When you hold a kitten for the first time, it can be hard to imagine how fast it will grow. Kittens can grow in size quickly, but when can you expect a cat to stop growing and be considered an adult?
Although cats are considered adults at 12 months old, they do not stop growing at this time. A cat may not reach its potential size until 18 months to 4 years old, depending on a number of factors including breed.
The age at which cats stop growing varies widely. Breed, genetics, health and diet all play a role. In general, your cat may stop growing at 12 months, but may continue to grow until age 4.
Although many cats reach their maximum length and size at 12 months, they continue to fill and gain weight as their muscles develop.
The vast majority of cats stop growing between 18 and 24 months, although many larger breeds, such as Maine Coons, continue to grow until they are 3 to 4 years old.
It is important to determine when the cat has finished growing in order to provide the correct nutrition for its life stage.
The best way to know when your cat has stopped growing is to keep a monthly record of their height, length and weight. If these readings remain the same every month, it’s safe to assume your cat has stopped growing!
Kittens are only considered cats when they are 12 months old. This is not the age to stop growing, but technically you can say that kittens never stop growing!
On average, kittens of each breed (or crossbreed) are about the same size at birth. Generally, the more kittens in a litter, the smaller each kitten becomes.
One thing’s for sure: kittens grow fast. Kittens experience the greatest percentage increase in the first two weeks of their lives, as they actually double their weight during this period.
Kittens weigh an average of 5 ounces at birth and 10 ounces at 2 weeks old.
Cat growth in relation to life stage
A cat’s life has 6 life stages:
Kittens (0 to 6 months)
Rapid growth occurs during the kitten stage.
Junior (7 months to 2 years old)
By junior year, cats will continue to grow, but at a slower rate. Some cats stop growing by age 1, and by age 2, most cats have stopped growing—although larger breeds usually continue to grow beyond this age.
Prime (3 to 6 years old)
During the golden years of life, cats are usually physically mature. Some may grow more, but this usually stops after 4 years.
Mature (7 to 10 years)
Adult cats should maintain their size. Any gain that occurs now is usually unhealthy weight gain and should be carefully monitored.
Seniors (11 to 14 years old)
Older cats when life begins to lose weight. Make sure you eat healthy and don’t start looking skinny. Stay active as much as possible to maintain muscle strength.
Super Senior (from 15 years old)
Senior cats are generally less active and usually eat less.
Just like humans, cats have the potential to be larger than expected average size. Many indoor cats tend to gain weight due to inactivity.
When cats are overweight, their abdomens tend to sag, their waists cannot be seen when looking down, and their ribs are not easy to feel.
A cat that is naturally large is still a suitable weight for its size and will not carry too much fat.
When do cats stop growing?
It’s hard to give the exact age a cat will grow up to because this varies from breed to breed, even for cats of the same breed.
Many cats are fully grown at 18 months, but larger breeds such as Maine Coons can grow to 4 years old.
The only guarantee is that all cats will eventually stop growing – unless you overfeed them!