Are your kitten’s ears too big for his face, or his paws too big for his body? Those are sure signs that he has some more growing to do! But when do cats stop growing? There actually isn’t a simple answer to that question. Depending on their breed, cats reach full maturity at different ages. Read on to learn about when cats typically stop growing, and which breeds take longer to reach full maturity.
When do kittens become cats?
There are multiple stages to kitten growth, but veterinarians consider cats to be “adult” when they’re 1 year or older. This means that by your kitten’s first birthday, he should be eating adult cat food. (Preferably you’ll begin transitioning a little before his first birthday.)
Unfortunately, female kittens can go into their first heat cycle as young as 4-5 months of age—which means kittens are capable of carrying kittens. That’s why you should spay and neuter your cats early!
So when do cats stop growing – typically?
Even if your cat is considered adult at 1 year of age, does that mean he has stopped growing? Ask veterinarians when do cats stop growing? and you’ll likely receive answers that range from 9 months old to 2 years old.
Kittens do the most growing in the first 6 months of life. In fact, healthy kittens grow 8 times their size in just about 8 weeks! By approximately 1 year old, cats will weigh at or around their adult weight, which typically ranges from 7 to 15 pounds depending on the breed. Of course, that doesn’t include cats that become overweight. (Sadly, 60-70% of cats in the U.S. are considered overweight to obese.)
8 cat breeds that take years to reach full maturity
While the typical house cat stops growing around 1 year old, certain cat breeds take years to reach full maturity. Cats of these breeds tend to be larger in size (though that isn’t always the case).
The American Bobtail cat takes up to 3 years to reach full maturity. This naturally occurring short-tailed cat is well-muscled, solid, and looks similar to a bobcat. He is considered the “golden retriever” of the cat world.
The Maine Coon is one of the largest cat breeds out there, sometimes weighing up to 25 pounds. It takes 3-5 years for a Maine Coon cat to stop growing, and he’s a spectacular mouser. Luckily, he’s gentle and good-natured when it comes to humans!
The Manx cat, which is bred to be tail-free, doesn’t reach his full size until 5 years of age. Like the Maine Coon, Manx are natural mousers. When they’re not on guard, they are generally mellow and affectionate.
Norwegian Forest Cat
The large, muscular, long-haired Norwegian Forest Cat attains full growth at around 5 years old. As the official cat of Norway, this breed has been mentioned in Scandanavian legends and mythology. In fact, some say these cats traveled with the Vikings themselves!
Ragdoll cats are considered the gentle giants of the cat world. These fluffy cats take up to 4 years to reach physical maturity. They’re known to collapse into the arms of anyone who holds them, and prefer to stay on the same level in the room as their humans.
The exotic Savannah cat was bred by crossing a domestic cat with an African Serval. This spotted cat can grow very large and live a long life, thus speaking to his slower rate of maturity. He is an active and adventurous cat that may actually seem more like a dog!
The Siberian cat is one of the oldest cat breeds, with references dating back at least 1,000 years. These powerful, long-haired cats take up to 5 years to reach full maturity. They are intelligent, affectionate cats with lots of personality.
The Turkish Van is a large, agile cat known for a love of playing in water. This breed also takes years before fully grown. This rare, ancient breed is considered a treasure in its homeland of southeastern Turkey, and is not readily available to export to other countries.
So, when do cats stop growing? And when do kittens become cats? Now you know there’s no easy answer! While the average cat is done growing between 9 months and 2 years of age, there are many cat breeds that keep growing well beyond that.
Cover photo by Nihal Karkala on Unsplash