Kittens are cute and cuddly. The average adoption age is from eight weeks to adulthood. Most families opt for kittens because they’re so adorable that they’re hard to resist. Their looks change quickly though. Soon, the cute round faces will begin to change and look more like adult cats than kittens. Like human babies, kittens grow and change fast. They grow and go through so many adorable stages, each with its victories and challenges. A common question that new cat owners have asked is when do cats stop growing? The answer is not a definite age or timeline. Cats, like people, can continue to grow for different lengths of time before reaching maturity. It depends on the type of cat breed, his care and nutritional intake, and other factors. Each cat is an individual, but there are a few general guidelines about the milestones in growth kittens achieve and the approximate guidelines for when cats stop growing.
What kinds of growth are we discussing?
Cats grow from birth throughout their life cycles. The growth areas that each owner needs to be aware of are their kitten’s physical, emotional and intellectual growth and maturation. There are milestones in each of these three areas to know. Understanding how quickly your kitten reaches these stages may help you better understand how to be the best pet parent and support your kitty as he goes through each phase of his life.
Physical growth of a cat
Comfort Zone reveals that some cats grow in physical size and maturity at different rates. His genetics play a role in how big he will get and how quickly he will reach his adult size. Larger breeds take longer to reach their fully grown states. Most kittens are as tall as they’re going to get by the time they are twelve months old. There are a few exceptions, however. Large cats like the Maine Coon may continue to grow until they reach the age of twenty-four months.
Stages of physical growth
The first eight weeks of a kitten’s life show the most intense growth spurts. Kittens grow and develop, building their muscles and gaining coordination. They learn to keep their balance and to walk and run through practice, trial and error. Kittens’ eyes open when they are seven days old. They double their weight from birth. At age three weeks, they can walk. Their teeth break through the skin. By age six weeks, they learn to eat solid food, groom themselves, pounce and stalk. At age eight weeks, they’re ready to leave their mother and eat a steady diet of solid food. Between ages 3 to 4 months, kittens increase in weight between three to seven pounds, depending on the breed. They get their adult teeth and complete the process at six months. Most cats will reach sexual maturity before they reach maturity. This phase is like a teenager going through puberty. It happens when a kitten is six to nine months of age.3 Around this time, you might spay or neuter your cat. A male cat can father kittens before he’s fully grown, and a female cat can get pregnant before she’s fully grown as well.
Sexual maturity of a cat
Cats mature sexually at different rates. It’s hard to predict when your cat will be capable of reproduction. This can happen any time between the four to nine months of age period. By the time they are twelve months, smaller to medium-sized cat breeds reach maturity, but the larger cats may continue to grow for another full year.
Large cat breeds and their respective sizes at maturity
According to The Spruce Pets, They classified ten domestic cat breeds in the large category. If your cat is all or part of these breeds, his physical growth may slow at 12-months, but continue until he reaches the age of two years old. Below, I summarize the larger breeds and their sizes at maturity.
- Ragamuffin: The Ragamuffin cat can grow to a mature height of 9 and 12 inches, weighing 8 to 20 pounds. The average lifespan is 18 years.
- American-Bobtail: This cat can grow to a height of 9 to 10 inches and weigh between 7 to 16 pounds at maturity. The average lifespan is between 13 to 15 years.
- Savannah: The Savannah cat grows to between 10 to 17 inches and can weigh 12 to 25 pounds. The average lifespan ranges from 12 to 20 years.
- Chausie: This cat reaches a height of 14 to 18 inches with a weight between 15 to 20 pounds. The average lifespan is 12 to 14 years.
- Bengal: The Bengal cat breed can reach a height of 8 to 10 inches as adults and weigh between 15 to 18 pounds. The average life expectancy is between 10 to 16 years.
- Norwegian Forest Cat: The Norwegian Forest Cat grows to between 9 to 12 inches in height at maturity and a weight between 13 to 20 pounds. The average lifespan is 14 to 16 years.
- Maine Coon: The Maine Coon reaches a height of 10 to 16 inches at maturity with a weight between 10 to 18 pounds. The average lifespan is 9 to 15 years.
- Persian: This cat breed grows to a height of 8 to 10 inches and can weigh between 7 and 12 pounds at maturity. The average lifespan is 10 to 17 years old.
- Siberian: The Siberian domestic cat breed grows to a height of 9 and 11 inches. The weight averages between 10 to 20 pounds. The average lifespan is 10 to 18 years.
- Ragdoll: The Ragdoll cat grows to a height range of 9 to 11 inches as an adult with a weight between 10 and 02 pounds. The average lifespan is 13 to 15 years.
Nutritional needs of a growing cat
Your kitten will eat as much as he needs after weaning from his mother’s milk. Some cat owners free-feed offering a constant source of food and water, while others measure out meals in separate feedings. If you do space out the feedings, make sure that your kitten gets the offer of a half cup of nutritious kitten food four times daily. By the time your kitten is six months old, he will need to eat three times a day, and by the time he is a year old, you can feed him twice. It’s wise to consult with your vet about the amounts your cat needs for good health, as some breeds require more food than others. Your kitten must receive a balanced and nutritious diet formulated for kittens during their developmental stages. He needs to eat enough food to support his growth, but not so much that he becomes obese.
Changes to be aware of during your cat’s maturation process
Vet Help Direct points out that cats go through some similar phases as humans, but at different times in their lives. Their bones and limbs continue to grow for 7 to 20 months as their skeletal structure matures. Cats also go through emotional development stages just as humans do. They grow to a lanky physical appearance and go through adolescence. They are continuing to gain emotional maturity but they’re not there yet. Their personalities are still developing. Their hormones begin to surge as their approach the feline teenager stage and they may even become awkward. This is when it is time to consult with your pet health care provider about spaying or neutering.
Intellectual growth and development
Your cat continues to grow and change until he reaches full maturity. As a kitten, it may take patience to house-train him and teach him the rules. You should practice patience with a new kitten because he does not come into a new home knowing the rules or even understanding that he needs to act in certain ways. Kittens love to play and in his mind, nothing is off-limits until he learns better. Positive reinforcement and redirecting him from clawing furniture or shredding the curtains with his little claws are necessary to help him understand which behaviors are acceptable and which are not. Make sure that you give your kitten toys to keep him entertained. It’s your job to understand that your kitten is coming to you in a state of tabula rasa, or blank slate. He is going to make mistakes without meaning to. He needs gentle guidance and instruction to help him learn the rules of the house. If you’re consistent and discourage unwanted behaviors through redirection to behaviors that are okay, it won’t take him long to learn. If he takes a while, just try to realize that he doesn’t know any better, and he is trying.
Fostering an emotionally healthy kitten
The best way to ensure that your cat is emotionally stable and well-adjusted as an adult is to raise him in a gentle and loving environment. Discipline is necessary as long as it isn’t violent or loud. Cats are sensitive animals and it’s easy to damage their psyches by yelling at them or hitting them. Traumatic experiences can scar them and make them skittish, nervous, and untrusting. Some cats even become destructive when they’re frightened or angry. These are situations that are usually avoidable by kindness, firmness, and consistency in training. When he is approaching adulthood, his behaviors may change. He is learning more and becoming more intelligent as he gains new knowledge about his environment and as his inborn instincts kick in. He will look like an adult cat and if you properly socialize him, he will act with more maturity and greater obedience. This is the stage that you’ve worked so hard to achieve. He is the ideal house pet who understands the rules of the house and conforms to them. Some cats need intellectual stimulation throughout their entire lifespan. It’s essential to ensure that he has toys to play with that are his, and his alone. His personality is fully developed by the time he is two years old if he gets love, affection, proper nutrition, and a safe environment free from abuse.
When do cats stop growing?
Smaller domestic cat breeds are physically mature by the time they are 12 months old. Larger breeds are mature by the age of two. There are other types of growth stages that your cat will go through as he continues on his journey towards maturity. Cats go through the cute and cuddly kitten phase when they’re learning about their environments. They also discover that they can eat solid food and bathe themselves. They continue to develop their coordination as their muscles, joints, and bones continue to develop. Their brains are growing and maturing and they’re becoming more aware of their environments, the expectations of their human family, and which rules are not to be broken. They gain intuitive knowledge and use their physical senses, including sight, sound, and smell, to make sense of their world.
There is a lot to consider when you bring a new kitten into your home. It’s a wonderful experience that includes a lot of growth and change. Cats are wonderful creatures that keep us entertained and give us companionship. They become beloved members of a household for the amount of time they are with us. When you understand how your kitten grows and develops, it’s easier to know how to go about training him and teaching him the rules of the home. The little guys need a great deal of understanding and patience while they’re learning, but they also need firm direction and consistency. With a proper diet, the socialization of living with a family, and loving training, a kitten will grow and thrive, becoming a character with a personality that you grow to love and cherish. Your knowledge of your cat’s growth stages helps you know how to approach his training and it will give you more confidence.