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Why Are Cats Born With Their Eyes Closed? 

Why Are Cats Born With Their Eyes Closed? 

Why are cats born with their eyes closed, one could wonder. As you are becoming a cat owner, you want to know everything about this little kitten of yours. When a cat gives birth, it is something truly wonderful and we can all agree that kittens are the cutest thing ever.

But, let’s see why we don’t see their gorgeous eyes immediately. 

Kitten’s Closed Eyes

Kitten’s eyes are undeveloped at birth and that is the reason they’re closed after the birth and week after it. They need a few days to develop their eyes enough to open their lid without harming delicate issues, and after a few weeks, their eyes are fully developed as it is the vision. 

As kitten’s eyes are tightly shut when they are born, we can conclude that they cannot open it, it is not like they don’t want to. The tissues of the eyeball are not fully grown to be open yet. 

The eyelids form a protective barrier until their eyes fully develop. 

But how do they seek the momma cat? They sense their mom by touch and body heat, and that’s how they found nipples to nibble on. 

What Happens With Kitten’s Eyes In The First Two Weeks?

Woman holding newborn kittens in her hands

There are cases where kittens slightly open their eyes after two days, but that is quite rare. The majority of kittens will not open their eyes until day 8 at least. 

After the lids are unsealed, to open fully kittens need 2 to 3 days, which will probably happen around the 14th day. 

It doesn’t matter if your kitten has opened its eyes before the 14th day since they are all blind in their first two weeks. 

When Are Kittens Eyes Fully Developed? 

If your kitty has opened its eyes, it doesn’t mean that it has reached its full development. Their vision slightly develops over time because the fluids which are around the lens of the eyeball need to turn from opaque to clear. 

Only at the end of the third week are kittens able to identify their mother by vision. Week 5 has their sight cleared up, but it is not completely developed until week 10. Adult cats and older kittens have extraordinary vision, even in low light that to us appear pitch black. 

Since kitten’s eyes are actually part of their little brains that consist of many various types of tissue, including muscle and nerve cells. That’s why it takes some time to fully develop complex organs  and sight.

Kittens Eyes Are Sensitive

ginger newborn kitten

You need to know that kittens’ eyes are delicate in their first 6 weeks and can get easily infected. So in order to keep their eyes healthy, don’t force their eyes to open and DO NOT touch them.

If you notice that there is discharge, bulging or swelling, take your cat to the vet ASAP.

RELATED: Should I Leave A Light On For My Kitten At Night

How Do Kittens Communicate With Their Eyes Closed? 

You probably wonder how it is possible that your kitten communicates with its momma and you if they don’t see, well you forget that they are born with two senses: smell and touch. So the communication started as early as they were born. 

If you take a kitten and move it in a gentle way, it reminds that kitty of its mother. If you start to feed your kitten early on, it will give them the sense that you’re its provider and caregiver. 

Another thing you’ll probably do is help a kitten to urinate and defecate and as it is an important function it is also in some way a bonding time. 

You can check our kitten feeding chart by age so you can know how to properly feed your kitten from day one. 

When Do Kittens Open Their Eyes?

Little grey kitten turning his head around and meowing and showing his teeth

As we mentioned before, kittens will be born with their eyes shut, since their eyes are outgrowths of their brains and they need some time to develop completely. 

Since their little eyes are sensitive to light, it is crucial that they are closed until they’re ready for the real world. 

So, as we said, newborn kittens will have their eyes slightly open at the end of the second week, but the eyes won’t be wide open. 

Their eyes will open gradually as they need to accustom to the world of light since their eyes are in complete darkness. You should not push your kitten to open its eyes for any reason since their eyes are delicate and can get easily infected in those first weeks of their lives.

Any unusual thing on their eyes is an alarm for you to take your feline to the veterinarian. 2 to 5 weeks old, kittens’ eyes are open, still developing, and looking for fun. 

RELATED: Do Kittens Remember Their Mother?

Kitten’s Eyes Will Be Blue, But Not For Long 

newborn kitten looks from basket

All newborn kittens share the same traits at first: they’re deaf, blind, cannot eat without momma or you, cannot eliminate by themselves, have blue eyes and cannot regulate their body temperatures. 

So if you ever wondered why your cat’s eyes change color it is because they’re born with blue eyes but develop their true eye color later on.  Their true eye color will probably be visible around the 7th week. 

Closing Words

So, why are cats born with their eyes closed? The ultimate answer is that their eyes aren’t fully developed and they need time to evolve. The sight develops gradually over time as the tissue seals.

Make sure not to touch your kitten’s eyes no matter what, take great care of it, be gentle, pour all your love into that relationship with your feline friend and prepare yourself for the best adventure of your life. 

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