When Are Cats Full Grown And Their Life Stages
Kittens don’t stay little balls of fluff forever! Inevitably, the kitten will become a cat. The exact timetable will vary not only by breed but by individual. As with a human baby, you might want to make sure your developing kitten is reaching their developmental milestones. These figures are just rough averages. Do remember that there are early and late bloomers.
In the best case scenario, Mama cat will lend a paw towards your kitten’s development and ideally should be the primary caregiver for the first few weeks. If conditions are not ideal, you’ll have to be Mama cat.
When are kittens fully grown?
Because different cats come in different sizes, there’s no real weight or measurement to judge by. By the eighth week, a kitten should be fully weaned and litter box trained but should probably stay with Mama cat and the rest of the litter a couple more weeks to complete social development.
Eight weeks is also a good time to consider spaying or neutering, though most vets will want to wait until the kitten weighs at least four pounds. At ten weeks, a kitten is fairly independent from her mother, but still has a lot of room to grow. Generally, a cat has reached full growth and development between six months to a year, depending on breed.
Cat Life Stages
While the Bard described the life of man in seven stages, a cat has more like six.
The neonatal stage is the first two weeks. There will be lots of mewling, but ideally little puking.
From three to eight weeks is the early socialization stage. Unlike the whining schoolboy, your kitten will be very eager to learn all the ins and outs of being a cat.
From here to 16 weeks is the late socialization stage. Social conflicts here could make a cat the quick in quarrel soldier. From 17 weeks to a year is adolescence. If your cat hasn’t been fixed, he may well become the sighing lover.
For the next six years, your adult cat may enjoy being with good capon lined. While your cat may not be ready for oblivion at seven years, he might not be as spry as he used to be. Your cat could live a good 12 to 15 years or even as much as 21 if kept indoors.
Kitten growth stages
Here are the growth stages of a typical house cat and the milestones they should reach at these ages. While some kittens may bloom late like Leo in Robert Kraus’ children’s book and catch up no worse for the wear, you may want to consult a vet if your kitten is well overdue for reaching these milestones.
Birth – 7 Weeks
For the first two weeks, Mama should have everything well in paw. She’ll feed them on her milk, keep them warm and lick their stomachs to help them eliminate. Kittens have been shown to have more highly developed brains if handled early. You should do this gently, sparingly and only where Mama can see her baby. By week two, your kitten’s eyes should open and she should be twice her birth weight.
Encourage sensory development, but don’t over-stimulate. At three weeks, your kitten is more mobile. If Mama cat is litter box trained, she may start potty training. While this is a good way to introduce them to the concept, your kitten needs a litter box small enough for her to get into on her own. Play time will help a kitten develop motor skills and be more social.
7 – 12 Weeks
She’s getting big, but she still needs Mama! You can start weaning her at 4 weeks, when those chompers start growing in. Start with canned food formulated for kittens. They may be hesitant at first, but by week seven, they should be completely off mother’s milk and diving into food with gusto. In fact, you may find she dives into everything with gusto!
Kittens at this age have a lot of energy, but don’t have much life experience so they may find themselves in and out of trouble quite a bit. If you’d like to train your kitten to accept a leash and harness, now is the time. Carrier training should be done as well. She may need a bigger litter box and scratching post around this time.
3 – 6 Months
Between 3 and nine months of age, your kitten will start to lose her milk teeth. She’ll be a little cranky and might be off her food. It’s time to gradually transition from kitten food to adult food. Give her some bigger toys to play with, preferably something she can chew on while her new teeth come in. Your adolescent cat might try to see how much she can get away with.
6 Months – One Year
At six months, your kitten will be half and three quarters to her adult size. She will be well on her way to adulthood.
Are Indoor Cats Bigger Than Outdoor Cats?
Indoor cats tend to be better fed than outdoor cats and don’t often exercise as much. Your indoor cat should not be allowed to become obese. Feed her only what’s healthy and play with her often so she’ll get some exercise.
Reproduction and Social Maturity
If your cat isn’t fixed early, adolescence can be an even bigger headache than it need be with constant yowling and spraying, not to mention unwanted kittens. Expose your kitten early to many different people and animals. Play with her often to hone her social skills.
Large Cat Breeds
Large cat breeds may take awhile to reach maturity. The big, loveable Maine Coon can take anywhere from two to four years to reach 25 pounds. A Savannah is also a late bloomer, needing two or three years to reach maturity. The American bobtail likewise needs a couple years to reach adulthood, but is always a kitten at heart.
- Kitten Weight Chart AskTheCatDoctor.com
- What to Expect During Kitten Development Stages by Kristine Lacoste
- Healthy weight animal calculator at PetMD.com
- Social Behavior of Cats By Gary M. Landsberg, BSc, DVM, MRCVS, DACVB, DECAWBM, Director, Veterinary Affairs and Product Development, CanCog Technologies, and Veterinary Behaviourist, North Toronto Veterinary Behaviour Specialty Clinic
Sagi Denenberg, DVM, DACVB, Dip. ECAWBM (Behaviour), MACVSc (Behaviour)