Wet cat wrapped in a towel

Key takeaway

During the first year of a cat’s life is when you’ll see the most growth, with some going into their second year. Watching your kitten grow is a gratifying and wholesome experience and you’ll see them mature physically and mentally during the first couple years of their life.

So you’ve just brought an adorable new kitten home. Like babies, we wish kittens could stay small and cute forever, but when the reality sets in, you may begin to ask yourself, just how big is my cat going to be? When do cats stop growing?

The first year of a kitten’s life is full of lots of play, curiosity, and tons of growth. Around twelve months is when most kittens will stop growing, but this can vary between breeds and environmental factors. For example, larger feline breeds like the Maine Coone cat may grow well into their second year. But in general, you should start to see your kitty’s growth slow down around the year mark.

If you’re curious about how big your cat may get and want to follow along their journey into adulthood, jump around this article to determine how they grow and when your cat may stop growing:

Graphic listing factors that impact a cat’s full-grown size

What Impacts A Cat’s Full-Grown Size?

When it comes to a growing kitten, just like with humans, there are a lot of genetic and environmental factors that play a role in how their adult bodies will be. Some variables include:

  • Gender
  • Neutering/Spaying
  • Genetics
  • Amount of siblings per litter
  • Birth order
  • Diet and Nutrition

What Does A Cat’s Growth Cycle Look Like?

A kitten’s growth begins immediately after entering the world, with some doubling in size during their very first week. At one year old, your cat will be the equivalent of a teenager in cat years or about fifteen years old.

Here are some significant milestones you’ll witness your cat go through during different parts of their life.1

0-6 Months

Kittens are born blind and deaf and will rely solely on their mothers for care. During this period, kittens will get their food and nutrition from their mother’s milk if she is available to nurse them. Otherwise, you will be in charge of bottle feeding! After four weeks of getting fed exclusively by their mother, you can begin weaning your kitten off the milk and onto more solid foods.

During the first couple of weeks, your kitten may start experimenting with moving around and strengthening their muscles to walk. They also will start to develop their eyesight and hearing while becoming more curious as time goes on.

Your kitten will grow the most during the first six months of its life, but there is some growth variation between males and females. For example, male cats stop growing later in life and grow slower and typically larger than female kittens. Also, if you plan on litter box training for your kitten, the ideal time to start is during this period at around a month old.

During their first six months, your kitten will develop and lose their baby teeth and grow in their adult set of teeth. Their bodies will grow and strengthen, so they’ll start harnessing the agility and grace we all know and love cats for. Your kitten’s appetite will also continue to grow as they do and will be close to reaching their fully grown weight near the six-month mark, depending on the breed.

Since male cats typically finish growing later than female kittens, there is some variation in when female cats stop growing and reach their sexual maturation. Female kittens can reach puberty, or age of sexual maturation younger than their male counterparts. Around this time is when you should consider your neutering/spaying options to prevent unexpected pregnancies. Unlike females, when male cats stop growing and reach sexual maturation, they do not go into heat.

6 Months - 2 Years

At this point, you may still be asking yourself, “when do cats stop growing?” if not during the first six months. You’ve watched them grow into the cat they are today, and you are a proud parent. Your cat is physically mature at this point and emotionally and is ready to take on adventures of its own. During this phase, you may notice that your cat can take on the personalities of teenagers, ready to test all limits just like human teens. Your cuddly kitten may just turn into an independent warrior, so be prepared to watch their personalities grow.

While you’ve probably seen your cat stop growing and have reached their full size during this period, their bodies can continue to fill out from that slender frame as they age. This is a great time to engage your cat with some fun cat toys to help them exercise mentally and physically if you haven’t been working on this already.

3-6 Years

At this age, you can expect that your cat has stopped all the growing they will do and are physically and mentally developed adults. In order to maintain their good health, you should have your cat on a regular diet and aim to keep their weight stable. Regularly engaging your cat with some playtime will help keep their senses sharp and muscles active.

Common issues some cats develop during adulthood can include obesity or dental and gum issues. It's important to pay close attention to the amount of food your cat is getting and make sure their teeth and gums stay healthy and clean throughout your cat's life. Desensitizing them to things like teeth cleaning while they’re young can make this job easier down the road.

7-10 Years

By this point in time, you’ve got a mature cat on your hands. At this age, your cat may still have the body and face of a young feline but has the potential to start developing health issues. Like humans, cats can begin to develop age-related health issues, so it is best to keep a careful eye on your aging feline. Some common diseases cats develop during this time include diabetes, high blood pressure, and thyroid issues.

A veterinarian can help guide you to keeping your aging kitty as healthy as possible. Just be sure to inform them if you notice your cat acting differently than usual or showing any signs of discomfort, as it could result from a health issue they’re experiencing.

11 Years +

By the eleventh year onwards, you may be wondering where the time has gone. Most of your questions about when cats stop growing have been answered, but you may have some new ones. Since you’ve got a senior feline on your hands, you may be thinking about what you can do to help ease your cat’s aging symptoms and keep them healthy through the rest of their lives.

Many health issues can develop during the senior stage of a cat's life. As cats age, it becomes harder for their bodies to complete regulatory activities. Older cats run the risk of dehydration or constipation, but many issues are treatable.

An aging cat has an increased risk of more serious health issues. While less common, cats can develop diseases and conditions such as dementia which can cause disorientation, sleeping more, and less interest in food and water. Another issue cats may develop later in life is arthritis, where the body loses cartilage around its joints.

Three gray kittens sitting in front of a purple backdrop

When Do Cats Stop Growing: FAQs

Can you tell how big a cat will get?

Based on breed, you may have a general idea of how large your kitten may grow, but if you just cannot wait to find out, there is a way to get a general estimate. When your kitten is 16 weeks old, measure their weight and double that number. That number is an estimate for just how large your kitten may get, and while it's not a perfect science, it can give you a rough idea of what to expect.2

At what age is a cat fully grown?

Most breeds of cats will be fully developed by 12 months of age. However, many variables play a part in when a kitten finishes fully growing. Breed, gender, amount of littermates, diet, and birth order all play a role in how a kitten grows and when it is finished. Your cat may just finish before or after that 12-month mark.

Do cats get bigger after 6 months?

Most but not all cats will continue to grow after six months. Depending on breed and other contributing factors, some cats will reach their full-grown size at six months with most continuing on into their first year.

How big should a 1-year-old cat be?

A cat's weight is variable at one year old due to breed, genetics, and gender, however, most cats will weigh between eight to fifteen pounds at this age. If you’re concerned that your cat may be over or underweight, you can consult your veterinarian to help determine a healthy size for your cat. Cats have especially sensitive kidneys, so it is essential to consult your vet prior to making any dietary changes for your cat.

Final Notes

The course of your cat's life is full of lots of fun and play, and you’ll be surprised just how fast the time will fly by. You’ll want your kitten to stay little forever and impatiently wonder when do cats stop growing. However, all the excitement comes from watching and being by their side as they grow. By now, you should have a general idea of how your kitten will grow into an adult over the course of its life.

From kittenhood to senior status, you’ll be a part of the journey every step of the way. Knowing how your cat’s body will grow and change over the course of its life will help you prepare for anything along the way.

Dutch offers telemedicine for pets, connecting you and your kitten to qualified veterinarians from the comfort of your own home. Dutch can help you answer your pet-related questions and make reaching a qualified professional even easier.

References

  1. Editorial, PetMD. “At What Age Are Cats Fully Grown?” PetMD, PetMD, 29 Sept. 2021, https://www.petmd.com/cat/care/what-age-are-cats-fully-grown

  2. Team, Cuteness. “When Do Cats Stop Growing? Reliable Ways to Know When Cats Reach Their Full Size.” Pet Care Blog – Dog and Cat Health Advice and More | Healthy Paws, 12 Nov. 2019, https://blog.healthypawspetinsurance.com/when-do-cats-stop-growing-reliable-ways-to-know-when-cats-reach-their-full-size