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CenTex Humane Society
“Second Chance”
No-Kill Animal Shelter

5501 Clear Creek Rd., Killeen, TX 76549

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 (254) 526-6200

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Kitten Development 

  Monday-Friday Noon to 5pm • Saturday & Sunday 11am-5pm

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 from the CenTex Humane Society at

Developmental stages of a kitten
Copyright 2000. Dumb Friends League. All rights reserved.

The following chart provides general guidelines for the stages of development.

0 - 2 weeks = Neonatal

  • Learning to orient toward sound.
  • Eyes are opening, usually open by two weeks.
  • Competition for rank and territory begins. Separation from their mother and littermates at this point can lead to poor learning skills and aggression toward people and other pets, including other cats.
  • 2 - 7 weeks = Socialization
  • By the third week smell is well-developed and they can see well enough to find their mother.
  • By the fourth week smell is fully mature and hearing is well-developed. They start to interact with their littermates, they can walk fairly well, and they’re teeth are erupting.
  • By the fifth week sight is fully mature, they can right themselves, run, place their feet precisely, avoid obstacles, stalk and pounce, and catch "prey" with their eyes.
  • Start to groom themselves and others.
  • By the sixth and seventh weeks they begin to develop adult sleeping patterns, motor abilities and social interaction.

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7- 14 weeks = Most active play period

  • Social and object play increases their physical coordination and social skills. Most learning is by observation, preferably from their mother.
  • Social play includes belly-ups, hugging, ambushing and licking.
  • Object play includes scooping, tossing, pawing, mouthing and holding.
  • Social/object play includes tail chasing, pouncing, leaping and dancing.

3 - 6 months = Ranking period

  • Most influenced by their "litter" (playmates now include companions of other species).
  • Beginning to see and use ranking (dominant and submissive) within the household, including humans.

6 - 18 months = Adolescence

  • Heightened exploration of dominance, including challenging humans.
  • If not spayed or neutered, beginnings of sexual behavior.

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The Central Texas Humane Society is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization
All content copyright ©2006 CenTex Humane Society.