Certain cat breeds stop growing at the age of 12 months, while others need a much longer time to reach full development and become an adult. Let’s see when do cats stop growing?
Like any other animal, cats go through various stages of development in the growth process, which changes their physical appearance, as well as their temperament while becoming adults.
Each stage of development is unique, and very important to created a fully developed cat both physically and mentally.
Development Stages in Cats
According to cat experts, there are six development periods (stages) in the growth process of a cat.
1. Neonatal Period
This development stage begins right after birth, and ends at the age of two weeks. Newborn kittens have their eyes closed and their ears folded.
At this age, they don’t have teeth, and if you take a look inside their mouth you will only see very pink gums and a tiny pink tongue.
The mouth, the nose, and the little toe beans will also be pink at this young age.
A newborn kitten has a visible umbilical cord, that will fall off by itself in about four to five days after birth.
Never try to cut off or pull off the umbilical cord yourself because doing so will only hurt the kitten.
Newborn kittens are very vulnerable because they can’t thermoregulate by their own, so they are completely dependent on their mom to be kept warm.
If they can’t be with their mom, they have to be syringe fed with a kitten formula.
At this age, they also don’t have a gag reflex, so you have to be very careful when feeding them.
Newborn kittens sleep all day long, and they wake up only to eat and to go to the bathroom. They can’t walk yet, so they wiggle a little bit to move on very short distances.
At this young age, they start meowing and wiggling, which shows that they are healthy.
A newborn kitten has a body temperature between 95 and 97°F, and an average weight between 75 and 150 grams. It is important to weigh the kittens several times per day to see if they are gaining weight.
How To Care For Newborn Orphaned Kittens?
Kittens that don’t receive colostrum through milk from their mom, will be more susceptible to disease, so avoid any contact with other animals.
Colostrum present in the mother’s milk provides passive immunity to the kittens, in the form of antibodies, which keeps diseases away.
If you are the ‘mom’, you have to provide bathroom support in the form of stimulating the kittens to go potty, and keeping them warm and safe all the time.
A newborn kitten requires care every two hours in the first week of life (even overnight).
When the kitten is one week old, its eyes will still be closed, but the ears will slowly start to unfold, and the umbilical cord will no longer be there, being replaced with a tiny button of skin. The claws are still non retractable.
A one week old kitten is bigger and much more sturdy, which shows again that she or he is in a healthy condition.
Between the age of one and two weeks, a kitten must weigh between 150 and 250 grams, the average body temperature must be between 97 to 98°F, and the average amount per feeding is between 6 and 10 milliliters. A heated environment is still required.
The eyes are still closed now, but at the age of 8 and 12 days, they will slowly start to peel open.
When newborn cats have reached the age of seven days, we can say that they have passed over the most vulnerable week of their life.
Between the age of 8 and 12 days, the eyes will start to slowly open, and the ears will become completely unfolded.
The eyes are baby blue at this age because the pigment is not yet present.
Two weeks old kittens are more active, they sleep less, and they start to explore the area moving slowly around.
2. Transitional Period
This period starts after the age of two weeks.
A two to three weeks old kitten will have a weight between 250 and 350 grams. The average body temperature is between 98 and 99°F, and the average amount per feeding is between 10 and 14 milliliters.
At this age, kittens must receive their first de-wormer, which is repeated after two weeks.
If you are the ‘mom’, you need to keep caring for your tiny kitten, and continue to stimulate her or him to go the the bathroom.
At this age, you have to make the switch from a syringe to a bottle.
Three weeks is the cutest age ever for any kitten. The eyes are more accurate now, the kitten moves now much easier, and the ears are fully matured.
A three to four week old kitten, weighs between 350 and 450 grams, has a body temperature between 99 and 100°F, and the average amount for feeding is between 14 and 18 milliliters every 4 to 5 hours, including overnight. A heated environment is still required.
This is the age when you really feel that you are interacting with a small cat, and you notice the first teeth (incisors) that are mainly used for grooming.
Beside milk, kittens can consume solid food now, so they become less dependent on their mother.
At this age, kittens start to play with their siblings often in the form of chasing and play fighting.
3. Socialization Period
The socialization stage is very important at this age, and happens due to the fact that the kittens come in contact with other animals.
This way, they get used to interact with others, which makes them more sociable and friendly.
Five-week-old kittens are more playful and they start practicing taking down prey.
At this age kittens start hunting their toys and biting them, and at the same time they are perfecting their use of the litter box.
Maybe the most exciting development at this age (five to six weeks old), is the presence of the canines, tiny incisors at the front and premolars in the back. All these teeth have the role of cutting and shredding meat, so kittens are ready now to start eating little bits of meat.
A shallow bowl of water can also be introduced at this age.
During this period, the kitten forms its definitive size and shape, becoming a young adult.
The socialization period ends around the age of eight weeks.
4. Juvenile Period
The juvenile stage or period in the development process of a cat, starts at the age of two months and ends at the age of four to ten months.
At this age, the cat is still playful, but very receptive to any stimuli, so this stage of development is very important because now, the cat can be easily influenced, educated and trained.
The environment and other external factors can greatly affect the development of the cat’s character.
A cat that was properly educated and raised in a secure environment will behave differently compared to a cat that was mistreated.
5. Adolescent Period
During this development stage that starts at the age of 4 to 10 months and ends at the age of 36 to 48 months, cats continue to be playful, but they are way more relaxed than before because they are more confident.
Their size begins to stabilize, and this the age when cats stop growing.
However, this depends pretty much on the breed and other factors.
When Do Cats Stop Growing?
This way the Main Coon breed usually needs up to four years to reach full size, while the British Shorthair breed needs about three years to reach full development.
Smaller cat breeds usually finish growing much earlier (around the age of 12 months), while medium sized breeds reach full development around the age of 24 months.
This way, Persian and Siamese cat breeds finish their growth at the age of one year, while European cats need about two years to reach full development.
During the adolescent stage, cats are sexually active, but not socially mature.
6. Mature Period
Cats become physically, socially and mentally mature only at the age of 3 to 4 years.