From 6 months to 1 year of age, your kitten will undergo some notable changes, although the major developmental milestones have passed.
During this time, your kitten will be more confident and comfortable freely exploring their environments and voluntarily playing with other pets and you.
Your kitten will grow into its features and look more like an adult cat. However, that doesn’t mean your kitten is done growing physically or mentally, so be sure to continue positively reinforcing good behaviors and gradually transitioning into adult cat food.
6-month-old kitten: Time to spay or neuter a kitten
At 6 months, your kitten may look like a little adult, but that doesn’t mean it has reached its adult size. The basic rule of thumb is that the average-sized cat will gain about 1 pound a month, so your kitten should weigh about 6 pounds with a lanky torso and legs at six months. It may seem a little disproportionate, but your kitten will soon grow into its long legs and body, just like a human preteen does.
Your kitten should have received all of its vaccinations at this age, and you should be considering scheduling a spay or neuter.
While not yet fully grown in size, sexual maturity can occur at six months of age.
To avoid having a male kitten that sprays urine to mark its territory or a female kitten that goes into heat, you’ll want to get your male kitten neutered, or your female kitten spayed as soon as possible. These are routine surgeries that your veterinarian will perform.
Baby teeth may still be present, but some kittens will lose them all when they are 6 months old. Some veterinarians will recommend extracting any baby teeth that remain in your kitten’s mouth when it gets spayed or neutered.
7-month-old kitten: Your kitten will sleep more
At 7 months, 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 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 finally pay 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 6 months, so it’s very important to get your female kitten spayed if you don’t want more kittens.
8-month-old kitten: Your kitten is confident
At 8 months, your kitten may start to play more with other pets in your house since its confidence is at an all-time high. However, supervision is still necessary, as larger pets like dogs can still damage an eight-month-old kitten.
Be aware that your kitten is now large enough to attempt counter surfing, it may push items around or off of tables out of curiosity, and it will test the limits of human and inanimate objects.
Setting boundaries and being consistent in any training with your kitten is important. Kittens do not respond to force, so if you train them to do or not do something, you’ll need to use positive reinforcement and patience to get the outcome you want. Verbal praise and tasty cat treats can go a long way in cat training.
9-month-old kitten: Kitten teeth development
By 9 months, your adolescent kitten is almost fully grown, and all of its baby teeth should be gone. Teething should cease, but your kitten may still discover how fun it is to chew on things.
Monitor your kitten’s biting and chewing behaviors closely and ensure they do not get out of hand. Your kitten should never bite a person or other pet unwarranted. If aggressive behaviors start to show, then be sure to nip them in the bud immediately and train your kitten not to bite.
10-month-old kitten: Transition your kitten to adult cat food
The switch from kitten to adult food can occur at any time. This transition should be slow, though, and careful thought should go into which adult food you want to feed your kitten.
Be sure to choose a high-quality, meat-based adult cat food for your kitten. Your veterinarian may have specific brand recommendations for you but look for a major brand formulated for adult cats with the AAFCO seal on the package.
These things all indicate that the food is a good choice. Major food brands have quality control, customer service, veterinarians on staff, and high-quality ingredients.
Generic or store-brand foods may have lower-quality ingredients and not provide proper nutrition to your kitten. The food you choose should also list meat as the first ingredient since cats are carnivores.
Slowly mix the remaining kitten food with the new adult cat food. Allow there to be more adult cat food eventually than kitten food. This transition should take at least a week to decrease the likelihood of dietary-induced diarrhea.
During this time, you should also monitor your kitten’s appetite to ensure it’s still eating the adult food and not just picking out the kitten food.
11-month-old kitten: Your kitten is almost an adult Cat
Almost a year of growth has occurred already, and now your kitten is just about fully grown. It is sexually mature, eating adult cat food, has received all of its vaccinations, and you are consistently working on its social skills and training. It is equivalent to a teenage human, so while it still has some mental maturing, it looks like an adult cat.
12-month-old kitten: Your kitten is now a cat
At 1 year of age, your kitten will be an adult cat. Most cats are full-grown in one year, so your cat will grow mentally from here on out.
Learning and training never end. Your cat will always explore, make decisions, play, and develop good and bad habits, and it is up to you to steer it in the direction you would like it to grow.
Remember always to use gentle and positive training methods; a good scratch behind the ears can go a long way!