As a pet parent, watching your small feline pal grow into an adult cat is a very joyous occasion. However, can you tell when your kitten is all grown up? What are the signs that your cat has stepped into adulthood?
Have you ever had a cat since it was a small kitten? If you did, you probably had the pleasure of watching them grow up. You are also probably aware of the fact that when a kitten starts entering adulthood, certain traits or habits of theirs tend to change.
You might see that there’s a sudden increase in your kitten’s weight, or perhaps your small kitty is starting to eat adult cat food. What we’re trying to say is that when your cat is starting to grow into adulthood, there are always a few noticeable signs. Let’s see what some of those signs are.
#1 Diminished Playfulness
Did you know that like dogs, cats too can play fetch? This was recently revealed in a study published in Scientific Reports. However, after a certain age – usually 7 years of age – they might not be too eager to do so. In fact, as kitties grow up into adult cats, many of them lose their playful nature.
Kittens are notorious for their boundless energy and seemingly inexhaustible desire to engage in games and antics. Growing cats, however, show a noticeable decrease in their enthusiasm for play.
Adult cats tend to adopt a more measured and dignified approach to their activities. They opt for brief bursts of playtime rather than the prolonged and frenzied play sessions characteristic of kittens.
The Spruce Pets further reports that most kittens will engage in high-energy games at around ages 4 to 5 months. After that, this high energy of theirs seems to diminish as they slowly lose interest in playing frequently.
#2 Establishment of Territory
As your cat matures, it becomes increasingly territorial. Adult cats exhibit a strong sense of ownership over their space. They mark it with scent glands located on their face, paws, and the base of their tail.
You may notice your cat rubbing its face against furniture or other objects, leaving behind a scent that signals its presence. This territorial behavior is a clear departure from the carefree and exploratory nature of kittens who are more focused on discovery.
#3 Change in Dietary Habits
As your cat matures from a playful kitten to a composed adult, you'll likely observe a significant shift in its dietary habits. Kittens have higher energy requirements and often indulge in frequent, smaller meals. However, adult cats tend to adopt a more regulated eating pattern. Thus comes the need to address the question of how long should kittens eat kitten food before switching to an adult diet.
According to animal rescuer and cat tamer Lesley Sears, kittens must be provided with free access to food for 18 months when they’re growing. Afterward, you can consider limiting their intake to dry adult cat food only.
Adult cats generally require fewer calories and may benefit from a diet tailored to their specific age and nutritional needs. This transition is crucial for maintaining optimal weight, muscle mass, and overall well-being. It’s also important to ensure that your cat doesn’t get its stomach upset by consuming the wrong type of food.
#4 Changed Sleep Patterns
Kittens are renowned for their ability to sleep anywhere and everywhere, often in the most amusing and contorted positions. However, as your cat transitions into adulthood, you may notice a shift in its sleep patterns.
As told by Nicole LaForest, LVT, BSc, MPH, on petMD, kittens sleep 12 to 16 hours a day. While adult cats still enjoy ample rest, they tend to adopt more specific and reserved sleeping spots. You may find your cat choosing quiet areas for its naps, reflecting a growing sense of independence and a desire for uninterrupted relaxation.
In conclusion, your kitty won’t turn into an adult cat all of a sudden one day. It will, instead, go through a process throughout which it’ll showcase a few signs or traits. These signs, listed above, will help you realize that your kitten is now stepping into adulthood. As that happens, you, as their parent, must adapt to the cat’s changing needs and lifestyle.