How Long Does It Take Kittens’ Eyes to Open?

How Long Does It Take Kittens' Eyes to Open

If you’re the owner of a new kitten, you’re probably wondering what’s going on with their eyes. Kit

When a kitten is born, its eyes are closed, completely dependent on its mother for survival.

So how long does it take the kitten’s eyes to open? Kittens’ eyes open gradually over the first several days after birth, and this process is controlled by hormones and is necessary for the kittens’ health.

This article will discuss how long it takes kittens’ eyes to open and why it matters!

Why are kittens born with their eyes closed?

There are several reasons why experts believe kittens are born with their eyes closed:

1. To keep them from being blinded by the sun

The first reason kittens are born with their eyes closed is to keep them from being blinded by the sun. When they are first born, kittens cannot regulate their body temperature and need to stay warm. If they were born with their eyes open, they would be at risk of being blinded by the sun’s rays.

2. To prevent them from scratching their eyes

Another reason kittens are born with their eyes closed is to prevent them from scratching their eyes. When kittens are first born, they have a lot of energy and like to move around. If they were born with open eyes, they would risk scratching their own eyes with claws.

3. To help them bond with their mother

Another reason kittens are born with closed eyes is to help them bond with their mother. When kittens are first born, they rely on their mother for food and warmth. They would be more likely to wander off and get lost if born with open eyes.

4. To protect them from predators

Another reason kittens are born with closed eyes is to protect them from predators. When kittens are first born, they are vulnerable and cannot defend themselves against predators. If they were born with their eyes open, they would be at risk of being attacked and killed.

How long does it take for kittens to open their eyes?

It usually takes around seven to ten days for a kitten’s eyes to open fully. However, some kittens may open their eyes earlier or later than this timeline.

How does this happen?

The kittens’ eyes start to open when they are about two weeks old. At first, the opening is very small, and the kitten can only see blurry shapes. As the week progresses, the eyes open more and more until they are fully opened. By the time they are three weeks old, their vision will be almost as good as an adult cat’s.

Why is this important?

This process is important because it allows the kitten to slowly adjust to its new surroundings and learn how to hunt and survive independently. If a kitten’s eyes were to open all at once, it would be overwhelmed by the sudden influx of light and information and could not function properly.

Why does it take so long for kittens to open their eyes?

I don’t think anyone knows this for sure, but here are some of the reasons I have found for taking care of kittens:

Their eyes are still developing.

One of the main reasons why it takes kittens so long to open their eyes is that their eyes are still developing. When a kitten is born, its eyes are not fully developed and need time to grow and mature. It can take up to six weeks for a kitten’s eyes to develop fully.

They’re’ trying to adjust to the light.

Another reason why it takes kittens so long to open their eyes is that they’re trying to adjust to the light. When a kitten is born, it is typically in a dark place, such as a mother’s womb or a nest. It can take some time for the kitten to adjust to the brightness of the outside world.

They’re’ sleeping a lot.

Kittens also sleep a lot, which can explain why it takes them so long to open their eyes. Kittens can sleep up to 20 hours daily, leaving little time to be awake and alert.

Their eyelids are fused shut.

Another reason kittens take so long to open their eyes is that their eyelids are fused shut at birth. The fusion of the eyelids helps protect the developing eyes from damage and infection. It can take up to two weeks for the eyelids to separate and allow the kitten to see clearly.

They’re’ fearful of opening their eyes.

Finally, kittens may fear opening their eyes because they don’t know what they will see. For all they know, the outside world could be a scary place full of predators and other dangers. It can take some time for kittens to build up the courage to open their eyes and explore their surroundings.

Can I do anything to help the kitten open its eyes sooner?

Okay, before I give some advice here, I have to be very clear on something:

You should only “help” the kitten open its eyes after

  1. It’s been at least two weeks, and the cat hasn’t opened its eyes
  2. You’ve already talked to a veterinarian

That said, if you have the go-ahead from your vet, you can try the following:

Get a flashlight

The first thing you’ll need to do is get a flashlight. You’ll want to use a small, handheld flashlight so you can easily control the light. Once you have your flashlight, hold it about 6 inches away from the kitten’s face and shine it directly into its eyes.

Look for the third eyelid

One of the reasons kittens have their eyes closed is because they have a third eyelid, which helps protect their eyes from debris and infection. You’ll want to look for this third eyelid and ensure it’s not covering the kitten’s eyes. If it is, gently pull it back, exposing the kitten’s eyes.

Massage the kitten’s eyelids

Once the kitten’s eyes are exposed, you’ll want to massage its eyelids. This will help stimulate blood flow to the area and may help the kitten’s eyes open sooner. To massage the eyelids, gently use your fingertips or thumbs to gently rub them in a circular motion.

Use a warm compress

Another way to help stimulate blood flow to the area is by using a warm compress. You can make a warm compress by soaking a clean cloth in warm water and wringing it out. Then, hold the cloth against the kitten’s closed eyelids for about 5 minutes.

Remember, this should be a last resort, and even then, I’d advise against messing with the kitten – in my experience, kittens all open their eyes in time unless there’s something medically wrong, which you should have solved at the vet-call phase.

What if the kitten doesn’t open its eyes?

If the kitten doesn’t open its eyes after around 10-14 days, I’d suggest calling the vet first, but here are a couple of other things that may work:

Check for obstructions 

If your kitten’s eyes are glued shut, something may be blocking them. Gently wipe away any discharge with a clean, damp cloth. If there is any crusted matter around the eyes, you can try using a warm, wet cloth to loosen it gently.

Massage the eyelids 

If the eyelids are just stuck together, you can try massaging them with your fingers. Start at the inner corner of the eye and work your way out. You can also try using a cotton swab to massage the area lightly.

Use artificial tears 

If the eyes are dry, you can try using artificial tears to lubricate them. Be sure to use a product that is safe for use on animals. Apply a few drops to each eye and then gently massage the eyelids.

Are there any medical conditions that affect how a cat’s eyelids open or close?

Several medical conditions can affect how a cat’s eyelids open or close. Some of the most common conditions include:

  • Conjunctivitis: Conjunctivitis is a condition that causes inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is the thin membrane that covers the eye’s surface. This condition can cause the eyelids to swell and become inflamed.
  • Upper eyelid entropion: Upper eyelid entropion is a condition in which the upper eyelid rolls inward, causing the lashes to rub against the eye. This can cause irritation and damage to the eye.
  • Lower eyelid ectropion: Lower eyelid ectropion is a condition in which the lower eyelid droops outward, exposing the white part of the eye. This can cause irritation and damage to the eye.

Related questions

Why do cat eyelids close?

Cat eyelids close to protect the eyes from damage and infection. The eyelids also help to keep the eyes moisturized and lubricated.

How long do cat eyelids stay closed?

Cat eyelids typically stay closed for a few days after birth, and this helps protect the kitten’s eyes from damage and infection.

What are the muscles responsible for opening and closing cat eyelids?

The muscles responsible for opening and closing cat eyelids are the orbicularis oculi and the levator palpebrae superioris. These muscles help to control the position of the eyelids.

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