Q: I found a litter of kittens and want to give them away. How do I determine their age and genders? They average two pounds and are eating dry kitten food.
A: Most kittens’ weight in pounds correlates with their age in months. For example, a 1-pound kitten is about one month old, a 2-pound kitten is about two months old, and so on.
If a kitten weighs less than a pound, look for these developmental milestones to determine age:
- 3 days: umbilical cord falls off;
- 7-10 days (range 2-16 days): eyelids open—though kittens don’t develop normal vision until 30 days;
- 9-11 days (range 6-17 days): ear canals open, but hearing isn’t normal until four to six weeks of age;
- 7-14 days: crawling;
- 14-21 days: walking;
- 14-28 days: front teeth (incisors and canines) erupt;
- 21 days: kittens can eliminate on their own without external stimulation.
To determine gender, compare all the kittens, looking at the distance between the anus and the genital opening below it. The female’s genital opening, a vertical slit, is close to her anus. The male’s round genital opening is further down. Between the anus and genital opening is the scrotum, which may be flat and devoid of testicles in a young male kitten.
At two months, your kittens are ready for their first distemper vaccination. Take them to your veterinarian who can confirm their genders.
Editor’s Note: Like humans, our feline friends require timely vaccinations and booster shots to keep them safe from diseases such as rabies and feline distemper. Here’s more info on critical feline vaccines and their schedules.
Lee Pickett, V.M.D. practices companion animal medicine. Contact her at email@example.com.
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