Cats come in all sizes. Big cats, little cats, stocky cats, thin cats and everything in between. A lot of how big a cat will get depends on what breed they are, the nutrition they get, their environment and things of that nature.
Speaking of nutrition, that’s a variable that must be mentioned when talking about cats reaching their full size. Let’s not confuse girth with a normal length size for a cat, because overweight or obese cats can be extremely heavy, even as their overall length doesn’t increase. You can see the same characteristic in humans. If someone is 6 feet tall, no matter how much they weigh, they are still going to be 6 feet tall, which is their regular “size.”
So to that end, let’s explore when a cat reaches their full size.
A cat is said to reach adulthood at about 12 months of age. That means their personality has been locked into place, but that doesn’t mean that they will stop growing. Cats generally continue growing until they are 18 months old and reach their full size, but, and this is a big but, larger breeds like Maine Coon cats can grow for up to 5 years! It gets even more confusing because if your cat has any Maine Coon DNA in its genes, even if it looks like a regular tabby, Siamese, shorthair or whatever, it may continue growing for years after the 18 month mark.
Cats that are fed normally and who get enough to eat, will adhere to that 18 month full size dictum. But cats that have not gotten enough to eat or have not received proper nutrition, especially when they were kittens, may reach their full size prematurely or become stunted. Abandoned cats are some of the most common stunted felines, and if you get your cat from a shelter, the chances are that it had been abandoned and may never be as large as the breed suggests. It also means that it may stop growing far sooner than normal, since its body had to shut down the growth process for survival.
You can give it all the love, kindness, care and food that you want, but if the growth process has already been shut down by the lack of nutrition, your kitty may not get any bigger than it is at that time.
Spaying and Neutering
Until recently, the size of the cat and how long it kept growing once spayed or neutered was always just a myth. The latest scientific findings sheds some light on the subject of growth when those procedures are done.
It has often been said that a spayed or neutered cat will get bigger than a non-altered cat, and findings have borne this out, with an exception. If a cat is spayed or neutered early in life, it will grow larger, both in girth and length. But if a cat is altered in adulthood, it will generally grow to the breeds natural size.
A cat that hasn’t had the procedure done will generally stick to the 18 month growth limit, as long as the DNA is pure. A cat that has had the procedure done will have a longer bone structure and will continue growing after the 18 month time frame. For how long, no one can say, but spaying and neutering does positively extend the growth time as well as the size.
When Does a Cat Reach Full Size?
In most cases, the definitive answer is 18 months, with Maine Coon cats taking up to 5 years as mentioned. We’ve already included nutrition, spaying and neutering which will shorten or lengthen a cat’s full size, but there are other factors too.
Cats that suffer dwarfism or bone deformities may stop growing and reach their adult size much sooner. On the other end of this spectrum is the latest news about feral cats that sometimes reach over 4 feet long, which is similar to a wild bobcat or lynx. If somehow this DNA makes it into a domestic cat, which could be very well possible if a female outdoor cat has not been spayed, then who knows at what age they may stop growing and reach full size.
The bottom line here is this. Give your kitty a lot of love, feed them quality cat food, and for you and your best purr faced buddy, size will never matter.
Mary Nielsen founded FelineLiving.net and is a passionate cat lover, blogger, and part-time music teacher. She founded her blog to share her ups and downs of being a pet parent to a bunch of adorable kittens and cats. When she is not playing with them or teaching, you can find her experimenting in the kitchen.