The image of a newborn kitten is a sweet one indeed. Just one glance at a tiny and fluffy feline ball of joy may be able to soften even the hardest of hearts, even just for a second. At birth, wee kittens don't usually even weigh in at 4 ounces.
According to the ASPCA, kittens typically weigh approximately 3.5 ounces right at birth. However, this weight may vary depending on a few different factors, namely the number of kittens in the litter and the specific breed type. Some cats are simply bigger than others, often even from the start -- think the Savannah, for instance.
Although kitties start out as tiny little creatures, the initial several weeks of their lives are all about rapid growth and development. It's not unusual for a kitten's weight to multiply in just a span of a couple of weeks. While a kitten is nursing with her mama cat, expect weight gain of a maximum of half an ounce each day. This type of reliable and consistent weight gain is a sign of a thriving youngster.
The Humane Society of Otter Tail County indicates that by the second week of a kitten's life, she should be up to about 7 ounces in weight. By the third week, expect her to weigh in at a hardy and healthy 10 ounces, then at 13 ounces the following week. Around the fourth week, a mama cat often begins weaning her litter and slowly steering them away from nursing. Around the fifth week, your little one should tip the scales at roughly 1 full pound.
Never attempt to feed a newborn kitten solid foods in an attempt to get her to gain weight. The only nourishment a kitten needs in the first weeks of her young life comes directly from her mother -- milk. The mother cat's milk is ideal for fulfilling a kitty's very specific dietary requirements. Of course, if the mother isn't around, you may opt to bottle-feed a kitten using formula and a kitten milk replacer (KMR). Never offer a kitten -- or adult cat, for that matter -- milk from a cow, as it can lead to digestive upset.
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.