when do kittens open their eyes

When Do Kittens Open their Eyes?


Kittens are born with their eyes closed. They usually open their eyes when they are between 8 and 14 days old. See the notes below for information on proper development.

When do Kittens Open Their Eyes?


Dear Simba, I am fairly new to the world of cats. However I am madly in love with the three adult cats we have in our home.
I also have 2 one-year-old cats that live in our garage. We now have five kittens from one of the outside cats we did not have spayed. My kittens are 17-days-old and 3 out of the 5 have not yet opened their eyes. What should I do? Thank you and the kittens say thank you too! Barb

Dear Barb,
Congratulations on the kittens! As you know, kittens are born with their eyes closed. They usually open when the kittens are between 8-14 days old. The eyes will stay blue for 2 more weeks.
If you notice any swelling/bulging under the eyelids, you should open them gently with a cotton ball dampened with warm water (DO NOT use Q-tips). If you see pus dripping from the eyes, it is probably an infection and the kittens should see a vet. If the eyes remain shut after 14 days, your vet should look at them. Other things to look for:
  • At 2 weeks of age, the kittens should be alert and be making attempts to stand up.
  • At 3 weeks, they try to climb outside of their box or pen.
  • At 4 weeks, all of the kittens should be walking, running and playing.
Best of luck and keep me posted. Simba

Kitten's Eyes Were Open BUT Are Now Closed


Dear Simba,
I have 4, 16-day old kittens, and their mother, but one of my kittens never opened it is left eye. And just this evening, I noticed that another kitten, whose eyes were open before, had one of its eyes closed. I was thinking it might be an infection, should I apply boric acid? ~Concerned

Dear Concerned,
I would recommend against your applying any boric acid to the kittens, as you could risk blindness. If you would like to clean their eyes, consider using a cotton ball, moistened with saline. With it, cleanse the outside of the eyelid very gently. Do not penetrate the eye or go behind the eye lid.

What you describe could be an infection, although only a vet can make the call. A visit may be worthwhile. Simba