When Do Cats Stop Growing?

When do cats stop growing? Well, the best way to know this is to start at the beginning. In order to fully understand a cat’s growth cycle, it is important to know all aspects of how they develop from kittenhood and into adulthood.

Ordinarily cats stop growing between eighteen months and two years old, but there can be various factors that alter this usual state. Some of the larger breeds of cats can take up to five years before they stop growing. This article offers a comprehensive guide to fully understanding and knowing when your cat is fully grown.

New-born kittens and their growth pattern

Kittens are incredibly tiny when they are born. Ordinarily they weigh only three to five ounces in weight, so small they fit into the palm of your hand easily. When kittens are first born, they are totally helpless, they are unable to see and cannot hear. The new-born kitten is not able to keep themselves warm and cannot eliminate their own waste. They are totally dependent on mother cat and you, as the cat parent as sometimes mother cat may not connect with their new-born straight away, or there simply might be too many kitties.

The first few weeks are an especially important time in the kitten’s life, and as a cat owner with new-borns you should monitor them closely, although the mother cat will do so as well. Weighing them daily is a good idea, but make sure not to remove them from their comfort zone. So, put the scales close to their nest area, that way mother cat can keep an eye on them as well.

After two weeks your kitten should have doubled its birth weight. In weeks three to four their coat will thicken out; they can see now, and their eyes are now the colour they will be throughout their life. Their ear canals are open, and they hear some louder sounds. They can now eliminate on their own, a good time to start litter box training! Their first teeth are coming through, and their digestive system is working well.

At around five to six weeks the nursing kitten will be ready to have solid foods introduced and wet foods are a great source of nourishment for their continued growth. At this stage, your kitty will be gaining weight all the time. They will begin to walk, though a bit ungainly to start with. So as their physical exertions become more, they require a good diet to ensure they are getting all those proteins and vitamins for continued growth.

Weeks turn into months and your kitten is now growing rapidly.  They are learning to play and socialize and can be inquisitive of the opposite sex by six months old.

Neutering/Spaying

At around six months the kitten looks quite adult like and females can become pregnant, yes even at this early age. They can be spayed or neutered dependent on their sex, and this should be considered if breeding is not an avenue you wish to go down.

The earlier you get your cat spayed or neutered can increase the length of time their bones grow. Too early and you may find your cat grows taller, which could have an impact on how their joints align, and may cause problems in later life, so take advice from your vet. Different breeds can have orthopedic problems, so it is important to really know your cat’s breed.

It used to be said that neutering/spaying would stunt a cat’s growth, but this is not the case. They often put on weight after this surgery as their metabolism slows down, but regular playing and interacting with your young feline friend will both help keep that additional weight at bay and ensure they are becoming confident cat’s.

Reduce their calorie intake straight after surgery to be proactive against having an overweight kitty as it is much harder to lose weight after surgery.

Health and well-being in your growing cat

So, your female kitten has been spayed, your male cat neutered. Great, as this does actually reduce the risk of many cancers and unwanted kittens. Cat’s that have been through this procedure tend to have a healthier life and live longer, so they get the chance to grow to a good old age.

Health and growth often go hand in hand with people, and it is no different for our feline friends. There are many ailments that can affect the growth of your kitty.  Some of the most common things are:

TapewormTapeworm occurs if your cat ingests an infected flea. This can happen so very easily, as your kitty loves to groom themselves and may not even notice they are eating a flea while cleaning. Kittens can get these too as they learn to groom themselves early enough. Digesting an infected flea, causes the infection and if untreated can have impact on the cat’s growth. Regular worming medication is the best way to make sure your kitty does not get them to start with.

Diabetes – although not really known why, cats can suffer from this condition. Studies show more and more cats are contracting this condition. They are unable to produce enough insulin to balance their blood sugar level, and if not treated can have devastating results. An insulin injection will balance their levels and regular vet check-ups will ensure their condition does not affect their growth pattern.

Malnourishment – kittens require a huge number of calories every day for proper growth. Shelter kittens often have a stunted growth due to lack of correct diet, and the life they have had prior to being in the shelter.  Gaining veterinary assistance is important in managing this condition. It is not only shelter kitties that get this condition, so that growth needs monitoring regularly for their optimum health.

Growth spurts – Yes, kittens do have growth spurts, just like children! At around six months, although by this stage they may look like an adult cat, they require lots of protein in their diet to maintain that constant and continuing growth. They will nap more often but be mindful they do not sleep too much, as if they do there may be other underlying health issues.

Food and watering – As your kitty develops and grows, you will need to change their diet to adult cat food. While the adult cat will eat kitten food, it is not really good for them in the long run as it has a much higher fat content. Good for the kitten’s growth and high energy needs, but not so good for the mature cat as they do not require high fat food, because they are more sedentary. High fat foods can lead to an overweight cat which should be avoided.

At between nine months to one year old, adult cat food should be introduced to them. Wet foods are good to offer your growing cat, as they are higher in moisture content, but dried foods will suffice. They, like us all will need a transition period to adjust to this new food type, persevere as they will get used to it and don’t forget, they can be very picky.

Your cat can be a greedy little thing, so make sure they are not overfed, it’s really not good for them in the long run.

It is especially important that fresh drinking water is available for your growing cat for optimum health. Fresh water is essential for flushing out toxins from their blood. It helps to keep those organ tissues healthy as well.

Growth in various breeds

We are a world full of cat lovers. Over the years they have been bred and interbred with other breeds and even crossbred with their wildlife cousins! There are over sixty actual breeds of domesticated cats. But do they all have the same growth pattern? Oh no indeed they do not, some vary hugely.

Larger breeds

Some of the big cat breeds include, Maine Coon, Persian and the Rag Doll. These are worldwide pets nowadays, and yes, they can grow exceptionally large indeed.

Large breeds like the Maine Coon can take as long as three to five years to reach physical maturity but may stop growing around four years. The Persian however takes around two years to finish growing and Rag Doll’s tend to stop growing at around four years old.

Medium Breeds

A few Medium cat breeds include Burmese, Egyptian Mau and Sphynx.

The Burmese, Egyptian Mau and unique Sphynx only take one year to reach their full growth cycle.

Although the above different breeds growth rate varies, they have much the same issues with growing into maturity as our communal garden kitty. Although any of the larger cat breeds can have many of their own health issues. It is always advised to really investigate their growth when getting a kitten of any larger variety of feline, as you might end up with a thirty pound puss!

Now, let’s go small!

Singapura, Munchkin and the Cornish Rex are the wee ones in the cat family. Also known as dwarf, miniature and teacup cats. While their growth cycle appears to be the same as other felines it is important to know the backgrounds of these little ones. These small breeds have become very popular but be mindful if you are thinking of getting one and make sure you get it from a reputable breeder. This will minimize the risk of their ill-health, ensuring they grow to be, well teacup sized!

Singapura kittens develop a lot slower but do reach maturity around two years old. Munchkin’s on the other hand gain maturity quicker, around nine to twelve months. The Cornish Rex is small at birth usually weighing in at one hundred grams, three and a half ounces. While this may be around the size of an ordinary cat, the Cornish Rex does not grow into a large cat.

Adulthood

Growing up always has its marker points, and it is no different for our four-legged friends. Your feline has done most of his/her growing and by the time they are one year old, they can take up to 4 years to really mature both physically and behaviorally. And don’t forget those big cats, they do grow and mature slower than your general house cat.

The generic cat’s maturity and behavior has settled by this time, and they will carry these traits throughout their adult life. As they get older, they, like us, tend to slow down a bit and nap a bit more than they used to.

As a cat parent, you should be mindful of these changes.  Make play and exercise a daily part of their routine, this keeps them active, both physically and mentally. It can help lessen the chance of obesity in your cat. Obesity comes with lots of health issues, and your aging feline would thank you if they could for taking time to ensure their overall wellbeing.

Conclusion

We started out with that simple question, when does a cat stop growing. As we can now see, there are many many factors in our cat’s overall growth pattern. They are as individual as human beings are and have their own personalities to boot.

We know that kittens require a high fat diet to ensure their energy levels are elevated to help with their growth. Monitoring their daily intake of food is important, and overfeeding is not a good thing. We understand the benefits of having your cat neutered or spayed and we know how important play and exercise is in the fight against obesity. And we know those larger cat breeds develop and stop growing later than the ordinary house cat.

As a cat parent you will know and understand your cats needs in time, ensuring their health and wellbeing. Nurturing them through all the various stages and into the adult cat they have become. Being a cat parent takes patience, but the rewards are well worth it, you have a friend for life in your kitty.

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