A kitten is a tiny thing at birth – a few days later its weight has increased noticeably. As a kitten owner, you can practically watch the house tiger grow. But what weight is normal and in which steps does the fur worm reach its ideal weight? Read here which values you can use as a guide and how normal weight development works.
About 100 grams – the newborn kitten
When the kitten is born, it weighs between 80 and 110 grams. The breed also plays a role here: A Maine Coon kitten will be slightly heavier at birth than a delicate Devon Rex baby. Weight gain over the next few months is, therefore, more important than a binding “starting weight”. In the first weeks of life, the kittens feed exclusively on the rich mother’s milk. Incidentally, the little ones recognize “their” favorite teat at Mama’s milk bar by the smell. If for any reason the kitten grows up being bottle-fed, the replacement food will be scheduled according to age to ensure a comparable calorie or quantity intake.
This is how you control the weight of the kittens
As the kittens grow up in your household, it’s important that you carefully monitor their weight gain.
Forward in increments of ten: the average weight gain
The average kitten gain should be at least 10 grams per day and not less than 100 grams per week. It should also be taken into account that tomcats gain weight a little more than their female siblings and kittens from a large litter tend to be smaller. Between the fourth and eighth week of life, the weaning from mother’s milk and the switch to solid food also take place. The weight table for kittens in the first few weeks looks like this for the “ordinary” cat:
- Birth: 100 grams
- Week 1: 200 grams
- Week 2: 300 grams
- Week 3: 400 grams
- Week 4: 500 grams
- Week 5: 600 grams
- Week 6: 700 grams
- Week 7: 800 grams
- Week 8: 900 grams
Sexual dimorphism sets in around the ninth and tenth week of life: tomcats sometimes gain more weight and faster than female kittens. The 100 grams per week rule no longer applies.
Note that weight gain is not necessarily linear and if weighed daily, values may stagnate for a day or two. As long as the weight doesn’t drop, everything is fine. Attention is called for when the scales tip downwards.
What to do if the kitten is losing weight or is not heavy enough?
When checking the daily weight, compare the current status of the kitten with the values from the table, including an upper and lower tolerance range if necessary if it is a larger or very delicate breed. If you notice noticeable fluctuations or significant downward deviations, you must act.
Causes of weight loss:
- Parasites: If the kitten is losing weight despite eating normally, it may have a worm infestation. For example, the kitten may have been infected through breast milk. The veterinarian determines the cause by examining the stool and counteracts this with medication.
- Not enough mother’s milk: Especially in the first few weeks of life, when the kittens are exclusively suckled, a deficiency becomes noticeable in the form of insufficient weight gain.
- Make sure that the mother cat gets enough protein-rich food: during lactation she needs significantly more easily digestible, energy-rich food and vitamins. If the mother still does not produce enough milk, you must have a dropper, bottle, and a suitable milk replacer ready.
- Sucking reflex: The kitten may not have the strength to get enough milk from the teat, or there may be an obstruction such as a cleft palate. It is therefore important to check kittens for the cleft palate as early as a few days after birth.
- Diarrhea is life-threatening for a kitten because the little body quickly dehydrates and breaks down. Do not waste time and seek professional help from the veterinarian.
- Teething: The eruption of milk teeth can also temporarily curb a kitten’s appetite if it causes irritation in the mouth.