We all know there are several stages a kitten goes through in the first few weeks of life but why are these stages so important and what happens during this time? In the next few blog posts I am going to explain the developmental changes a kitten goes through week by week until they are ready for their forever home.
From the time the kittens are born mom is hard at work. She is cleaning, feeding and keeping her tiny tots warm. Throughout this week she is very protective of her young and if bothered too much she will try to relocate them to a more peaceful location. During this time, we do not interfere to ensure mom's stress level stays low and she feels cozy and comfortable in her nesting area.
Puttin' On the Ounces
Kittens, when welcomed to this world, typically weigh a whopping 3-4 ounces. Of course, as far as Savannahs go, the higher the generation the bigger the kittens. In this week, the kittens will typically double in size to about 6-8 ounces which is a lot for their tiny little bodies. Within about 2-3 days their umbilical cord will detach and they are ready for takeoff.
When born, kittens are completely helpless and solely rely on their mothers to care for them. Their eyes are tightly shut making it a bit hard to see and their ears are folded so they cannot hear a thing. They react to their mothers body heat for comfort and rely on their faint sense of smell to find their favorite nipple at feeding time.
Happy and Healthy
In the first 24-48 hours of arrival the kittens will receive colostrum from their mothers. This is a very vitamin and nutrient rich milk that is crucial to the kittens development. Given the mother has had her vaccinations, this milk allows the kittens to receive the mothers immunity to harmful diseases until they are old enough for their first set of shots.
Another thing kittens are incapable of at this stage is controlling their bowels. Mom will lick their bellies to aid in digestion as well as their bottoms to help stimulate them to defecate. Kittens also can not regulate their own body temperature so mom always stays near to be sure they are all snuggled up.
A Whole Lot of Shut Eye
In order to for kittens to grow and develop as fast as they do, they need plenty of beauty rest. Kittens spend 90 percent of their time sleeping while the other 10 percent they are chowing down. Other than snoozing, fighting their littermates for a nipple is their top priority but Mom always makes sure there is plenty to go around.