If you just got a kitten, you may wonder: For how long can I enjoy this cute little fluff ball? When will he be an adult and how big will he get?
The quick answer is every cat’s growth is different and may take one to four years. But there are indicators you can use to guess how big your floof will get and how long it will take to get there. They aren’t foolproof because, in the end, many factors contribute to the final full glory.
Let’s dive into kittens and cats.
Feline stages of life
First, let’s talk about the average cat. Most reach 18 inches tall (paw to shoulder) and weigh about 10 pounds when full size. Most domestic cats like Tabbies and Siamese will grow to adult size in one year. But there’s a lot of growth and a few life stages before you get there!
Let’s dive in!
Newborn to 6 months old: This is the most rapid growth stage. Your kitten will go from newborn (eyes closed, relying on Momma for everything), to feisty, curious kittens wreaking havoc in the house.
Kittens will gain rapid weight during this time. A kitten will gain 0.25 – 0.5 lbs per week in those early weeks until they have doubled their birth weight by weeks 10-12.
This is also the time that socialization is important. To keep your kitten from becoming aloof, lots of interaction and love are key. Feral kittens don’t have any socialization with humans, and it explains why they prefer to avoid us.
In this stage, kittens are fluffy, with downy fur, round faces, big toe beans (paws too), and enormous eyes. They have sharp, tiny teeth, and small, delicate bones. They’re also very active and playful. They lose their baby teeth around 10 weeks. By 6 months they have their adult teeth. Their facial features will become more prominent and sleek around 3-6 months.
6 months to 12 months: A kitten’s growth rate slows down during this stage. Most veterinarians will consider a kitten full-grown by one year. They can also transition from kitten food to adult cat food during this stage. But depending on the breed, some cats are still growing and need to remain on kitten food until 2-years old.
You can see what your kitty will look like when it reaches adulthood in this stage. Many small domestic cats will stop growing around 12 – 16 months of age, but the larger ones, like Maine Coon cats or Ragdoll cats, will continue growing until 4 or even 5 years of age! But overall, the facial roundness will lengthen to become more prominent, like an adult cat.
This is your cat’s adolescent stage. They may be rebellious, rambunctious, and constantly on the go. They’ve grown into a lanky stage, and depending on the activity level, can look lean. Trust me, they will grow into their frame as they mature.
This is also when they reach sexual maturity. A male cat can impregnate another cat, and the female cat can get pregnant. During this stage, your veterinarian may recommend spaying or neutering your kitten, or keeping them away from other cats to avoid mating.
1 – 3 Years: Your cat is an adult at this stage. It may continue growing very slowly. Most stop growing completely around 18 months. Your cat may look like a lean adult during this time.
3 – 6 Years: This is the prime of your cat’s life. The larger breeds are still growing for a year or two, but the smaller breeds have bloomed into glorious adult cats by now. Both will spend their days hunting for that catnip mouse, eating their tasty morsels from the food dish, grooming themselves, and sleeping.
7-10 Years: This is a fully matured cat. They still play but are more laid back. There is no more growth except maybe around the tummy. Proper nutrition and plenty of exercise will ward off early aging health issues.
11-14 Years: These are the senior years. The age-related diseases can show up now, and your cat will begin to slow down.
15+ Years: These cats have reached the geriatric stage of life. They may show some weight loss from age-related issues, and their fur may lose some of its former luster. However, that regal, loving, floof is still there, waiting for the chance to cuddle and take a snooze in your lap.
How big will my cat get?
You may have looked at your kitten’s paws and wondered if your sweet little kitten will become a monster cat, but kittens differ from puppies. For cats, the paws aren’t a sign of size when grown. But their toe beans are definitely adorable!
Breed, gender, and other factors determine how big your specific feline will get. Some breeds can grow very large, with some staying small and dainty.
Here are some factors that determine the size of your kitty:
Gender: Male cats grow slower and larger than their female counterparts. A male can grow up to 2 lbs. larger than his female sister.
Fixed or Intact: Neutering or spaying doesn’t affect how large your cat will become like scientists thought years ago, but it can change their metabolic rate, meaning they can gain weight if they prefer sleeping to playing.
Most veterinarians will recommend altering at 6 months, but shelters and rescues have been altering kittens earlier to decrease the possibility of accidental litters. The weight threshold for early neutering is 4 lbs.
Birth Order: We all have fallen in love with a runt at some point, knowing it will grow up smaller than the others in the litter, and this is true for all the kittens in the litter. The farther down the birth line a kitten falls, the smaller they may be as an adult, especially if it’s a small momma cat and that gave birth to many kittens.
Number of siblings: The number of kittens in a litter matter. Too many kittens can stretch the amount of milk available from the momma to kitty too far. Kittens with poor nutrition grow slower and end up smaller.
Health of parents: Just like any other species, the health of the parents matter. If your kitten comes from a well-loved and pampered momma, chances are your floof will reach the full growth size genetics determined. If not, your furbaby can be smaller when completely grown.
Diet: Proper nutrition means proper growth. Your kitten should get a balanced, nutritional diet of kitten food for the first year of its life. Some can require kitten food longer (like the larger cats who are still growing), but most average 10 lb. cats can transition to adult food between 10-12 months of age. Your vet can advise what is the right option for your cat.
Genetics: There are some genetic factors that can signal if your cat will be small in adult size. They include dwarfism and any bone deformities. Your vet will find any abnormalities with your kitty during the routine check-ups.
Routine cat health check-ups are important for all cats, but especially kittens. Pumpkin offers a best-in-class insurance plan for kittens and cats.
My kitten is chubby. Will she be big?
Don’t mistake weight gain for growth. Kittens can become overweight, just like adult cats.
Look at cat breed charts for height and weight percentages. The charts offer breed-specific guidelines for your cat’s height, length, and weight.
During the kitten stage, your vet is the best resource for your cat’s weight and size. In adulthood, these measurements can show you where your cat lands on the spectrum for the breed.
Where to measure for breed-specific charts:
Height: Paw to shoulder, minus the tail.
Length: Nose to the base of the tail. They do tail measurements separately and it doesn’t determine how big your cat will be, or if it’s overweight.
Weight: The charts offer an adult weight spectrum.
Still not sure how long your cat will continue growing? Here are some common breeds of cat and their expected growth rate.
At what age do cats stop growing?
Tabby, Siamese or common Domestic Shorthair: 13-16 inches long, 11 inches tall, weighing 10-22 lbs. Growth stops at 12 – 19 months.
Ragdoll: 15-26 inches long, 9-11 inches tall, weighing 8-20 lbs. Growth stops at four years.
Savannahs: 20-25 inches long, 10-19 inches tall, 12-20 lbs in weight. Growth stops at two years.
Maine Coons: 48 inches long, 8-16 inches tall, 25 lbs in weight. Growth stops at four years.
Bengals: 13-16 inches long, 11-13 inches tall, 10-22 lbs in weight. Growth stops at two years.
How big will your cat get?
After looking at all the different factors contributing to cat size, and when their growth will stop, you can see that each cat is different and their growth depends on many things. The best way for you to make sure your cat reaches the full glory of cat hood is to make sure you feed them a nutritious, well-balanced diet, complete with the essential vitamins and minerals, provide plenty of exercise, and tons of love.
If you do that, you may have a big cat or a small cat, and it may take one year or four years; but in the end, you have a loving feline companion through all the growth stages.