Developmental Stages Of Kitten Behavior
Well-socialized cats are more likely to have well-socialized kittens. Kittens respond to their mothers calm or fearful attitude toward people. Although feeding time is important, its also vital to include petting, talking and playing in order to build good people-skills in your kitten.
Kittens are usually weaned at six or seven weeks, but may continue to suckle for comfort as their mother gradually leaves them more and more. Orphaned kittens, or those weaned too soon, are more likely to exhibit inappropriate suckling behaviors later in life. Ideally, kittens should stay with their littermates for at least 12 weeks.
Kittens orphaned or separated from their mother and/or littermates too early often fail to develop appropriate social skills, such as learning how to send and receive signals, what an inhibited bite means, how far to go in play-wrestling and so forth. Play is important for kittens because it increases their physical coordination, social skills and learning limits. By interacting with their mother and littermates kittens learn how to be a cat, as well as explore the ranking process .
The following chart provides general guidelines for the stages of development.
Titer Testing For Cats
A titer is a test that is done using a sample of your cats blood to measure the level of antibodies to a specific disease. Antibodies are proteins made by the body as a response to antigens. Antigens are foreign substances or stimuli to the body, such as viruses, bacteria, or vaccinations, that cause the body to mount an immune response.
Vaccine titers are used as a screening tool to determine whether or not to revaccinate for a particular disease. If a vaccine titer comes back high, this indicates that your cat, if exposed to that disease, should be able to fight it off.
Adult Cat: One To Seven Years Old
Congratulations, that adorable ball of fluff you are raising is now officially an adult. Imagine, at two years old shell have reached her social maturity.
Behavioral changes are common at this time. Cuddly kittens may turn into I-want-to-be-alone divas or once unaffectionate kittens may cling to your lap.
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Why Are Vaccines Important
Vaccines protect your kitten from diseases by exposing his immune system to antigens that help your kitten develop antibodies to fight the disease if he is ever is exposed to it. Immunizations reduce the severity of a disease or even prevent it completely. The necessity of vaccinations is determined by your cats age and lifestyle inform your vet so your kitten receives the right vaccines. According to the ASPCA, vets recommend that all healthy felines receive core vaccinations.
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Nutritional Requirements And Lifestages
Up to six months, your kitten is growing at a very fast rate. From six months onward, her growth rate will slow down considerably. At 12 months old, your inquisitive cat probably still looks like a kitten to you and she is still more than likely to be getting into her fair share of mischief. However, by 9 to 12 months, many kittens have nearly reached their full grown size. At one year old, your kitten is generally considered to be an adult .
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How Do Vaccinations Work
Vaccinations prepare the immune system to recognise and fight off a particular disease quickly, preventing it from taking hold in the body. Vaccines work because they typically contain a dead or weakened disease giving the immune system time to build up resistance, ready to fight disease faster in the future, and keep your kitty healthy!
If your new pet hasnt had any vaccinations before you bring them home, they wont have any resistance or protection against common kitty illnesses. So for this reason, its best to keep your cat away from neighbourhood cats and indoors until they have had their shots.
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How Can We Help
To help you understand when your kitten will become a cat, we have highlighted some important information about kitten development. We will go over some general age ranges where most cats reach physical milestones that signify the beginning of adulthood.
We will go over the various life stages of a cat and explain when most cats reach their full adult size. We will also explain some of the many factors that determine how quickly your cat will grow.
To help you make sure that your kitten has a healthy transition into adulthood, we will also provide some useful information for how you can prepare your furry friend for a happy and healthy life! If you have questions, talk to a Hello Ralphie vet online today.
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Does My Kitten Need Injections Immediately After They Are Born
At birth, kittens are protected by the antibodies passed on by the mother through her rst milk . They face a critical period when the concentration from the mother is no longer enough to protect against viruses but is still high enough to prevent effective vaccination. During this time a kitten is most vulnerable to infection.
What Special Nutrition Do Kittens Need
A healthy and happy life starts with high-quality foods formulated to meet the nutritional needs of growing kittens. Choosing from among the many brands and varieties can be difficult, so look for foods formulated to support a healthy immune system, help build strong muscles and support overall growth and development.
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What Are The Necessary Shots For Kittens
Kittens and cats both typically receive the same vaccines. For most, this means protection against Cat Flu , Feline Panleukopaenia Virus, and Feline Leukaemia Virus . These are known as the core vaccines as they are the ones that protect against diseases that can cause significant health issues in our kitty population. While this may seem like a lot of jabs, luckily, most vets can administer these in one single injection .
There are also a number of non-core vaccines, which the majority do not receive. These include Rabies, Chlamydia felis, and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus .
1. Cat Flu
Signs of cat flu include runny eyes, sneezing, and a failure to thrive. Some kittens can become very ill and may pass away if severely affected. Cat Flu is highly contagious, so if one kitten in the litter is affected, the other will likely start to show signs soon. Frustratingly, even those that recover from flu will be infected for life and can suffer from flare-ups throughout their lifetime, especially at times of stress.
2. Feline Panleukopenia Virus
Also known as Feline Distemper, Panleukopaenia is akin to the better-known Parvovirus in puppies. It makes kittens very unwell and symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and a reduced appetite. The mortality rate is high, and, as with other viruses, there is no cure. This means that affected kittens and cats are managed with intensive supportive care, usually in a hospital setting, hoping they will pull through.
How Old Are Kittens When They First Open Their Eyes
Kittens are born with their eyes closed, and most will begin to open their eyes around the 7th to the 10th day. At this stage, the kitten is tiny and highly dependent on you and its mother for survival. However, at around the 3rd week, you will notice that its eyes are fully open, and the ears are no more droopy but erect. You will also see the teeth. Although the first steps are usually shaky, many kittens will even start walking around this age.
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Can A Kitten Eat Adult Dog Food
Is it possible for a kitten to eat adult dog food? Many owners wonder if their kitty can eat adult dog food.
This question is hard to answer because of the many varied reasons why a cat would be fed the wrong food, but there are some things you can look into to help make sure your cat isnt eating the wrong type of food.
Healthy Kittens usually eat the same things as their parents. Their mother and father will continue to feed them from birth.
If you feed your kittens the same things as your parents then they will grow up eating the same stuff.
You want to be careful not to give your cat canned food with nutrients missing that can be found in cat food. A good idea is to try adding more raw meat to your cats food once he or she is old enough to begin to eat solid food.
You should also consider a plan B if you suspect your kitten is not eating right. Be sure to consult your veterinarian before you consider removing your kitten from a healthy diet.
There could be some kind of medical reason for your cat not eating his or her diet.
The major concerns for human caregivers include the number of calories found in kibble compared to dog food.
Some people think that kitten food is fine for their pets but others dont like the idea of giving them a tiny little cat food meal.
This is where you need to realize that a kitten cannot properly metabolize food at this age.
A pet can be turned into a very effective drinking water by having a baby bottle or a water fountain around the house.
How Old Is Your Cat In Human Years
Alex Barlow / Getty Images
Historically, people often think every year of a cat’s life is equivalent to seven years of a human’s life, but cats actually age must faster than that. And with age, we know that diseases often follow, but cats also act differently at certain life stages. Because of these things, it’s not only helpful but also important to be able to understand what your cat is going through at each stage of its life.
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Kittens From Birth To Six Months
The first six months of a kitten’s life are filled with eye-opening experiencesliterally. A kitten’s eyes and ears open shortly after birth at around one to two weeks of age, and from there, its physical and mental development takes off. A kitten is exposed to sights, sounds, and smells just like that of a human infant. Each new animal, person, and object it comes in contact with helps to form its personality. Over the course of the next few weeks, the socialization skills of a kitten are greatly affected depending on all of these interactions and exposures.
After a kitten leaves its mother at about two to three months of age, it will start to become more independent and curious. It will explore its surroundings, get into a little trouble, and potentially chew on things it shouldn’t chew while its adult teeth are starting to erupt. Growth happens fast during these months and by the time a kitten is six months old, they are comparable to a 10-year-old child in age.
A series of vaccinations will need to be performed and kittens are typically spayed or neutered around six months of age. Most hereditary or congenital issues are usually discovered by your veterinarian during this time if there are any at all.
Vaccinations For Kittens And Cats
Kittens need a series of a few different vaccinations to give them full protection. The schedule typically starts when theyre about 6 to 8 weeks old, and runs until theyre about 16 weeks. After that, cats need boosters every year to a few years to help keep their immunity going strong. We always recommend keeping vaccination records handy to help you make sure theyre up to date.
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Which Age Is Considered Fully Grown
The age at which your kitten can be considered a full-grown adult cat isnt as black and white as you may expect. However, most experts agree that the majority of kittens can be considered adult cats at 12 months of age or at their first birthday. However, this doesnt mean your cat is fully grown yet. In fact, your cat will continue growing muscle and filling out their adult frame until they are around 18 months old.
If you have a larger breed cat, such as the Maine Coon, they may not be fully grown until they are around two years old. Basically, there isnt a specific age at which cats are done growing universally. However, most people consider a one-year-old kitten an adult cat.
An Important Reminder: Reproduction
Although your kitten isnt considered an adult cat until a year old, most kittens are able to reproduce at around six months old. This is the approximate age at which your kitten will reach puberty. Its important to know this because many people assume that kittens cant reproduce, but that isnt true. This is why its so important to get your kitten spayed or neutered around five or six months old before they show signs of puberty.
When a kitten gets pregnant, her body isnt fully developed to be able to handle the kittens inside of her. Her skeleton wont be fully grown until closer to ten months to a year old, making for cramped conditions for her growing babies. This can lead to complications for both her and her unborn kittens, especially if shes pregnant with multiples. Thats why its so important to spay and neuter your kittens earlier rather than later.
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When Do Kittens Become Adults
Most kittens are considered adults around their first birthday. For some larger breed cats, like Maine Coons, it can take up to 18 months to 2 years to reach their full size.
Between eight months and two years of age, kittens reach their full size. During this young adult period, cats are playful and energetic, but perhaps less so than they were as kittens.
Proper socialization will help your cat develop into a confident, friendly cat who behaves appropriately. This can include not being stressed when around new people or other pets, during grooming and visits to the veterinarian if incorporated into your kittens socialization. Work with your veterinarian or a pet behaviorist as soon as problematic or concerning behaviors arise to nip these issues in the bud.
When Does My Kitten Become A Cat
Tiny kittens develop and change so quickly that you might be wondering at exactly what age your roly-poly kitten turns into a cat. In short, kittens are generally accepted to be classified as a cat once they pass their first birthday.
Lets take a look at the stages that your kitten will go through as they head into adulthood.
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Nip It In The Bud: Reasons You Should Consider Neutering
Unless your cat is purebred and you plan to breed him, neutering before your male is sexually active is usually the best option.
Unneutered male cats are simply not fun to live with indoors, mainly thanks to their urine spraying. Mature, unneutered males also develop large scent glands near their tails that add even more strong odors to the household. Neutering eliminates this issue. A neutered male also can avoid developing testicular cancer when he gets older.
Outdoors, unneutered cats are at high risk of developing deadly viruses like Feline Immunodeficiency Virus or Feline Leukemia Virus from fighting other male cats. Wounds and infections from those fights are also risks.
Outdoor cats in general, but especially unneutered males since they are more prone to roaming long distances, are at risk of being hit by cars or hunted by predators like foxes, coyotes, or even neighborhood dogs. In general, cats are safest indoors, but if your male cat must live outdoors, neutering is one way to make it safer for him.
Last but not least, neutering your male cat ensures he wont contribute to the widespread pet overpopulation issues worldwide. Female cats can have multiple litters per year, and one unneutered male cat can be responsible for an unlimited number of pregnancies.
Neutering your male cat is a responsible and healthy choice both for your cat and the cat population as a whole.
Factors That Influence Growth Rate
Many factors will determine how quickly your kitten will reach its full adult size. Genetics plays a major role, which is why knowing your cats breed will help you guess when it will stop growing. Larger breeds take longer to reach their full size, while smaller breeds reach physical maturity much faster.
Diet will also play a role. Since kittens have specific caloric and nutritional needs as they grow, those that are fed appropriate and healthy diets will reach their adult size faster. Those that do not receive a proper diet can suffer from stunted and slowed growth.
The age when the cat is spayed or neutered will also impact its growth rate, which is why you should always listen to what your veterinarian recommends in regards to the age when your cat should be spayed or neutered. One of our online vet appointments can be one of the easiest ways to come up with a plan for your particular cat.
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Month : Your Kitten Will Sleep More
Still very much a baby, but growing into a young adolescent, your kitten will start to sleep more during the day just like an adult cat does. Expect more than half the day to be filled with cat naps, so try to have a comfy cat bed in your kitten’s favorite spot.
When your kitten isn’t sleeping, it will still be exploring and playing, but its confidence level will be higher than when it was just a toddler. It will also be more coordinated as a young adolescent and will demonstrate just how social it wants to be with you. Socialization and bonding time has always been important to your growing kitten, but at this age, your hard work will have finally paid off and you may see your kitten starting to snuggle with you voluntarily.
If you have not already had your female kitten spayed and it has spent time with an intact male cat, then there is a chance that your kitten is pregnant. Cats can get pregnant as young as six months of age so it’s very important to get your female kitten spayed if you don’t want more kittens.
The Spruce / Elnora Turner