Cats give us love and make us smile

As cat owners and people who care deeply for animals and wildlife, we wanted our Cat Encyclopedia to be a website that could empower pet owners to create the most positive, loving environment for their cats. Cat Encyclopedia realizes that owning a house cat is like adding a new member to your family.

For the domestic house cat, raising the young is the mother's responsibility. Born blind, deaf, toothless, newborn domestic kittens are helpless and rely on their mothers to provide food, protection and warmth. An average newborn domestic  house kitten is between 4-6 inches long and weighs only 2 1/2- 4 1/2 ounces. These kittens grow rapidly with the rich diet from the mother cat's milk. Baby kittens help to stimulate the flow of milk by kneading the mother cats stomach with their little paws. By the end of the first week domestic house kittens have doubled their birth weight.  Between the 9th and 12th day, the newborn kittens eyes open, although it will still take a few more days for the kittens to respond  to a light source or movement.

Around the twelfth day of life, the domestic house kitten's first baby teeth begin to appear and the complete set of baby teeth is visible as the kitten reaches 6-8 weeks. Newborn domestic house kittens are unable to walk, their feeble legs unable to hold their weight. Newborn kittens will drag on their bellies or crawl and when they reach their second week of life they begin to stand, and may even walk or hop. It is also in this important second week of life that domestic house kittens begin to hear sounds. They quickly learn to recognize the sound of both their mother and siblings. Around the 3rd week of life young domestic house kittens become much more mobile. They make take short excursions from the nest. 

By 4-5 weeks, young domestic house kittens have fully mature senses, but their motor skills still need work. In walking, climbing,  and leaping these young kittens lack both agility and experience. As domestic house kittens grow to be 4-6 weeks old they will be ready for some solid food to compliment the mothers milk, and by 6-8 domestic house kittens are ready to be weaned from their mother. Within a few short weeks the domestic house kitten has evolved from being totally dependant on it's mother to a state of complete independence

Moving a kitten to a new home: Although with most kittens the transition from mother's milk to solid food is over by the 8th week, you should wait a little while longer before separating a domestic house kitten from it's mother. There are still a few skills the kitten may need to learn from the mother cat so it's best to keep them together until the domestic house kitten is around twelve weeks old. In between the 10th and 12th week kittens will begin to exhibit their true eye color and at around four months teenage kittens will begin to replace their baby teeth with permanent teeth.
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You can improve the lives of outdoor cats with Trap-Neuter-Return, the humane and effective approach for feral cats. To successfully trap, neuter, vaccinate, eartip, and return feral cats, you need a plan. These guidelines for humane trapping from Alley Cat Allies, the organization that helped introduce TNR to the United States, will get you on your way!

Cat Breeds:

Cat Encyclopedia has added beautiful dog photographs on each of our Cat Breed pages to enhance your experience. Each section in Cat Encyclopedia helps to educate pet owners, enabling both the cat, and the owner to have a safe, high quality experience.