Kitten Development - From Conception to One Year


During Pregnancy

After the egg is fertilized it begins to form a ball-shaped cell mass. It enters the uterus and attaches itself to the uterine wall. The embryo is encased in two sacs. The placenta is the bridge over which oxygen, nutrients, and fetal waste is exchanged. Kittens are usually born between 63 & 68 days from mating.

Newborn Kittens

The newborn Ragdoll kitten weighs about 80-120 grams. It is born completely white and can usually be sexed right away. The umbilical cord will fall off within two or three days. Their eyes and ear canals are still closed, so they are blind and deaf. They will rely on their sense of smell to find its mother’s nipple. Their only activities are nursing, sleeping and passing waste. The kittens’ mother will keep them clean and lick their bottoms to stimulate them to eliminate.

One Week Old

They should gain about 10 grams per day at this stage. They usually nurse up to 8 hours a day. They are very vulnerable to cold or dehydration at this time. Hearing will begin as their ear canals have opened up. They will start to purr, hiss, and cry when hungry. They still can’t retract their claws. By one week old color and pattern may be visible.

Two Weeks Old

Their eyes will open and the world will be blurry as their vision adjusts. The sense of smell is increasing, and they will find a favorite teat by scent. Unfamiliar odors may cause him to hiss. Kittens will start to crawl and may even try to stand. They may even start to roll over which they will practice over and over.

Three Weeks Old

 A kitten’s vision will improve this week so they will start to feel brave exploring their surroundings. They will try to play with their litter mates as they learn to control their body - though they are still quite wobbly. During this time, their teeth start to come in. They may start to purr when given human attention so this is a great time to socialize with humans.

Four Weeks Old

 At this time, a kitten will start to groom itself, learning by watching its mother. They will become curious about their surroundings experimenting with everything around them. The kitten is ready for canned food and will enjoy sampling it. Dry food is also down at this time for them to try. They usually try out the cat litter box at this time, as they now have bowel control. They will also be interested in humans as they are ready to imprint.

Five Weeks Old

A kitten will be able to walk easily now and will start wrestling with its litter mates. This is a golden age when playful kittens are so fun to watch. Even if a kitten is eating solid food at this time, they will benefit from nursing from their mother for emotional reasons. They will start to seek out human company enjoying the human lap and being petted.

Six Weeks Old

This stage is when a kitten starts to become very busy. They will seem to find a toy in anything and hop all over a room. Then in the next moment they will be fast asleep. A scratching post will be introduced by now and they quickly learn from their mother how to use it. More toys are enjoyed like balls, mice, wands, and catnip pillows. Dry food will predominantly be eaten at this time also, with wet food now a morning snack.

Seven Weeks Old

By now kittens will need to be pretty independent from their mother as it is likely she has already gone into heat. If she goes into heat they may be neglected by her for a few days. She usually calms down and returns to her kittens.

Eight Weeks Old

A healthy Ragdoll kitten should weigh about 800g at 2 months old. They are very absorbed with playing with their litter mates and learning acceptable cat social skills. It is a critical developmental milestone for them to be able to play with other kittens at this age. They may not be as interested in humans as they were just 2 weeks ago unless the humans are sporting a wand toy.

Nine Weeks Old

During these busy weeks motor skills will improve as they expand their abilities. Their play includes the skills needed for hunting prey. A busy playful kitten is a sign of a thriving kitten. The body should get muscular and bulky. They are also learning proper boundaries from their mother that will serve well in future relationships with humans. They will have their first veterinary check and vaccinations at this age.

Ten Weeks Old

At this stage the coat thickens up and they get that round squeezable kitten look. If it is summer and warm out, they may not get this thicker coat until the cooler weather arrives. The colors in their coat will get darker so the points are more prominent. They will be gulping down lots of food as they keep up with his energy needs.

Eleven Weeks Old

A shift in their personality occurs now. They get calmer and seek human company again. They remember how good a nice scratch and warm human lap feels. They are no longer dependent on their mother to care for their needs and are ready to meet and bond with their special humans.

Twelve Weeks Old

They get their final health check and second vaccination at this age. If they haven’t been removed before, kittens are taken away from Mum at this age, to make their departure easier for them when they go.

Thirteen Weeks Old

They will be neutered at this age prior to going to their new forever homes. They are very independent now, loving to play fight with their siblings. They still sleep lots, but play lots too.

Fourteen Weeks Old

They are now usually ready to go to their new homes and should arrive as happy, healthy, confident bundles of fluff!

Four Months Old

A kitten at this age will start to look less like a kitten and more like a small adult. Their head will be in better proportion to the body. They will start to lose baby teeth and gain adult teeth. Unfortunately they may start to chew on things (wires in particular seems to be a favourite) but this problem can be solved with a few cat chew toys.

Five Months Old

This month is a peak growth stage for kittens, so their need for food is increased. Their growth will slow down after this month. A Ragdoll kitten should gain approx 500g per month until 12 months old. So a kitten at this age should weigh at least 2kg.

Six Months Old

Socially kittens will find their rank in the household about this time. They may challenge not only the rank of the other animals in the house but the humans rank too. This is a time to be firm about household rules otherwise they may decide he has a higher rank than his owners do. trust me, this is not good!

Seven to Ten months Old

For a kitten, this is the teenage stage. It is a time period that reminds us that cats are not that far from their wild ancestors. They really would like to hunt for prey. Firm love and stimulating toys are highly recommended.

Eleven Months Old

A Ragdoll at this age will start to slow down and mature into adulthood. They should calm down and like cuddling more. Their adult personality will begin to show through more and more, as they charge around less and enjoy laps for longer.

One Year old +

They are not babies anymore and have taken on an adult look. Their body will continue to fill out and their muscles strengthen but at a much slower rate. Their eyes and coat color will darken until they are 3 - 4 years old. A Ragdoll also continues to grow until about this time. They are the second largest breed so males can grow to be 15-20lbs and females 12-15lbs.