Taking care of pets is a bit like parenting for a much smaller time scale when you really think about it. I mean let’s be real, they need a lot of feeding, cuddling to bed, potty training and a bunch of other things that human babies also need to experience in order to inherit the capabilities a human being needs as they grow older. Similarly, it is vital that you make the best use of the time your kitty is still young and make a lot of memories with your little kitten as you two embark on the journey of life together and experience both the pains and joys of taking care of a cat through the process of life.
Your cat won’t be young for too long. In fact, they’ll become like teenagers in less than a year; that’s like lightning speed compared to the aging process of human babies! If anything, that just reiterates even more, why you need to treasure the time you spend with it as it grows up. So typically, I think you will want to know how long your kitty cat is going to remain young as well before it becomes a fully-fledged adult and becomes as disenchanted with existence as the rest of us!
So how long can you expect your kitten to remain a toddler in human terms and how long does it take for it to grow up into a fully-fledged adult? Well, a lot of factors need to be taken into consideration for this but as a general guideline, the average domestic cat will become a fully-fledged adult in 18 months’ time so that’s about as long as you’ll get, at most, to baby around your little kitty.
In this period of 18 months, your kitten is going to go through many of the age phases that humans go through too! The period of complete infancy, when the kitten is reliant entirely on parents for everything, tends to last up to the first month after birth. Sadly though, at this tender age, the kitty is going to rely on its birth mother entirely for all of this so you probably shouldn’t be interacting much with it at all. What a bummer, isn’t it?! But it’s important that kittens at this phase are solely cared for by their mothers as early interaction with human beings can be detrimental to the health of little kittens.
Don’t worry though, you’ll get the remaining 17 months or so to bond and play with your kitten though as it graduates from infancy to toddlerhood. At this age, you can start training them to use the litter specifically and they will become more social and begin interacting with other cats, as well as humans like yourself! The month that passes in this period of toddlerhood is perhaps the best time to be a pet owner as kittens at this tender age just begin to expand the boundaries of their social interactions and friendships with your cats are going to have their foundations built in this period.
Afterward, your kitten is going to enter the preteen stage, where most of its childhood will be spent. This is when the level of interaction between you and your cat is going to amplify and after the initial socialization between pet owner and kitty cat, this is the phase where you do the things that most cat owners do to with their pets. This is usually the age when a cat leaves the comforts of mother and siblings and starts to discover the world around them so let your keen desire for interaction take over and do fun activities with your now maturing kitten.
In this phase, try out all sorts of activities with your kitten. They’ll be in the mood to chase around at this age so you two can probably get to running around everywhere and expect them to give chase to you. You’ll lose some belly flab too at this rate!
At this age, they’re more likely to enjoy interacting with yarn balls and other play items as well. Try giving them a yarn ball to bounce around and chase after or if you’re up for some more effort, try making a pillow fort for your cat and see whether your kitten embraces it’s new palace or just runs through it to collapse it. And I didn’t even get to hide and seek! However, don’t expect it to be much of a contest, given all the nooks and crannies your kitten can get into where you probably can’t even comprehend anything going to!
As your cat enters adolescence, it is likely that it’ll become less friendly and social but it will still continue to maintain a good relationship with its pet owner. As it matures into a teen and then into an adult, like humans, its habits and interests are going to significantly change as it undergoes a whole host of hormonal changes. And as with hormonal changes at tender ages, at this age, your cat, regardless of gender, will experience reproductive changes and will increasingly want to mate. Yes, it’s like that age when all your friends go after girls! Turns out, even your cat is going to do the same!
However, it should be noted that like parents, pet owners have to get used to the fact that eventually, they go off to do their own things and cats are no exception to this rule. And if that involves species of the opposite sex, you’ll have to deal with it I suppose!
There is more to taking care of something or someone than just enjoying the time they are under your care though. Loving your children, much like pets, also means that they eventually grow up to do things that don’t necessarily involve you and that’s all part and parcel of life. You can’t expect to baby your cat forever, now can you? So enjoy it while it lasts, I say!