The Puppy and the Dog They have been man’s companion through the ages and adapted to their owners, but they have their own behavioural and nutritional demands. Knowing and respectingthem will guarantee their health and well-being.

The cat’s feline nature is always a matter of fascination.He adapts with apparent ease to daily life, and yet he has behavioural and nutritional requirements of his own. Knowing them and respecting them will guarantee his well-being and his health.

Because of its composition, a Royal Canin Health Nutrition food provides all essential nutrients measured out with utmost precision in order to contribute every day and on a long-term basis to the well-being and health of every animal, according to his age, his size, his physiological condition and his breed.

Innovation for the sake of dogs and cats’ health. For over 40 years, Royal Canin has worked with breeder partners and veterinary nutritionists to go ever further into innovation and precision to enable us to formulate nutritional solutions which perfectly meet dogs and cats’ real needs.

Home > Kittens and Cats > The Kitten > Growth, a key stage > From birth to weaning

Growth, a key stage


No experience can replace these few fascinating months during which the kitten blooms to become an adult cat. This evolution should take place in complete serenity, by adhering to a few essential rules with respect to choosing his breed and welcoming him at home, and by providing him with nutrition and care that will ensure his well-being and health.

A period to be watched

From birth through weaning, a kitten weighing about one hundred grams is completely dependent on his mother teaching him his skills as an adult and determines his dietary preferences.

Giving birth

The female cat’s gestation lasts, on average, 63 to 66 days. A few days before giving birth, the anxious female cat looks for a quiet place, sheltered from light, where she will be able to make her nest. These will likely include a box with the bottom covered up with clean pieces of fabric, placed in the bottom of a wardrobe, provided that she may lie down comfortably there with her little ones. The calm and reassuring presence of her owner is vital at this time.

Sharp contractions of the uterus lead to the birth of each kitten, at intervals of about 30 to 60 minutes. The female tears open the amniotic sac and draws out the head of the newborn, warming him up and stimulating his breathing with intense licking. The litter may be composed of between 1 and 10 kittens (extremes being exceptional) weighing 70 to 150 grams each, depending on the breed.

His first four weeks

As soon as the umbilical cord has been cut and the kitten cleaned up by his mother, he crawls to one of her teats, guided by the warmth and smell of his mother. His first feeds do not give him milk yet, but colostrum, which contains numerous antibodies essential to ensure his first immune defenses.

Sucking and sleeping in contact with his mother and siblings are the kitten’s only activities during these very first days. Completely dependent on his mother, his struggle for life has already begun as he tries to appropriate the best possible teat. Being blind and deaf, his most developed senses are his sense of smell (olfaction) and his sense of touch. His sense of hearing is functional as early as his 5th day of age. Between 7 and 15 days of age, he opens his eyes. He may orient himself with his sense of hearing from his 14th day of age. Around 17 days of age, he starts to walk on his four legs. At 1 month of age, he is able to orient himself by sounds, light and smells.

From pre-weaning to weaning

After the colostrum received during the first hours of his life, the kitten sucks maternal milk. In the event of a large litter, the female cat’s lactation being insufficient or is he is separated from his mother, you can use Royal Canin Babycat Milk. The kitten’s ability to digest milk sugar lactose decreases in favour of other digestive abilities. As maternal lactation diminishes and the first deciduous teeth appear, a period of dietary transition starts between 3 and 4 weeks of age. It results in a break in his growth curve. The proposed diet, which should be gradually substituted for the lacteal diet, must meet all the kitten’s nutritional requirements so as not to cause any energy deficit or make his immune fragility worse. Health Nutrition for the first age kitten, appropriate for his deciduous teeth, offers him ultra-reinforced digestive safety due to a selection of a highly digestible protein. It also contributes to supporting his natural defenses. It may be presented to him, mixed with formula milk, then with water, and finally in its solid form. At 7 or 8 weeks of age, a kitten is weaned. After 4 months, a 2nd Stage Health Nutrition formulated for his growth from 4 to 12 months of age may take over.

No experience can replace those few fascinating months during which a kitten blossoms into an adult cat. This evolution should take place in complete serenity and by adhering to a few essential rules when choosing and welcoming him into the home, and by providing him with nutrition and care, you ensure his continued well-being and health.