HEALTH & CARE

How Long Do Cats Grow: The Amazing Truth About Cat Size

a small kitten in human hands
Martha Harvey
Written by Martha Harvey

You’re smitten with this kitten who’s very playful and smart. It’s nearly a year after her birth but you’re still unsure if she has can still be considered a kitten. Will she still grow? Or has she reached her full growth potential? “How long do cats grow” is a legit question that many cat owners like you ask.

Unlike humans, cats can grow very fast during their first few months, and most domestic cats finish growing in a year. However, their physical development may also be affected by their breed, hereditary, and environmental factors.

You’ll know more about cat physical growth in this article. Also, we’ll tell you the cat breeds that tend to grow to amazing proportions. And we’ll also shatter some myths about kitten growth. By the time you are done reading this post, you should be able to have a better understanding of your pet’s growth potential.

A Cat’s Growth Process: From Kittenhood to Adulthood

Three-month-old kitten

Now let’s deal with the question on hand first: how long until felines stop growing?

  • Upon Birth: Cats typically grow the fastest during their first few months. When they are born, they normally weigh around 4 ounces. To give you an idea, a newborn kitten is slightly lighter than a baseball, which is around 5 ounces.

  • First Week: Those cute little kittens gain around half an ounce per day, so by the end of their first week, they weigh around 8 ounces.

  • One Month: By the end of the fourth week, kittens will exhibit a lot of vigor by stalking and playing with littermates as well as learning hunting skills.

  • Two Months: Kittens generally reach one pound by the time they hit their second month.

  • Three Months: Three-month-old kittens usually weigh 2 to 4 pounds. Their size at this point is at least three times their size when they were born. It is also during this month when kitten growth can accelerate so fast to the point that they can gain a pound per month.

  • Four Months: A four-month-old kitten would weigh 4 to 5 pounds.

  • Five Months: A healthy, five-month-old kitten should weigh between five and six pounds.

  • Six Months: By the time they hit their sixth month, kittens are considered ‘teenagers.’ Just like human teenagers, cats during this stage are not yet done growing but are capable of reproducing. It is during this phase that kittens are often spayed or neutered.

  • One Year: Kittens would hit adulthood by the time they reach their first year. Normally, this is the stage when they stop growing. Some cats would still grow although the rate won’t be as drastic and noticeable as it was during the first year. They can continue to grow until they reach 1½ years of age.

See Also: How to Wean Kittens

Factors that Can Affect Cat Growth

cat having a big litter

As mentioned above, some cats can continue to grow until they reach 1½ years of age, whereas others hit maturity at one year old. How do you know which category your cat belongs to? Which factors affect cat growth?

Here are some of the kitten-related traits and external factors that can affect a kitten’s physical development:

  • The Weight of the Mother: Hereditary factors may come into play, such as the weight of the mother. Simply put, the larger and heavier the mother cat is, the higher the chances that the kitten would grow bigger. Moreover, healthier mother cats can give highly nourishing milk.

  • Hormonal Factors: Physical growth may also be affected by certain hormones that are synthesized by the kitten’s internal system.

  • Environment: The quality of the surroundings where the kitten grew up may also play a role in his or her growth. For example, poor hygiene can affect the health of not only the mother but also her kittens. Stress can affect the kittens’ appetite and mess up their hormonal balance.

  • Litter Size: Kittens that grew up in a large litter will have to compete for milk, and this can affect their growth.

One last factor—and the most significant one, so to speak—is the breed of your cat.

How Long Do Large Cat Breeds Grow?

In this part of the article, we will tackle some of the largest cat breeds and their average sizes. As you may have noticed, larger cat breeds will take more time to grow to their full adult size. Domesticated cats who are fed normally would take just 12 to 18 months to reach their full growth potential, but it might take longer for some larger cat breeds.

#1: Savannahs

Savannah kitten

The Savannah cat can be described as long, tall, and heavy. In fact, their average weight is 25 pounds. In comparison, an adult cat weighs around 8 to 12 pounds. Their height can range from 10 to 19 inches. It takes around 2 to 3 years for Savannahs to reach their full adult size.

The tallest cat in the world was also a Savannah. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, a Savannah cat named Trouble measured 19 inches from shoulder to toe. She passed away in 2012.

Trouble eclipsed the previous record set by another Savannah named Magic who measured 18 inches from shoulder to toe.

#2: Norwegian Forest Cats

Norwegian Forest kitten

You might mistake Norwegian Forest Cats for a Maine Coon because the truth is, they have a look that’s very similar to that of Maine Coons.

They’re also big cats with their length tends to exceed a meter—more precisely, around 48 inches. They weigh as much as 10 kilograms or 22 pounds, which is almost twice the weight of a typical domestic cat.

A key characteristic of this cat breed is their long, thick fur, which keeps them warm especially during the cold season. They also have a thick layer of fat that helps them insulate their bodies during the cold.

#3: Ragdoll Cats

Ragdoll kitten

This is a mixed cat breed that has become very popular in recent years. This breed is typically part Persian, Siamese, Javanese, Birman, and Burmese cat, or any of the said combinations.

They are large, fluffy, muscular, and heavy. They can weigh as much as 9 kilograms or around 20 pounds. Ragdoll cats can also grow up to 26 inches long and 11 inches tall. It takes about four years for them to grow to their full size.

Ragdoll cats have large tummies, short limbs, and rounded bodies. They are very affectionate and docile, which when combined with their size, makes them ideal cuddle partners.

#4: Highlander Cats

Highlander kitten

It is a breed presently in development but already considered one of the largest feline breeds. Highlander cats can weigh up to 22 pounds. They are available in long and short haired varieties. Their loosely curled ears could be their most distinguishing feature.

#5: British Shorthair

British Shorthair kitten

These are cats which aren’t as big as the Maine Coon but are pretty hefty in their own right. Did you know that it can take them 3 to 5 years to fully develop into adults?

The British Shorthair breed can weigh as much as 16 pounds, and their good looks make them very popular around the world. In terms of length, they can measure 16 to 22 inches. Their height can range from 14 to 20 inches. British Shorthair is one of the very first pedigree cats.

#6: Chausie

Chausie kitten

Being descendants of the jungle cat, Chausies are not surprisingly one of the longest domestic cats around. Their long bodies and long legs can be attributed to their close relationship with their wildcat ancestor.

However, most Chausies sold today have the personality of a domestic cat. That and their slightly wider look gives them a very intriguing profile. Going back to their size, Chausies can grow up to 22 pounds.

#7: Bengals

Bengal kitten

Among the large cat breeds, the Bengals are the fastest to grow to their adult size. It would only take 1 to 2 years for them to do so.

Most Bengal cats are 13 inches long, although it is possible for them to reach 16 inches. Their height can be up to 11 inches while their weight can range from 10 to 22 pounds. Males are usually heavier than female Bengals.

#8: Maine Coon

Maine Coon kitten

Since this is a large cat breed, you’ll have to wait a couple of years before you see your pet grow to his/her full size. Maine Coon cats typically realize their full growth potential by their fourth year.

In fact, Maine Coons can reach up to 40 inches long. This explains why they are fondly called the “Gentle Giant” of felines. This cat breed has a size that can rival those of smaller breeds of dogs.

Gender also plays a part. A female Maine Coon can reach up to 12 pounds, but their male counterparts can weigh up to 20 pounds. In comparison, a typical domesticated cat weighs between 8 to 10 pounds when he/she reaches adulthood!

Here’s a bit of trivia you may be interested in: the longest living cat today is a Maine Coon named Ludo. Measuring nearly 45 inches long, the cat lives in the United Kingdom.

But Ludo doesn’t hold the record for being the longest cat of all time. Another Maine Coon named Stewie was measured 48.5 inches long. Yes, the measure from the tip of the nose to the end of the tailbone of Stewie was a little longer than 4 feet. Sadly, Stewie passed away in 2013.

Shattering Myths About Kitten Growth

Before we end this article, let us clarify some beliefs about kittens and their physical development. It’s likely you have heard of them at some point in your life, such as:

#1: The Paw Size of Kittens Determines Their Size as an Adult

cat's paw size

No—the paw size of your kitty won’t give you an idea on how he or she will be as a full-sized cat. While it is possible that a kitten with large feet or large bone structure will grow up big, it is not a certainty. There’s no scientific study or research that links a kitten’s paws to his/her adult size.

#2: Indoor Kittens Will Grow Bigger Than Those Left Outdoors

outdoor kitten

Let’s say there are two cats from the same litter. One cat was left to live outdoors while the other was raised outdoors. Which one do you think ends up the bigger cat?

Many people would say that the indoor kitten would grow bigger than his sibling who was let outdoors. That may be true because the indoor cat is likely to be given food and treats more often by his/her human parent.

Yet you can’t discount the likelihood that the outdoor cat will be able to fend for themselves. Cats, after all, evolved from the wild, so they are innately skilled when it comes to hunting. They can always hunt for other animals and get access to food.

So in short, indoor kittens could end up bigger than outdoor kittens, but it’s not a certainty at all.

See Also: Indoor Cat Lifespan

#3: Spaying or Neutering Cats at an Early Age Will Hamper Their Growth

desexing a cat

Here is another popular misconception or belief about cat growth—that desexing kittens at an early age (about 8 to 12 weeks) will hamper their physical development.

To date, there are no scientific studies that have proven this myth to be true. Moreover, there are no differences in the skeletal or physical development between cats spayed when they were kittens than those who were neutered when they were six months old.

Wrap Up

grown-up cat

So let’s answer the question we posed early on—how long do cats grow? The physical development of cats depends on different factors like breed, gender, hereditary, and environmental factors.

Generally speaking, large breed cats like Maine Coons, Savannahs, Bengals, and British Shorthair would take more time to develop into full-sized felines. These large cats would take years to grow into full-sized adults compared to domestic cats who would only take a year to do so.

Male cats also tend to grow faster and bigger than their female counterparts. And kittens who were born to healthier mother cats and smaller litters stand a greater chance of growing bigger than those who were born to sickly moms and were part of a bigger litter.

As you have learned, there are plenty of things that can affect your cat’s growth. But one thing is for sure—we all love cats regardless of their size, right? How old is your cat? How big do you think he/she will become? If you’re worried that he/she has become too big, check out our article on how much should a cat weigh.

About the author
Martha Harvey
Martha Harvey

Martha Harvey is a skilled veterinarian and a member of American Veterinary Medical Association from Greeley, Colorado. She has 20 years experience of working in Animal Hospital. Martha loves all of her patients, but her favorite one is the Russian Blue cat Stitch, who lives with her.

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