How to Control Your Kittens Weight

Has your cat had kittens? Congratulations! To make sure the offspring are growing and thriving, you should regularly check the kittens’ weight. This article will give you a guide to the correct weight and shows you what to look for when weighing your little house tiger.

How Much Does a Newborn Kitten Weigh?

A newborn kitten weighs around 100 grams, which is just as much as a bar of chocolate. With a torso length of about ten centimeters, it fits easily in the hand of an adult.

The birth weight depends, among other things, on the breed of the parents and the size of the litter. Kittens from a large litter are usually smaller and lighter than kittens from a small litter. Even as a puppy, a Norwegian forest cat weighs more than a Siamese cat, for example.

The mother’s living conditions during pregnancy also play a role. Stress, illness, and malnutrition can negatively affect kittens’ weight at birth. Conversely, a well-balanced, well-nourished mother cat is more likely to have heavy babies.

As a rule of thumb, newborn kittens should weigh around two to three percent of their mother’s weight. For example, if the mother weighs four kilograms, the kitten should weigh around 80 to 120 grams.

Breast Milk: Important for Healthy Growth

Kittens are born blind and deaf. It takes about ten to 14 days for them to open their eyes and begin to hear.

In the first days of their lives, kittens are completely dependent on their mother. It offers warmth, protection, and food. The mother’s milk ensures that the baby cats are big and strong. Above all, the first breast milk (colostrum) is rich in proteins, enzymes, and antibodies and strengthens the immune system of the little velvet paws.

Breast milk is the only source of nutrition until around four weeks of age. From then on, kittens can slowly get used to solid foods.

Did you know that every kitten has its “favorite teat” that it visits again and again? A clever device of nature. Because this avoids arguments between the siblings.

Development of Weight in Kittens

Kitties often lose some weight in the first two to three days after giving birth. After that, however, the kitten’s weight should continue to increase. Until they are twelve weeks old, they gain an average of 70 to 100 grams per week. When baby teeth breakthrough, small cats often have less appetite and gain weight a little more slowly.

The development is the same in males and females up to about the eighth week of life. Then the difference between the sexes becomes noticeable: Small cats put on weight faster than small cats.

The following table is intended to give you a guide to the weight your kittens should have at a certain age. Of course, all of the information is only average:

The Weight of Kittens by Age

  • 1-week eyes closed – most of the time is spent drinking and sleeping – 200 grams;
  • 2 weeks – kitten begins to open his eyes – 300 grams;
  • 4 weeks – first milk teeth erupt. It is slowly becoming possible to switch to solid food – 500 grams;
  • 8-week – male cats gain weight faster than cats – 900 grams;
  • 12 weeks – the permanent teeth replace the milk teeth – 1,700 grams;
  • 6 to 8 months of sexual maturity; by eight months, cats have reached 80 percent of their ultimate weight – 4,000 grams;
  • 12 months – the cat is fully grown – 5,000 grams.

Weigh Kittens Correctly

So that you always stay up to date on the weight, you should weigh your cat’s offspring twice a day – ideally always at the same time. You then enter the weight in a weight log. In this way, you will quickly notice when a kitten’s weight stagnates or even decreases over a long period of time.

It is best to use kitchen scales for weighing. Personal scales are too imprecise for weighing kittens and are therefore not suitable. To do this, place the kitten in a plastic bowl or in a small cardboard box. Make sure to subtract the weight of the container from the total weight (tare).

Especially in the first few weeks of life, when the kittens are still very small and helpless, they should not be separated from the mother for too long. You should therefore deposit the scales close to mother and children so that you don’t have to carry the little ones into the kitchen to weigh them.

Causes of Being Underweight

If your kitten’s weight is barely gaining weight, this can have many causes: it can happen that the mother cat does not give enough milk or that the milk does not contain enough nutrients.

While a cat produces milk for its offspring – this phase is also called lactation – a cat needs 1.3 to 2.5 times as much energy from food. The protein requirement in particular is increased. Mother cats, therefore, need easily digestible food that is rich in nutrients and provides a lot of energy. Also, always make sure you have enough freshwater.

If the Weight is Too Low: the Kitten Must Be Seen by the Vet

If a kitten gains too little weight or even loses it, the motto is: Go to the vet! You shouldn’t waste any time in such a case. Kittens are extremely sensitive creatures and underweight can quickly become life-threatening.

Parasites such as worms can be responsible for the fact that a kitten weighs too little. A veterinarian can help with medication. It is also possible that the kitten is sick and has no strength to suckle on the mother’s teat. Or they have a congenital disability, such as a cleft palate.

To be on the safe side, you should have the baby cats examined by the vet for congenital diseases soon after they are born.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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