A new bundle of kittens is a magical experience. With their flat little faces, their sweet little cone heads, and of course their tiny little kitten bodies that scarcely resemble their future looks as cats, kittens are one of the most precious gifts life has to offer. Their innate good looks are intoxicating to many. Kittens have a sweet innocence that will eventually disrupt the entire home with antics that can only be defined as wonderfully mischievous. There will be many milestones in the kittens’ first year. As kittens grow from their tiny little barely there selves into the strong agile cats they are destined to be, they will learn to climb, see, hear, and walk. When do kittens start walking? Just like other milestones, there are only approximations. Not all kittens will respond to the same timetable as expected. Some, however, may be so significantly delayed in their development of milestones that it might be prudent to take him to the veterinarian. After all, kittens need a lot of tender loving care, and a watchful eye in those first few months to determine that nothing terrible happens to them while their performing all their crazy antics—or trying to.
In all reality, kittens start walking whenever their little legs decide they are strong enough and they develop the proper coordination to get all four paws going in the right direction at the right time. This can vary some, but for most kittens, this happens between the third and fourth week. Their eyes have opened, their hearing has improved, and their basic coordination and strength has allowed them to take a few shaky practice steps. Many litter owners will watch during the second and third weeks as the kittens gear up to walk. Their initial locomotion occurs in nearly the same format as human children. Inching and crawling is usually preceded by a squirming and wiggling action. This of course allows the kittens to jockey for position during feedings and to seek out the warmth and comfort offered by their mother and their litter mates.
Once your kitten has answered the when do kittens start walking question, there will be a strong period of mayhem that initially follows during weeks five and six. When kittens finally master the art of walking, while they tend to stay relatively close to the whelping box, their intention is to quite obviously conquer their environment. They want to find new places and see what happens to their world when they crawl up onto the couch and they find new and unusual places to start scratching their little kitten claws. This can be very nerve racking for close by humans.
By weeks five and six, most kittens have established their balance enough and are feeling good enough about their survival instincts that they leave their whelping box entirely and spend the majority of their time exploring their new world. This is a crazy time for both the mother cat and the humans of the household. Cats with particularly large litters may start to look toward their human companions for help and relief as she chases down her brood one at a time and drags them back to safety. Just like human children, they believe they know more and often refuse to stay put despite their mother’s insistence. It’s common for cats at this stage to literally drop kittens into a convenient lap of their humans, especially first time mothers who are relatively young themselves. Have patience. She is trying the best she can. Not all cats make great mothers right off the bat. Some need a little practice.
Most kittens can start nibbling at some watered down cat food right around the same time they develop their walking legs. This is both a positive and negative development for the humans of the household. Kittens are often rather hungry in the very early morning hours. If they are experiencing the weaning process and are not able to get enough milk from their mother, many kittens have associated the human who feeds them as a food source. Thus, a kitten who has found his climbing legs may very well attack a human head or toes in the pre-dawn hours. This is usually a plea for food rather than play, although they seem to be thoroughly enjoying themselves.
The most important factors relating to when do kittens start walking usually revolve around their development timing. If your entire litter is walking by four weeks of age, this is a sign that they are all healthy and thriving. If all but one has walked and is starting play session the take over entire rooms between four and five weeks, it is likely that the wayward kitty has a developmental or health issue. This milestone is very important, and anyone lagging too far behind should receive a visit with the veterinarian.