I think all new breeders and future Guardians will need a Kitten Care Guide Week by Week at some point in their lives. This one is being written in real time, as my first litter of Maine Coon kittens grows up right in front of our eyes.
They develop so rapidly and things so quickly, that it’ll be intriguing to document each week of growth, and what is required from both me and the mama cat to take care of her kittens.
I’ll be updating it in real time, but once they’re old enough to go home, I’ll close the article with a farewell to the kittens. Each person who reads and follows along will be able to experience what it’s like to have kittens. From newborn age to kittens who are old enough to leave home (10-12 weeks old) and start their new lives with their forever Guardians, this journey is documented week by week.
Newborn Maine Coon Kittens
The feeling of having brand new kittens around is similar to a brand new human baby, especially if you haven’t been around one in a while. They seem so fragile and delicate. Almost breakable it seems. I don’t see a need to handle the kittens right now, so I left mama cat to rest and bond with her kindle.
Mama cat hardly ever leaves the kitten box. She seems exhausted for the first 2 days, but totally in love with her babies. You can see it in her body language, her purrs and her interaction with her new offspring. It’s fascinating to watch natural instincts take over. She’s not eating much but spending all of her time with her newborn Maine Coon Kittens.
After the third day, Ursula’s appetite came back and she was ready for her meals! She scarfs up her food and hurries back to her kitten box. She’s the most dedicated cat mom I’ve ever seen. I’m picking the babies up and handling them for a few minutes at a time now. I give them tiny little head rubs and try to take a few photos. Ursula is right on top of everything. She wants to know what I’m doing.
When I pick up one of the babies, I make sure to keep them close to Ursula so she can see them, and know that I’m not trying to hurt them. She looks concerned, but she trusts me. She just makes a little chirping noise to let me know its ok. She’s proud of her beautiful Maine Coon babies.
1 Week Old Maine Coon Kittens
By the end of week 1, I can tell that Ursula is settling into her new life as a cat mom. She’s spending a LITTLE more time outside of her kitten box. This is always when the kittens are sleeping, and not making any noises at all. One little peep from the babies and she hops right back in.
During the first week of life, the Maine Coon kittens have gained about 4 ounces each. I can see them getting physically stronger every single day as far as the way they scoot around and how they hold their little heads up. My job as the breeder has been relatively easy during the first week. I check on the babies and Ursula at least 15-20 times per day but Ursula is doing all of the kitten care.
Now that the first week is in the history books, I can honestly say that I had no idea what was about to hit me. The passion and enthusiasm I have for Maine Coons runs deep. Once the babies arrived all of that was validated so much more! My heart is warm and full right now. These kittens are perfect and Ursula is the perfect cat mom.
2 Week Old Maine Coon Kittens
When Do Kittens Eyes Open?
Day 8, during the evening I went in to check on the kittens and one of the babies has a tiny little peephole into the world! by the next day the other kitten had her eyes open. It take about 2 days for them to open up all the way. It may sound strange, but once their little eyes start opening, they really come to life!! Eyes are the windows to the soul.
Here’s a photo of one baby girl when her eyes first started to open.
After 10 days old, they can both see the world! The vision of a kitten isn’t clear until their 10-12 weeks old. So I imagine it probably looks like it does through my eyes when I try to drive at night without my glasses. But when I walk into the room, the look up at me! It’s so dang adorable.
Kittens Start to Scoot Around in Week 2
Not only do the Kittens eyes start to open in the second week, but they start to get mobile. They’re certainly not up on their feet walking around, but they’re “scooting” around. They’re super wobbly and shaky. It’s really amazing that something that’s only been in the world for 10 days can get up and start getting around. Rapid development is definitely going on in kitten world.
Here’s a video of Little Clare taking some of her first steps!
Mama Kitty Finally Takes a Break
Ursula has spent nearly the entire first week of the kitten’s lives in the birthing box with them. By the second week, she seems well rested, her appetite is ferocious, and she has her figure back already!
She’s finally getting used to the new life as a cat mom, and knows that she needs to take advantage of the quiet time when the babies are sleeping. She’s such a good mom!
The kittens snuggle together to stay warm. They take lots of naps. [No Surprise]
3 Week Old Maine Coon Kittens
The third week of life brings new enlightenment. The Maine Coon babies are on their feet and getting traction now. They’re much less wobbly than before. Still not steady but a lot more mobile and determined to get somewhere.
The appearance of the kittens starts to take shape. They’re really starting to look like adorable fluffy kittens. Their little heads are rounding out, and their fur is shaggy and soft. They both have obvious personalities very different from one another.
The kittens have officially graduated from the kitten box to their bigger kitten playpen! They have more space now to start venturing out into some long strides while they learn how to become strong playful kittens. They’ll stay in here until they’re able to escape on their own, which should be a couple of weeks. Then they’ll have their run of the nursery.
Every day is a new experience. I’m always in the nursery with the kittens. It seems like they change by the hour. One minute their ears a little floppy. The next time I check on them, their ears are standing up! It happens that fast.
I totally understand what breeders mean when they say the experience of raising Maine Coon kittens is rewarding.
All I can say is how remarkable it is to see these Maine Coon kittens grow and develop each week into beautiful, big cats.
4 Week Old Maine Coon Kittens
Week 4 was busy and exciting for everyone here at Sassy Koonz Maine Coon Cattery in Jacksonville Florida!
When Do Kittens Get Teeth?
During their fourth week of life, Maine Coon kittens have teeth and now they can officially bite you. Of course their little teeth are tiny and it doesn’t hurt if they nibble. If you tickle their tummies they’ll show you how their little teeth work.
Since they have teeth now, I’m starting to feed Ursula in the Sassy playpen with her babies. She gets wet food in the morning, and dry food the rest of the time. They have special tiny kibbles for cats and kittens, so that when they’re ready to eat big kitty food, it will be easy for them. So far, they’ve shown absolutely zero interest in any food other than their mommy.
When Do Kittens Drink Water
I had the babies out of their Sassy playpen and was lying on the floor with them. There was a bowl of water there and one of the kittens went up to the water bowl and stuck her head in it. She got a little in her nose and snorted a tiny bit. Then she realized that it was water and she loved it!
Ursula quickly ran over to the water bowl, and showed her kittens how to drink the proper way. It was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. Then mama kitty sat close by while the kittens lapped up their first drink of water. Some of the footage was caught on video. Enjoy this. It’s adorable!
When Do Kittens Start Walking?
As you know, the Maine Coon kittens have been wobbling around for a couple of weeks. This week, however, they’re standing up straight and have found their balance. They can “almost” run! They do get a little thrown off when they try to run. As far as walking around though they’ve got it down. No problem.
Kittens Play Fighting
It’s hard to pick out what these babies do that’s the cutest, but when they play fight with each other it’s too much. To be such tiny little creatures they act all grown up, including fighting and kicking each other with their back legs.
Catch a little glimpse of what it looks like when tiny little Maine Coon Kittens duke it out with each other.
It’s Playtime in the Sassy Koonz Nursery
Now that the kittens have some stability, they’re starting to play with toys. I’ve added a few small toys in their playpen like balls and a weeble wobble. LOL.
The Maine Coon babies are starting to lose their “goofy” look and grow into beautiful little kittens.
If you’re interested in adopting one of our Maine Coon kittens, the first step is to become a Pre-Approved Guardian.
5 Week Old Maine Coon Kittens
The week they become real kittens. This week was remarkable to watch. They’ve suddenly become a little pouncing furball of happiness! It’s complete madness in the kitten nursery unless they’re sleeping. When it’s time to take a nap, they literally just stop what they’re doing and close their eyes. It’s lights out.
Pounce, Play, Pounce, Pounce
The kittens are pouncing around, and when they get going, they’re “hopping” everywhere. It’s adorable. They’ll play with toys now, and chase strings. For the most part, Ursula now sits high in her cat tree basket watching over them. If they make any weird noises she dives down to investigate.
They love to pick on their mama! It’s joyous to watch her lying around with her daughters, and their chewing on her ears and chasing her tail. She just acts like she’s in heaven the whole time, never flinching a muscle while they nibble on her ears with their tiny teeth.
When do kittens eat real food?
The kittens are still nursing from mom, but they now have canned food and dry kitten kibble in their playpen. So they’re learning from their mama how to eat.
Guess What? They’re going Potty in the Litter box!
I added a little low sided litter box for the babies with non-clumping litter into their playground. it took a couple of days, but then I came in and found that someone peed in there! Now it’s a regular thing! I didn’t see it go down but I’m assuming Ursula showed them how to get it done. Now, they’re getting it done! 😀
6 Week Old Maine Coon Kittens
Kitten Romper Room!
Walking into the Kitten Nursery is like walking into Romper Room. They don’t just walk around anymore. They HOP around like little kangaroos. They’re awake alot more these days, and you can hear their little paw pitter pattering all over the floor any time they’re awake. They spend all of their waking hours playing!!
I’ve had them in a small area with a baby gate, but they’re starting to climb. So I took that down and now Ursula and the kittens have the whole room to themselves. Getting the room ready is like preparing for a crawling baby. Anything that is at their level needs to be kitten proof, and they need alot of toys!
Before I took the baby gate down, I was sitting with them in their little pen and videoing, hoping to catch a cute moment. I moved my foot and scared the poop out of Clare! LOL
What age are kittens weaned from their mothers?
The kittens are eating on their own now, both canned food and dry kitten kibbles. Ursula does allow them to nurse sometimes, but I can tell that it’s short-lived. If they catch her lying down she’ll tolerate it for about 30 seconds, but then she gets up quickly and runs away. She’s teaching them to be independent now. I’m sure those little teeth hurt if they bite the wrong spot too hard.
Greetings When you Walk in the Room
The babies know the sound of the door when you open it. So no matter what they’re doing – even dead asleep, they jump up and run to the door. They’re excited to greet you and start climbing up your legs. My legs are scratched up from them climbing all over me but it’s ok. They’ll heal. LOL My husband was asking me “What happened to your leg”? Now he knows I’ve been sitting on the floor with the kittens.
7 Week Old Maine Coon Kittens
Time for First Set of Vaccinations for the Kittens
This week the kittens were loaded up in the cat stroller and walked to the veterinary office. We live just a couple of blocks, so it’s a fun walk. They got to see outside for the first time!
The vet loved the kittens! Pink was just fine with her exam and shots but Clare was a sassy little thing and put up a little fight. LOL. They’ll go back again in 3 weeks for their booster shots, and then the new Guardians will take them in for their final booster vaccine and Rabies shot.
8 Week Old Maine Coon Kittens
The Kittens Are Out of The Nursery! Since the babies got their first set of vaccinations last week, they were able to come out of the nursery where they’ve been residing since birth. At first I just opened the door to the nursery and put up a baby gate, but that didn’t last long!
What a big new world for them. They’ve gotten to meet several big boy cats, a dog, and run around the living room like crazy!
I let them out any time I’m at home (so I can monitor) to socialize with the cats and the family and get used to large living space
They are NON STOP, I tell ya. It’s so much fun to watch and I think that THIS might be the most fun week of watching them so far. They are full of energy, high leaps, and personality. If they’re awake they aren’t lounging around like the older cats they are high tailing it through the house, wrestling with one another and jumping and climbing on everything.
The big guys just love to sit around and watch the babies. It’s definitely a high energy form of entertainment for them!
There’s not much time left for the babies at Sassy Koonz. In just a few more week they’ll begin their new lives with their new Guardians. It’s bittersweet for me. Until then, I’ll be lapping up every but of playtime and snuggles with these kittens until they begin their new journey.
9 Week Old Maine Coon Kittens
The kittens are 9 weeks old now and they have the run of the house except at night when I’m asleep. I’ve monitored them enough to feel comfortable letting them explore and be kittens, and learn to live a household with normal sounds like vacuum cleaners, people talking, TV’s doors opening and closing and little Pink Floyd playing in the background.
They do like hanging out with the big cats, for sure! In fact,Pink and Omega have become very good friends. They are ALWAYS together.
10 Week Old Maine Coon Kittens
11 Week Old Maine Coon Kittens
They’re Acting Like Big Cats Now. The babies have really matured. They’re independent, have their own likes and dislikes as far as favorite places to sleep and hide. They even know the sound of the treats being served up in the treat tower, which they come running for.
I can see why keeping the kittens for 12 weeks to become fully socialized with humans, pets, sounds and lifestyle is so critical for development. The difference in their behavior from the first time I let them come out of the nursery until now is just remarkable. They’re cool and confident little kittens, who like to explore the WHOLE house (even upstairs!!)
12 Week Old Maine Coon Kittens
The Maine Coon kittens are ready to go to their new homes now! It’s a bittersweet time for me. My job is done. I’ve loved and nurtured these babies for the past 12 weeks so that someone else can love them for the rest of their lives. What a wonderful experience to watch these wonderful Maine Coon kittens grow into amazing young cats.
When Can Maine Coon kittens go home?
Maine Coon kittens can go home to be with their new families when they’re around 12 weeks old. This gives them the best chance at bring socialized not only from their mothers, but from humans. They’ll have the confidence they need to be well adjusted cats in their new environments.