Let’s be honest, we all take a parentally pride in taking care of our pets; this is especially true when said pets are in their infancy and need someone to take care of them. A lot of people address them as their children and really, when you are feeling them, potty training them, tucking them into bed and all that good stuff, you pretty much are parenting at that point!
Sadly though, like all children, they eventually grow up into adults and the joys and annoyances of parenthood eventually end.
The subject of our discussion is cats, of course, and how much they grow. So first of all, if you’ve owned pets, you know that cats and dogs don’t take particularly long to grow. That’s one of the tragedies of parenthood; no matter how long you’ve been doing it for, it seems to end way too fast and your kids are all grown up in no time!
And cats, staying true to this statement, undergoes most of its growth in the first year after it’s birth. While the degree of growth and the duration of this growth can vary depending on the breed and indeed, certain larger breeds can experience the growth phase for up to as long as 2 years after birth but for most cats, particularly the standard domestic cat, and a year is about right.
Now, I know that might entirely for your experience and indeed, despite experiencing rapid physical growth in the first year or so, the mental development does not follow suit and more likely than not, they’ll still act very childish and immature for quite a bit longer. The maintaining of this mannerism is primarily the reason why a lot of pet owners remember their kittens to be little for a much longer time than they actually we’re. If you’ve ever owned a pet, I’m sure you can relate to it!
Going back to the topic of physical growth, if you are the owner of the house cat, you’ll likely see it rapidly grow after birth from a kitten into an almost full-sized cat, measuring up to 20 cm in height. Afterward, it will grow a few more centimeters, about 4 to 5, before it becomes a fully grown, adult cat. This change tends to happen over one a half years and so, you’re likely to not notice the exact point at which your pet stops growing up. Therefore, it is safe to say that for an average domestic cat, by the time it is 2 and a half years of age, it is likely to become a fully fledged adult in size. And let’s be real, in the overall scheme of things, two years is nothing! It’ll fly by in no time and you’ll see your little kitty grow into a majestic adult in very little time.
But going back to their mental development, does their mental growth follow into the footsteps of their physical growth? Interestingly, yes, for the latter half of the growth, it is found that mental and physical growth are similar and in the latter 18 months or so, your cat is going to go from a hormone induced clingy restlessness and overall excitement to a very calm, elegant and stable creature. Yeah, after that age, they tend to grow into that high-strung, high maintenance type like your standard rebellious teenager. However, it can also vary depending on whether you have neutered your kitty at a young age.
Neutering for a cat is basically spraying the reproductive organs to prevent them from having unwanted babies, especially at a really young age. Reasons for why owners neuter them, however, extend beyond this. A lot of cats need to be neutered to calm their hormones down and prevent them from going too wild at a really young age. Wildcats, typically not neutered, can be commonly seen to exhibit similar erratic behavior starting from really young ages. A unique effect of this, however, is this that a neutered cat is also going to undergo much slower mental and reproductive development and therefore, are going to mentally grow up much later than their non-neutered counterparts. Pretty weird, eh?! It’s kind of twisted when you think about it; by neutering your kitten, you get to baby it around for a year or so longer and extend the parenthood experience. Imagine if people did that with their own kids! Freaky stuff indeed.
Now let’s move onto some other breeds. Certain breeds, such as Savannah cats, which grow to be as much as thirty pounds in weight, can take a considerable amount of time longer than the house cat and this applies for mental development too. In fact, it can take up to more than three years before a domesticated Savannah cat grows up to full size and starts acting like an adult. The Maine coon, another big breed is said to grow up to the age of four and again, take as long as to mentally grow into adulthood too. Some things need to be babied for longer than others!
There aren’t really any cats that grow up notably faster than the house cat. They can’t be too small in size now, can they? And heck, would you even want them to grow up fast, to begin with? Kittens are just too adorable where as adult cats are snobs! Stick to the bigger cats who take longer to grow up I say!
Wow, that’s a lot of discussion about cat sizes! On a more serious note, even adult cats are alright, they just enjoy their personal space. They’re quite loving and stuff too! But if you’re looking to keep your pets young for longer, you know what you can do! They’ll be fine even if you don’t though, and that’s what truly matters. Just enjoy the journey and don’t over think it!