When it comes to kittens, the four-week mark often is the point where these fuzzy bundles become much more fun. Emerging from mama cat's protection, these growing kittens start to show off their developing personalities as they become more capable of exploring their home.
At four weeks, a kitten's senses of smell and hearing are fully developed. Her sense of sight is much improved compared to earlier weeks, but she still might have a little trouble with paw-to-eye coordination for another week or so. Her ears have begun to stand straight up instead of being folded over. Her eyes still are blue at 4 weeks old, and won't change to their final color for a few more weeks. Your 4-week-old kitten's teeth probably have begun to emerge, and she may start chewing on your shoes, cords or anything else within reach unless you kitten-proof your home.
During the fourth week of life, a kitten starts to interact with her littermates, playing with and nuzzling them. Your kitten also may start interacting with you more, as she starts to enjoy chasing strings, playing with toy mice or participating in other feline games. Sleeping patterns still are not developed completely, so your kitty may have irregular sleeping habits for a few more weeks. Scratching behavior begins at about four weeks, so your kitten may need a scratching post or your furniture might suffer.
A kitten of four weeks may be starting the weaning process, but she won't be weaned completely for another week or two. Until she has weaned naturally, don't switch her over completely to solid foods. If you are bottle feeding an orphaned 4-week-old kitten, you can start weaning her gradually from the bottle to soft solids over the next few weeks.
The period from 3 to 7 weeks old is the most critical period for kitten socialization, so spend plenty of time with your 4-week-old cat getting her used to people. You also can introduce her to other pets during this time. Everything you expose her to during this early socialization period will affect her ability to adapt to changing circumstances as an adult. If she doesn't get exposure to a variety of people and animals during this time, she may end up being a timid, nervous cat.
Bridget Coila specializes in health, nutrition, pregnancy, pet and parenting topics. Her articles have appeared in Oxygen, American Fitness and on various websites. Coila has a Bachelor of Science in cell and molecular biology from the University of Cincinnati and more than 10 years of medical research experience.