Une vie plus saine pour les chats et les chiens.
Chaton Sacré de Birmanie et Yorkshire terrier adulte en noir et blanc sur fond blanc
Sacred Birman kitten and mother sitting together

Développement du chaton de la naissance à l’âge adulte

Comprendre l’incroyable transformation que subit votre chaton lorsqu’il arrive à l’âge adulte vous permettra de lui fournir l’équilibre nutritionnel approprié lors de chaque étape de son développement.

Birth

Immediately after birth, kittens should be guided to suckle. The mother passes important nutrients to their litter in these first hours and days that support their healthy development.

Birth

Nutrition

Once the kittens have been delivered, they should naturally crawl toward their mother and start to suckle. In doing so, they will ingest colostrum, a component of their mother's milk that is rich in antibodies and enhances the immune system.

Mother cat with baby kittens

Birth

Health

At birth, the risks for newborn kittens are two-fold: they may suffer a lack of oxygen for varying durations due to abruption of the placenta and they come into immediate contact with surrounding bacteria and viruses having left the uterus. The breeder must take careful hygiene precautions, ensure the birthing pen is appropriately prepared, and monitor the birth of the kittens to limit the impact on neonatal health.

Birth

Behaviour

Although kittens are born without the use of their ears or eyes, they exhibit a number of reflexive behaviours at this early stage. A kitten is already able to navigate their surroundings, relying on scent and touch. They are able to keep warm by nestling with their mother, and gain nourishment by suckling.

Newborn kittens lying down together

Birth

Development

Kittens should be born at around 2-3% of their mother's weight. In the first days, the weight increases daily by approximately 10% of the birth weight. Males are often heavier and grow faster. Kittens are born blind and deaf. They will find their mother for shelter and nutrition.

Birth

Environment

Newborn kittens should be kept with their mothers full-time to keep them warm, clean and fed.

Mother cat and young kittens sitting together

Neonatal

Newborn kittens stay close to the safety and warmth of their mother and the rest of their litter. Their time is spent sleeping and feeding.

0-4 weeks

Health

A responsible breeder should make sure that a kitten is checked during the first days of its life by a veterinarian. They will check for any birth defects or issues that need to be addressed. Separation from their mother and litter-mates during the neonatal stage can lead to poor physical and mental development, and problems with aggression. De-worming should be done monthly for the first six months of life.

Newborn kittens being held in breeders hands

0-4 weeks

Nutrition

At this stage, a kitten will continue to rely heavily on their mother's milk to support their immune system and provide them with the key proteins needed to aid their development. In the first four weeks, a kitten may begin to drink water, so a shallow bowl should be kept on-hand nearby.

0-4 weeks

Behaviour

During this stage, kittens sleep for large parts of the day, around 90% of their time in the first few weeks. Movement is limited to crawling toward their mother for warmth and milk. Purring and other vocal traits are evident.

Newborn kittens lying together on a blanket

0-4 weeks

Environment

A clean, calm and warm environment is key in the first weeks. If there is too much noise and distraction, sleep and feeding patterns can be disrupted.

Weaning

A kitten’s physical development speeds up and the weaning process begins. This is a vital stage for learning from their mother and siblings.

4-8 weeks

Nutrition

As a kitten's milk teeth develop, the weaning process begins. After a while, the kittens will begin to show an interest in their mother's solid food and they can begin to transition from a milk-only diet. Their immature digestive system means that it's important they get easily digestible food that meets the specific nutritional needs of this stage.

Young kitten eating out of a stainless steel feeding bowl

4-8 weeks

Health

During this stage the “immunity gap” occurs. At this time, when the level of antibodies provided by the mother are no longer enough to guarantee the kitten is protected, but too high to ensure a vaccination will be effective, the kitten is more vulnerable to disease. Sleep helps to strengthen their immune system, so ensuring kittens have a warm, comfortable and quiet place to sleep is vital.

4-8 weeks

Behaviour

As this stage progresses, kittens start to interact more with their litter-mates, and they begin mutual grooming. They will start to actively play, exhibiting running, pouncing and stalking behaviours. At this stage, their sight is fully mature.

Two kittens sleeping together in a cat bed

4-8 weeks

Development

By the fourth week, smell is fully mature and hearing is well-developed. By the sixth and seventh weeks, they begin to develop adult sleeping patterns and motor abilities. Key social skills develop through interaction with litter-mates, and learning is achieved through observation of their mother’s behaviour.

4-8 weeks

Environment

As kittens become more mobile and adventurous, it is important to "kitten-proof" the environment. This is also a key learning stage, so making sure kittens have access to toys and other stimulation is key. Regular handling and interaction with different humans will aid their confidence as adults.

British shorthair kittens lying together indoors

Intense Growth

The kitten starts to understand its place in the world and develops behaviours that will stay with them for life.

2-4 months

Health

From around eight weeks, your kitten will be at the ideal age to begin their core vaccinations, with secondary injections required three to five weeks after. This is an important process in ensuring each kitten has the right protection for their adult life. Consult your veterinarian to make sure a vaccination schedule is in place.

Kitten standing on an examination table being given a vaccination by a vet

2-4 months

Nutrition

Some nutrients still can’t be digested, so ensuring that the kitten has food tailored to their developmental stage is important. This makes sure that they get the nutrients and energy they need during this vitally important developmental phase.

2-4 months

Behaviour

This is the stage at which the kitten’s behaviour is most influenced by others, including litter mates, other pets and humans. They also begin to understand their position within the household and may begin to form dominant and submissive behaviours depending on their experiences and training.

Three kittens on a white rug

2-4 months

Development

This is a key stage for the development of human relationships, so ensuring consistency and offering support and affection is key. Effective socialization at this stage is key to raising a well-behaved and happy cat.

2-4 months

Environment

Kittens can begin to be moved away from their mother and introduced to new homes at around 8 weeks. Depending on the breeder, this could be up to 12 weeks. If you are bringing a kitten home, it’s important to make sure that their new environment is fully prepared, with electrical wires and sockets covered, windows, balconies and stairs secured and any sharp or small objects tidied away.

Two kittens sitting in a cardboard box

Sustained Growth

Adulthood approaches, and the kitten gradually reaches full physical maturity.

4+ months

Health

During this period cats begin to scent mark through spraying and rubbing the glands on their cheeks against objects, other animals and humans. This is the signal that puberty is starting. Neutering should now be discussed with your veterinarian.

4+ months

Nutrition

As the kitten approaches physical maturity and gets close to its full adult weight, it will need to transition to adult food and adult portions. The nutritional balance will be dependent on their size and metabolic factors such as whether they are allowed outdoors and whether they’ve been neutered.

Ginger kitten sitting indoors eating from a food bowl

4+ months

Behaviour

As the cat begins to approach physical maturity, they will explore their dominance within the household. This will include challenging the status of humans and other pets. It is important that as an owner you maintain the routines and behaviours set in the early months of its life to ensure consistency and manage stress.

Bengal kitten standing indoors on a wooden floor

4+ months

Development

At this stage your kitten will begin to develop 30 adult teeth. If they haven't been neutered, sexual maturity is reached at six months, and sexual cycles and mating behaviours begin. By eight months the kitten will have reached 80% of its adult weight. Depending on the breed, adulthood is reached between 12 to 15 months.

Becoming an adult

By the time a kitten reaches their adult weight, they will have multiplied their birth weight by 40-50 times.

12-18 months

Becoming an adult

Kittens become adults at around 12 months old, with larger cat breeds not achieving adulthood until they're 15 months old. As a kitten transitions into an adult cat, it is now time to gradually move them to a diet that supports the nutritional requirements of their breed and lifestyle.

Siamese kitten sat next to a feeding bowl indoors

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