When Do Kittens’ Eyes Change Color? And Why do Cats Nurse on Sweaters?


Dear Dr Barchas,

At what age does a kitten’s eye color change from its babyhood deep blue? I’ve never been sure of my cat’s age exact age, and suspect she was weaned too early, like, at four weeks. To this day four years later she is still attached to one particular sweater of mine, she kneads and suckles, her pupils dilated til she looks all soft eyed.

Denver, CO

Kittens’ eyes generally change color between two and three months of age. However, in this matter like all aspects of maturing there are individual variations. Some kittens mature earlier than others. And some kittens keep their blue eyes into adulthood (think Siamese).

Experts in animal behavior generally believe that kneading and suckling are adult manifestations of juvenile behaviors. The theory is that kneading and suckling are like a feline version of thumb sucking. The behaviors generally are harmless. I have no explanation for why your cat prefers one sweater over other objects. I have yet to see any compelling evidence that links adult suckling behavior to early weaning.

Experts in animal behavior also generally believe that living among humans is an adult manifestation of juvenile behavior in cats. If this is true (and I recognize that some people may not accept it), then kneading and suckling simply are points further along the same scale of behavior that allows cats to be our companions.

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