidents outside the box, consult your veterinarian. Medical issues or stress can sometimes be contributing factors.
4 week old kitten care
Bringing a four-week-old kitten into your home is a delightful experience, but it comes with the responsibility of providing a secure and nurturing environment for your young feline friend. At this tender age, kittens are still developing, and their safety and comfort are paramount. In this blog post, we’ll guide you on how to create a dedicated four-week kitten care space, ensuring your little furball stays safe, happy, and healthy.
The Importance of a Safe Kitten Care Space:
A dedicated kitten care space serves several crucial purposes:
- Safety: Kittens at four weeks are curious explorers but can easily get into trouble. A designated area keeps them away from hazards.
- Comfort: Providing a cozy and comfortable space helps your kitten feel secure and reduces stress.
- Bonding: It’s an opportunity for you to bond with your kitten through interaction and play.
What You’ll Need:
- A Room or Enclosed Area: Choose a quiet, low-traffic room or an enclosed space where your kitten can roam freely but safely.
- Kitten-Proofing Supplies: Ensure the area is kitten-proof by removing potential hazards like toxic plants, small objects, electrical cords, and sharp objects.
- Comfortable Bedding: Provide a soft and washable bed or blanket for your kitten to curl up on.
- Food and Water Bowls: Set up a designated area for feeding with clean water and appropriate kitten food.
- Litter Box: Place a small, shallow litter box with unscented, clumping litter in the space.
- Safe Toys: Offer age-appropriate toys for mental and physical stimulation.
Steps to Create a Four-Week Kitten Care Space:
- Choose the Right Location: Select a room or space that’s easily accessible, quiet, and free from potential dangers. Ensure that the temperature is comfortable for your kitten.
- Kitten-Proof the Area: Before introducing your kitten, thoroughly kitten-proof the space. Remove anything that might pose a threat to their safety, like chemicals, plants, or small objects they could swallow.
- Set Up a Comfortable Bed: Place a soft and washable bed or blanket in a cozy corner where your kitten can rest and sleep comfortably.
- Provide Food and Water: Set up a designated feeding area with clean water and offer appropriate kitten food. Ensure that the food and water bowls are easily accessible to your kitten.
- Introduce the Litter Box: Place a small, shallow litter box with unscented, clumping litter in a quiet corner. Show your kitten the litter box and gently place them inside to familiarize them with it.
- Safe Toys for Playtime: Offer safe and age-appropriate toys to keep your kitten mentally and physically engaged. Toys that encourage natural behaviors like pouncing, chasing, and batting are ideal.
- Spend Quality Time: Your presence is vital to your kitten’s well-being. Spend time playing, cuddling, and interacting with them. Socialization is crucial for their development.
- Gradual Exploration: As your kitten grows and becomes more confident, gradually introduce them to other areas of your home under supervision. Ensure these areas are also kitten-proofed.
- Vet Visits: The last, and still important thing I want to mention is taking them to the vet. They can get their first round of shots at around 4 weeks. There is also a good chance that your little kitten will have worms. Especially if they were orphaned at a young age. You want to make sure you take them to the vet and get them their needed shots, de-wormer, and anything else they may need medically.They will not yet be ready for a spay or neuter.If you’ve read Binx’s story, you know that her worms caused a lot of problems for us. So the earlier you can get the de-wormed, the better!
What Should a 4 Week Old Kitten be Doing?
If you find a 4 week old kitten, try your best to find 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 FIVE!!! WHAT!!!. Are you guys ready for that one?! Soon you will have adult cats on your hands!