If you’re planning on welcoming a new kitten into your home, you’ll enjoy reading our article all about kitten facts!
We’ve put together this article packed with interesting facts about kittens and kitten behavior, to help you know what to expect when you bring that curious, lively, bundle of mischief home!
We’ve also included lots of links to other helpful, informative kitten-related articles on our site.
So, let’s dive right in to the wonderful world of kitten facts!
Facts about newborn kittens
Most people get a kitten from a breeder or shelter when it’s at least eight weeks old. So, here are some kitten facts about newborn kittens that you might not know!
An adult female cat is pregnant for 64 to 67 days.
A litter of kittens typically contains 2 to 5 baby kittens, usually born at 30 to 45-minute intervals.
Some baby kittens are born head first, while others come out feet first! At birth, each kitten is contained in an “amniotic sac”, which the mother cat immediately bites off and eats to hide evidence of the birth from potential predators.
Kittens are born helpless! Their eyes and ears are tightly sealed, and for their first few weeks they can’t see or hear properly.
Baby kittens can’t regulate their body temperature for the first three weeks after they are born. That’s why you’ll see the mother cat keeping her babies warm with her own body heat at this time. Cute!
It takes up to 10 weeks for a kitten’s eyes to work properly so that he can see clearly. Until this time, the kitten sees only blurred images and shadows.
Newborn kittens need the nutrients, fat, protein, and vitamins that are contained in their mother’s milk. Also, this first milk contains antibodies that are vital for the development of the kitten’s’ immune system, protecting them from disease and infection.
Newborn kittens receive protection from certain feline diseases from their mother, provided she is vaccinated.
Facts about baby kittens
Did you know that a kitten does not become a cat until it reaches 12 months of age?
Until a kitten reaches 12 weeks old, it’s technically still a baby kitten. Here are a few facts about baby kittens!
Baby kittens should not be taken away from their mothers until they are at least eight weeks of age.
Before this time, kittens are totally dependent on their mother and removing them too soon can prevent their correct, healthy development.
The ideal time for a kitten to be taken away from his mother and his siblings is 12 weeks of age.
It’s thought that a kitten’s cognitive and social development is sufficiently advanced at this age to be able to cope with the challenges and stresses of this separation.
Important facts about kittens
This list of important facts about kittens includes some kitten facts for new owners that you must know before you get your new kitten home.
A kitten should be vaccinated at around three months old.
In the USA and Europe, kittens receive protective jabs against three dangerous feline diseases: feline viral rhinotracheitis, feline calicivirus (C), and feline panleukopenia (P).
Kittens of 16 weeks should also be vaccinated against rabies if the disease is known to be prevalent in your area.
If you’re not sure what vaccinations your kitten needs, ask your vet for advice.
Kittens should be wormed against round worm when they reach four weeks of age. A kitten can pick up worms from its mother, so ideally she should be wormed too. Ask your vet for advice about worming your kitten.
Unless you are planning to breed from a rare breed or show cat, it is highly advisable to have your kitten de-sexed once he/she reaches seven months old.
Every year, hundreds of unwanted cats and kittens find themselves in animal shelters, hoping for a forever home. De-sexing ensures that your kitten won’t breed, adding to the burden of unwanted cats.
De-sexing can also help to calm male kittens, making them less aggressive, and less likely to spray urine over your home and garden!
Fun facts about kittens
Some of the sweetest kitten facts are all about that quintessentially feline past time – purring.
Every cat owner has heard their kitty purring; that deep, throaty whirring sound just seems to
fill the air with contentment!
Kittens learn to purr from a very young age. They purr when they’re content and relaxed. But how do kittens purr?
Kittens purr by using the muscles of their diaphragm and larynx. They can purr while breathing out and when breathing in.
So, kittens purr when they’re happy. But did you know purring can also help to improve healing and bone density?
Unlike most mammals that spend a lot of time moving around, toning their muscles and strengthening their bones, cats (particularly kittens) spend much of their day sleeping.
Scientists think that purring is a means of allowing cats and kittens to get the best of both worlds!
Purring uses very little energy, but still utilizes muscles and stimulates circulation. Now that’s a clever trick!
Cool facts about cats and kittens
You now know that purring may be beneficial for your pet’s physical health.
But did you know that just owning a cat can be good for your physical health too?
For example, cat owners spend time with their pets, their heart rate and blood pressure go down, and the more time you spend together the greater the effect!
And looking after a pet can make us better at looking after ourselves.
Now those are some of the coolest facts about kittens that we’ve found!
Kitten facts for kids
And today’s lesson is …
If you study history in school, you’ll be interested to know that the word, “kitten” originally comes from the old French word, “chitoun” or “cheton”, which means “little cat”.
During the late 14th century, these words entered the English language following the Norman invasion of England. In Middle English, the word became, “kitoun”, “kyton”, or “ketoun”.
From 1870 onwards, the word “kitten” was used around the world as a slang term for a young sweetheart.
In more modern parlance, guys are sometimes referred to as “cats” and girls as “kittens”.
And that concludes today’s history lesson!
Kitten facts – No milk please!
Now, although you’ll most likely have seen a kitten being given a saucer of cream in cartoons on TV, you should never give your kitten milk!
The truth is that many kittens are lactose intolerant.
That means that if you give your kitten milk, he’ll most likely drink it, but it will probably upset his stomach and could even make him very sick!
Also, if a kitten drank a saucer of cream or milk, the fat content would make it the calorific equivalent of you eating four or five burgers and fries in one sitting!
So, when you’re enjoying a glass of milk, your kitten will be quite happy with water.
Alternatively, you could give your kitten a properly formulated kitten milk product.
Although cat milk is milk-flavored, it only contains 2% lactose and has lots of added vitamins and minerals to promote healthy bones and teeth.
Facts about kittens’ behavior
One of the many things about kittens that makes them so appealing to us is their playful and sociable nature.
In fact, as soon as a kitten is old enough to move around and interact with their siblings, pet parents, and other housemates, that’s mostly what they love to do!
The reason for this rather manic behavior is that kittens learn about life through play.
In wild felines, behaviors such as biting, climbing, stalking, meowing, jumping, and chasing are crucial to their survival.
So, your playful kitten is simply doing what his instinct tells him, in order to learn the skills he would need to survive in the wild.
Kitten facts – Learning and development
There are a number of different stages to a kitten’s learning process.
From three to four months old, interaction with other kittens is at its peak.
So if you bring home two or more young kittens, you’ll notice that they spend much of their time playing together.
Totally cute, but also essential for your pets’ development.
However, once your kitten is about five months old, he’ll be more likely to play by himself, especially in practicing his hunting and stalking skills.
Interesting facts about kittens
Here are a few interesting facts about kittens’ that we bet you didn’t know!
When kittens are born, they all have blue eyes – just like human babies.
That’s because the brown pigment that’s responsible for influencing the eye color has not yet developed in the irises of the kitten’s eyes.
Exposure to UV light also causes the eye to darken, so until the kitten’s eye are fully open, they will remain blue.
Kittens’ noses are all totally different! Just like human fingerprints, no two kittens have exactly the same nose. Who knew?
Are you left-handed or right-handed? Well, did you know that your kitten has a dominant paw, just like you do!
However, in kittens, girls are usually right-pawed, whereas boys are more likely to be left-pawed.
Watch your kitten next time he or she is playing to see which paw is more dominant!
Kitten facts and tips
So, now you know much more about kittens and their behavior!
Before you bring your new kitten home, be sure to check out the other articles about kittens on our site.
And if there’s something thing you’d like to know that we’ve not already covered, just shoot us a message in the comments section below!
Do you have any interesting facts about kittens?
Have you found out something fascinating about cats which sticks in your mind?
Please add them to our list using the comments box!
References and further reading
Dinis & Martins, “Does cat attachment have an effect on human health? A comparison between owners and volunteers”, Pet Behavior Science, 2015.
Maranda & Gupta, “Association between Responsible Pet Ownership and Glycemic Control in Youths with Type 1 Diabetes”, PLOS ONE, 2016.
Matchock, “Pet ownership and physical health”, Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 2015.
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