Did you know all kittens are born with their eyes closed? Until their eyes are fully developed, the eyelids remain sealed shut to protect them.
Kittens grow at an incredible rate during their first few weeks of life and vets, rescues and other caregivers often use kittens’ eyes as one indication of how old the babies are.
While a kitten’s eyes may begin opening around 7-10 days, between 10-14 days they open more frequently and then around 2-3 weeks, they will be completely open, according to Best Friends Animal Society.
Some things can encourage kittens to open their eyes earlier, says the ASPCA. Early socialization is critical to a kitten’s development and kittens who are handled and stroked, even for just a few minutes each day, may open their eyes earlier. They also tend to begin venturing from their mama earlier and, in general, be less fearful.
You should never attempt to open a kitten’s eyes yourself, though, says Dr. Shelby Neely, a veterinarian specializing in cats. It’s important to wait until a kitten’s eyes are ready to open on their own,
And, Dr. Neely says, kittens are prone to certain eye infections so if you see a greenish, whitish or yellowish discharge seeping from the corner of your kitten’s eyes whether they are closed or open, take the little one to the vet right away.
And, believe it or not, all kittens’ eyes are blue at first! They stay that way for a few weeks and then adjust to their permanent color, usually a more greenish color, adds Dr. Neely.
According to About.com, even after kittens’ eyes open, they are still developing, so a kitten’s vision is likely blurry for several weeks. And, while they develop, a kitten’s pupils don’t dilate or contract readily, so you should make sure young kittens are protected from bright lights or direct sunlight.
While kittens’ eyes may be fully open a few weeks prior, it’s not until around week five, says Dr. Neely, that kittens should be able to see pretty clearly.
And that’s good because around this age, they are getting quite adventurous and need those eyes to explore their new worlds!
By Caroline Golon