Everyone loves kittens, and why not with how adorable they are? Their short little legs and cute tiny paws just make us want to cuddle them! Every kitten must grow up however, although when does a kitten become a cat? We’ll love them all the same, but we still need to know if we want to care for them properly!
Table of Contents
When Does A Cat Stop Being A Kitten?
It’s a little tough to say when kittens grow up, but think about it in terms of humans: people mature at different rates regardless of their actual age. The same happens with cats! Some people say their kitten is a cat at around 6 months while others give it up to a year. Even though they grow, maturity in kittens happens differently, which is why we need to figure out when exactly a kitten can officially call itself a cat.
If you want a general idea of when your kitten is an adult, for the most part, consider a year to be the deadline for kitten-hood. Despite this however, your cat might still be growing. While the kitten usually becomes bigger between 6 through 12 months, they’ll continue growing until around 18 months. Some larger cats may take years to get to their full size, but once they reach adulthood, it won’t be nearly as obvious when they grow. If you’re really concerned, 18 months is the legitimate end of kitten-hood. A cat will still be growing after a year, but 18 months is when they really grow into themselves fully. By this point, there is no doubt that they are, in every way, a full blown cat.
Growth Spurt (Yes, cats have them too)
The more we read about cats, the more we start to find similarities between humans and our furry friends. Kids experience growth spurts around age 12 and kittens have the same at only 2 to 6 months. At only 6 months, kittens look like adults! This growth is why you’ll need to feed your little guy or gal around four times a day with lots of protein. Kitten food works best, so save the cat food for that 12 month mark at the latest.
Part of growing has to do with the way your kitten moves around too. A kitten will gain coordination and start walking and running like an adult as early as 6 weeks; that’s when they’ll start messing with objects and stimulating their minds. Of course they won’t be an adult at this point, but it’s still an important part of growing up!
Did You Spay or Neuter?
Reproduction is usually how we think of humans maturing and aging, so it only makes sense that we’d use sexual maturation as a guideline for cats. Kittens can start puberty as early as 6 to 9 months, and females can even become pregnant at this time. Similarly to pregnancies in young women however, there can be issues for an early kitten pregnancy. Males are a little different, but keep watch since in the same span of time they can father kittens. Somewhere between 9 and 12 months is when males usually mature fully. If you want to spay or neuter at around 6 months, the process of maturing may take longer without the hormones, but 18 months is still the end at the latest.
When Does A Cat Stop Growing? Through the First Year..
As we said, 12 months is usually the deadline for kitten-hood. Once your kitten reaches the age of one, it’s a general agreement that you can start calling him or her a cat. Growth of course continues much more slowly in this year, but your cat is now growing into their personality. They might defy you and become more confident as they grow.
It may seem like all this is happening so fast (a year to adulthood?!), but based on the lifespan of a cat, it’s fairly normal. Cats usually live for 16 years indoors, but only about 5 outdoors. They’ll live even longer with the proper food and vet visits, along with your love and care!
A Social Kitten
Socially, kittens act a lot depending on their hormones, which helps to determine their age. When male kittens start maturing around 9 months, they might start marking their territory with urine, trying to dart out past you, and will want to fight other male cats. As early as 6 months old, a kitten may show clingy behavior. Spaying or neutering a cat will delay such behavior by preserving the kitten mentality even into old age.
Also Read: What are the best dry or wet foods to feed your kitten?
Why Does This Matter?
After all this, you might be sitting here thinking: why should it matter whether my kitten is a kitten or a cat? Part of the reasoning is that nutritional needs are different. At that 12 month cut off, switch to adult cat food. They won’t even need as much to eat at this point since their growing will taper out. It seems pretty important now, huh?
We wanted to know when a kitten becomes a cat, and we’re sure you did too. It’s important if we want to care for them properly and keep them with a healthy weight and diet. There’s some debate on the exact time kittens grow into cats, but take a look at their growth and their maturity to figure it out. Whether they’re a kitten or a cat though, they’ll still be so lovable that we’ll just want to cuddle them all day!