From the very first few days of their life, your kitten will be developing at a rapid pace. But when do they become a cat, rather than a kitten, and what are the steps they go through to get there?
The lifetime of a cat
In their initial months your kitten will be growing very quickly and being socialised by their mother and the rest of the litter. Weight gain is significant during this time. At around four or five months your kitten will be putting on 100g a week. They also begin to sleep less and play more.
The steps to your kitten becoming a cat
At one week, your kitten will have opened their eyes and be suckling on their mother. They’ll also be gaining 10g to 30g of weight a day, so daily weighing is essential to keep an eye on their health. At two weeks, their milk teeth come through and they make their first attempts to stand.
After a month, your kitten will be actively playing – part of their socialisation and very important as they grow into an adult cat – and you can begin to wean them onto nutritionally-appropriate solid foods. Once two months have passed, they should finish weaning and be fully independent of their mother for their nutrition.
Between three to six months, your kitten will be growing and developing strong muscles, bones and social skills. They need an energy-dense food as they have three times the energy requirement of adult cats, but their milk teeth have yet to be replaced by adult teeth so it needs to be easy for them to eat. They’ll be sleeping like an adult cat, for 13 to 16 hours each day.
The final stages of your kitten becoming a cat
After one year, your kitten will have become an adult cat. In this young adult stage they will be playful and fully socialised, healthy with a glossy coat, a strong skeleton and muscles, and excellent hunting reflexes.
Understanding the process by which your kitten develops into an adult cat means you’ll be able to give them the right support they need in their diet, behaviour and home life. If you have any concerns that your kitten isn’t progressing in the right way, consult your vet.