Facts About Kittens for Kids

Kittens are playful by nature.
i David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images

With their whisper-soft kisses and innocent eyes, kittens quite possibly are the most enchanting pets around. While they are independent little creatures and can entertain themselves easily for hours with curtain tassels or empty boxes, they thrive on attention and love from their humans.

A Kitten Arrives

At birth, a kitten’s ears and eyes are tightly sealed, and he is completely helpless. A newborn kitten spends his time sleeping and nursing. The first two weeks are a time of rapid growth and development. As he gets his fill of nourishing milk, the little kitten becomes stronger in preparation for the day he will see and hear. At this tender age, if the mother cat thinks her young ones are in danger, she’s likely to pick up each one by grabbing the loose skin at the back of the neck and carrying her baby to a safer spot.

What a Wonderful World

A kitten’s eyes begin to open slightly around eight days of age. They won’t focus well, however, until the kitten is 2-3 weeks old. At the same time, his ears will open and he will become aware of soft sounds he could not hear before. The kitten’s legs now are becoming strong enough to hold his weight. Just a few short days after the kitten takes his first steps, he starts to run and climb, and explore his wonderful new world. Now, there’s no stopping this bundle of cuddle-soft fur.

The Purr-fect Pet

Like adult cats, when kittens are content or happy, their magic motor starts. Purring is the result of vibrations in a kitten’s vocal cords and diaphragm. Some kittens purr more than others, but nearly all kittens will purr if held carefully and petted gently. If your kitten is purring, it’s a sign that you’re doing something right.

Body Language

While kittens can’t talk, you often can tell what they’re feeling by paying attention to their body language. When a kitten arches it back (Halloween-style) and hisses, he’s probably feeling threatened. After eating, your kitten will lick his paws to clean them, and then proceed to wipe his paws over his face to clean that as well. Most cats are meticulous about their tongue-bathing rituals. When a kitten yawns and stretches, he’s feeling safe and relaxed.

It’s a Cat’s Life

A cat lives about 15 years if its owner takes good care of him, feeds him a healthy diet, and takes him for regular visits to the vet for vaccinations and other healthcare needs. Wild cats face greater risks so their lives usually are a little shorter, about 10 years on average.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

the nest