The first few weeks of a kitten’s life are a crucial period of rapid growth and development. It is during this time that their senses gradually awaken, allowing them to explore the world around them. One of the most anticipated milestones is the opening of their eyes but nature does not always adhere to a strict timetable, and occasionally, kittens may exhibit delayed eye opening. Why is this so?
Each kitten is unique and may have their own pace of development. Kittens typically open their eyes between 7 to 12 days after birth. However, just like with humans, there is variability in developmental timelines. Some kittens may take a little longer to venture into the two-week mark. There are circumstances where a delay could be linked to health issues such as congenital glaucoma, conjunctivitis, or corneal abrasion.
If you suspect any underlying conditions or see troubling symptoms like redness, swelling, or discharge, it is paramount to visit your veterinarian to run tests that can help rule out any eye or health problem. Also, if your kitten shows signs of distress, such as excessive grooming, restlessness or loss of appetite , then it’s time to seek veterinary help.
Why Hasn’t My 2 Week Old Kitten Open Its Eyes??
Your two-week-old kitten may not have opened its eyes because of some of the following reasons;
1. Eye Opening Just Takes Longer In Some Kittens
It’s important to note that the timing of eye-opening can vary among individual kittens. While most kittens may open their eyes between 7 and 10 days of age, some may take longer. Also, long-haired kittens tend to open their eyes at a much later time compared to their short-haired counterparts. As long as the kitten is otherwise healthy and showing no signs of discomfort or infection, delayed eye opening could simply be a natural variation.
2. Eye Infection
An eye infection can be a reason why your kitten’s eyes have not opened by two weeks of age. Newborn kittens are prone to bacterial or viral infections, which can lead to conjunctivitis, where the mucous membrane that lines the outer surface of the eyeballs and the inner surface of the eyelids is inflamed. If you notice symptoms such as redness, swelling, or a discharge that might be goopy or crusty, it could indicate an eye infection.
These symptoms should not be ignored as untreated eye infections can lead to serious complications.
3. Corneal Abrasion
A corneal abrasion, or scratch on the kitten’s eye, could delay the eye-opening process. This can occur from an accidental scratch from a sibling or even from the birthing process. A kitten with a corneal abrasion may show signs of discomfort, such as frequent squinting, rubbing of the eyes, or sensitivity to light.
Immediate veterinary attention is essential if a corneal abrasion is suspected. The veterinarian will likely perform a fluorescein stain test to identify any scratches on the cornea. Treatment may involve topical antibiotics to prevent infection and pain management to provide comfort to the kitten.
4. Cat Cold (Feline Upper Respiratory Infection)
Feline Upper Respiratory Infection (URI), often referred to as the “cat cold,” is a prevalent condition in kittens. Just as in humans, the common cold in cats is caused by a viral infection, most frequently by the Feline Herpesvirus (FHV-1) or Feline Calicivirus (FCV).
These viruses can lead to symptoms including sneezing, nasal congestion, lethargy, loss of appetite, and eye-related symptoms such as a runny or goopy discharge from the eyes. The eye discharge can be particularly problematic as it can cause the eyelids to become sticky and prevent them from opening properly, especially in very young kittens.
5. Congenital Issues
In some cases, a kitten may have congenital issues affecting the eyes, such as congenital glaucoma or ankyloblepharon. Congenital glaucoma refers to increased pressure within the eye, which can hinder eye development and delay eye-opening. Ankyloblepharon is a condition where the eyelids are partially or completely fused, preventing normal eye-opening. These congenital issues usually require veterinary diagnosis and treatment.
Remember that any concerns about a kitten’s eye development should be addressed by a veterinarian. They can provide a proper diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatment based on the specific situation.
How Long Does It Take For Kittens To Open Their Eyes?
Kittens are born with their eyes closed, and the process of their eyes opening is an important milestone in their early development. The time it takes for kittens to open their eyes can vary, but typically, it occurs within 7 to 14 days after birth. However, there can be some variations depending on factors such as breed, genetics, and individual development.
At birth, kittens are completely dependent on their mother for nourishment and care. During the first few days of their lives, they rely on their senses of touch, smell, and hearing to interact with their surroundings.
Around the second week, the kittens’ eyes begin to undergo changes as their bodies develop. The eyelids start to gradually open, revealing a thin slit of the eye underneath. Initially, the eyes might appear cloudy or bluish, and the kittens’ vision is still limited. As the days pass, the eyesight improves, and the eye color becomes more apparent. The process of the eyes fully opening usually takes a few days. By around two to three weeks of age, most kittens have their eyes fully open, and their vision becomes clearer. At this point, they start exploring their environment more actively and begin to interact with their littermates and the world around them.
Overall, the opening of a kitten’s eyes is an exciting stage in their early development, marking the beginning of their visual exploration and increased interaction with their environment.
Can You Help Baby Kittens Open Their Eyes?
Typically, the eyes of a kitten will start to open when they are around one to two weeks old. The exact timing can vary among individual kittens, but it is important not to force them but allow their eyes to open naturally.
If a pet owner tries to forcibly open a kitten’s eyes, it can cause unnecessary stress and potential harm to the delicate tissues surrounding the eyes. It is essential to remember that the opening of their eyes is a gradual process controlled by their growth and development. Attempting to intervene by force can lead to eye infections, injuries, and complications.
As a responsible pet owner, you can support the health and well-being of newborn kittens in other ways. Provide a warm and comfortable environment for them, ensure they are nursing properly, and keep their living area clean. If you have concerns about a kitten’s eye development or notice any signs of infection, it is best to consult a veterinarian who can provide appropriate guidance and care.
What Do You Do If Your Two Week Old Kitten Eyes Are Crusted Or Matted Shut
If you notice that your two-week-old kitten’s eyes are crusted or matted shut, you may want to take action promptly to ensure the health and well-being of the kitten. Here are the steps you can follow:
1. Inspect the Closed Eyes
Gently examine the kitten’s closed eyes to get a better understanding of the situation. Look for any signs of redness, swelling, discharge, or other abnormalities. This information will be helpful to you when discussing the issue with a veterinarian.
2. Take Him to the Vet
It is strongly recommended to take your kitten to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Crusted or matted shut eyes in kittens can be indicative of various eye problems. The vet will likely perform a comprehensive eye examination, checking for any signs of infection, injury, or congenital issues. They may also test for conditions like conjunctivitis, corneal ulcers, or other underlying problems. Depending on their findings, appropriate treatment options will be discussed.
3. Clean Your Kitten’s Crusty Eye
While waiting for your vet appointment, you can take some measures to clean the kitten’s crusty eyes gently. Use a clean, damp cloth or cotton ball moistened with warm water to carefully wipe away any discharge or crusting around the eyes. Be extremely gentle and avoid applying pressure to the eyes. It’s essential to note that this step should not replace veterinary care. Cleaning the eyes helps to temporarily alleviate discomfort and ensure the kitten’s vision is not impaired while waiting for professional examination and treatment.
When To Worry About Your Kitten Eyes Not Open?
However, if a kitten’s eyes remain closed at two weeks old, it may be a cause for concern. Here are some specific signs to watch out for:
1. Crust Formation Or Colored Discharge (Goopy, Crusty, or Runny Eyes)
The first signs of eye health issues in kittens can be crusty, runny, or goopy eyes. This is generally indicative of an underlying issue such as an infection, which is fairly common in newborn kittens. The crust or discharge may be clear, white, yellow, or even green, and it may be consistent or intermittent. Some discharge is normal, but excessive or ongoing discharge can be a sign of a problem. It may cause the kitten’s eyelids to stick together, preventing them from opening properly.
If your kitten’s eyes are not open and there’s discharge or crust, it’s important to take it seriously. A colored or thick discharge can signal a bacterial infection, while a clear discharge could point to a viral infection or other problems.
2. Redness Or Swelling
Redness or swelling around a kitten’s eyes can indicate a variety of health problems, including infections, trauma, or allergenic responses. In newborn kittens, redness or swelling that persists after the expected time for the eyes to open (usually 7 to 10 days after birth) could indicate an issue. Persistent redness could suggest inflammation from an infection or eye disease, while swelling might suggest a physical injury or abnormal growth.
Immediate veterinary attention is necessary if the redness or swelling is accompanied by other concerning symptoms like discharge, closed eyes, or signs of pain.
3. Rubbing of The Eye
If your kitten is frequently rubbing its eyes or seems to be in discomfort, it may be a sign of an underlying issue. Rubbing can indicate irritation, such as that caused by a foreign body in the eye, an allergic reaction, or an infection. It’s essential to monitor this behavior, as excessive rubbing can cause further harm to the eye, leading to scratches on the cornea or even trauma.
4. Signs Of Distress
Signs of distress in a kitten, particularly one with unopened eyes, could indicate a significant health problem. If the kitten is crying frequently, refusing to eat, has difficulty breathing, or shows changes in behavior, these can be signs of discomfort or pain. Particularly in the case of eye-related issues, a kitten may show signs of distress if it is experiencing pain or discomfort due to an infection, trauma, or an eye disorder.
5. Physical Injury To The Eyes
Kittens are curious and can accidentally injure their eyes while exploring their surroundings. If you notice any signs of trauma, such as scratches, cuts, or swelling around the eyes, it is crucial to seek veterinary care promptly. Delaying treatment could potentially result in long-term complications or vision loss.
Do not hesitate to consult your Veterinarian if you have any concerns about your newly born kittens
Keeping Dog’s Kitten Eyes Healthy ( How To Prevent Eye Infection Or Injuries In Kittens)
Keeping a kitten’s eyes healthy is crucial for their overall well-being. Proper care and preventive measures can help prevent eye infections and injuries. Here are some essential guidelines to ensure the well-being of your kitten’s eyes:
1. Regular Check-ups: Schedule regular veterinary check-ups for your kitten. Veterinarians can examine the eyes thoroughly, identify any potential issues, and provide appropriate treatment or advice.
2. Cleanliness: Keep the kitten’s living environment clean and free from any potential irritants or contaminants. Regularly clean their bedding, litter box, and surrounding areas to minimize the risk of eye infections
3. Gentle Cleaning: Occasionally, kittens may have discharge or debris around their eyes. Use a clean, damp cloth or a cotton ball to gently wipe away any discharge. Avoid using harsh chemicals or substances that can irritate the eyes.
4. Proper Nutrition: Feed your kitten a balanced and nutritious diet to support their overall health, including eye health. Consult your veterinarian for appropriate food choices and supplements that promote eye health.
5. Avoid Irritants: Keep your kitten away from smoke, dust, chemicals, or any other potential irritants that could cause eye discomfort or inflammation. If using any cleaning products or chemicals around the house, ensure proper ventilation.
6. Vaccinations: Ensure your kitten receives appropriate vaccinations to prevent infectious diseases that can affect their eyes. Regular vaccinations help protect against conditions like feline herpesvirus and calicivirus, which can cause eye infections.
7. Protect From Sunlight: Direct sunlight exposure can damage a kitten’s eyes. If your kitten spends time outdoors, provide shade or use pet-specific sunglasses to protect their eyes from harmful UV rays.
8. Promptly Address Issues: If you notice any changes in your kitten’s eyes, such as redness, swelling, discharge, squinting, or excessive tearing, seek veterinary attention promptly. Early intervention can prevent the progression of eye problems.
Remember, each kitten is unique, and their growth milestones may vary. However, most kittens open their eyes between 7 to 12 days of age, some may take a bit longer so two weeks with eyes still closed may not be much of a concern except there are visible signs like colored discharge, redness, and swelling. Regardless, it’s best to have your dog checked to rule out any potential underlying issues.
Furthermore, taking preventative steps to ensure your kitten’s overall health can contribute to their eye health as well. A clean environment, a nutritious diet, regular vaccinations, and shielding them from harsh sunlight are some ways to keep your kitten healthy and their eyes infection-free.