From kitten to adulthood, your cat’s appearance can be deceiving.
When is a kitten no longer considered to be a kitten? It’s a question that all cat owners wonder and the answer isn’t as straightforward as it may seem. Knowing when your cat will stop growing will go a long way to helping you predict her needs.
A Matter of Time
While kittens are generally considered to be adults when they hit 12 months of age, there are several factors that determine when your cat will finally stop growing, and in the case of many breeds, that doesn’t happen for several years.
In general, kittens tend to grow near their final size around the 1 year mark. However, most cats continue growing past their first birthday, albeit much more slowly and not nearly as noticeably as it is during the first few months.
Experts agree that most cats will do most of their growth during the first year of their life, and many breeds will continue to develop until around 18 months of age. In the case of larger breeds of cats like the Maine Coon, growth can continue up until their 4th birthday.
As your cat grows during its first year, you may notice changes in its behavior that are good indicators for when your cat has hit adulthood. From 5 to 6 months old, cats enter their adolescent period which brings hormonal and behavioral changes.
During this time, cats may engage in territorial mating habits like urine spraying and scratching. If your kitten was neutered or spayed before this period, these patterns may not be present.
When cats finally hit the 1 to 2 year mark, they’ll be fully matured adults which is marked by increased independence. Fret not, they’ll still come to you for snuggles when they need it most.
Caring for a Growing Cat
To ensure your cat follows healthy growth patterns, you’ll need to provide them with proper nutrition and care. Kittens should only be fed food that is specially formulated for young cats.
Adult cat food can be gradually introduced anywhere from 9 to 12 months as their nutritional needs change. When your cat’s growth begins to slow, you may notice they don’t require as much food as they did before. Be sure to monitor their food intake during this time to avoid overfeeding and pudgy bellies!