Stages of a cat’s life

mother and kitten

I am writing this article for cat lovers, but they don’t know much about them. And they don’t have a cat yet. I will present the stages of a cat’s life, so prepared when you adopt one.

The life expectancy of a cat has been on average for ten years. But it is good to know, that if you provide them with proper care, these little felines reach the age of 15-20 years.

I have had and have cats that have passed the age of 15 years.

The life of a cat divided between play, sleep and fur care (toilet).

Let’s see together the stages of a cat’s life.

Kittens stage


After a gestation of 63-68 days, the cat gives birth to some kittens (between 1 and 10). They are variable weight (between 70 grams and 150 grams). Weight varies depending on several factors. These are sex, race, number of kittens, mother feeding during pregnancy.

The first concern of the kittens is to find the breasts.

In the first days after birth, the cat lies on one side. Thus, it provides access for the kittens for sucking. They do not receive milk but colostrum. It has a different composition and appearance, containing a significant amount of antibodies. They absorbed in a large percentage by the body of the kitten in the first 16 hours of life. After a few days, the kittens begin sucking milk rich in maternal antibodies.

At birth, the kitten is unable to regulate its body temperature. He is very fragile and dependent on his mother, who keeps her warm.

The kitten has a very developed olfactory sense at birth. It allows her to find her mother from a distance of 50 cm.

From birth, the kitten can differentiate the three fundamental tastes. They are sweet, salty and bitter.

Kittens are born blind and deaf. It acquires both senses at about the same time.

The hearing appears around the age of 5 days. But, it does not allow itself to orient itself to the sound until after 14 days. He will have the skills of an adult at one month of launch. Then he’ll recognize his mother’s voice.

The kitten’s eyes open after 1-2 weeks after birth. To be able to detect the depth of the field it needs another 3-4 days.

Before reaching the age of two weeks the kittens have a developed sense of balance. But, they have difficulty in coordinating movements.

The walk starts at the age of 17 days. After three weeks after birth, the kitten can scratch his ear with the back lip.

The body regions of the kitten do not develop at the same rate.

At birth, the kittens have a large head. Later the limbs lengthen, the kitten having the desired look.

Towards the end of the corporal development, all the parties harmonize. It reaches the characteristic form of the adult.

Growth can appreciated as the kittens gains weight. Two days in a row do not gain weight or lose weight. Insufficient nutrition or an illness, the cause must identified.

The normal growth of the kitten until maturity registers four phases.


  1. In the first 4 days after birth, the weight gain is variable, depending on the conditions of birth.
  1. During the exclusive breastfeeding period (the first 4 weeks) weight gain is regular and linear. The weight at 7-8 days should be double compared to the birth weight. At 4 weeks it must be 4 times the birth weight. The growth dynamics of breastfeeding tell a lot about breastfeeding quality and mother’s care for kittens

The food transition stage, called withdrawal

Withdrawal occupies the period between the 4th and 7th weeks of life. After 4-5 weeks, there is a decrease in the growth rate. It corresponds to the decrease in the amount of breast milk and associated with the transient consumption of food. After 7 weeks, the kittens consume solid foods, gaining weight.y.

The weight at eight weeks is usually twice the weight at four weeks and eight times the birth weight.

After eight weeks, during the pre-withdrawal period, the autonomy of the kittens manifested. They are now taking care of themselves. It oriented according to its own will. Soon they will get the definitive form of the adult.

After 10-12 months, the cat must maintain its constant weight.


At birth, the kitten has a digestive tract adapted to feeding with breast milk. High in protein, lipids, lactose, and sugar.

Due to an enzyme called lactose, the kitten can digest lactose. Throughout its digestive capacities, it develops gradual. It happens that some adult cats lose the ability to manage lactose. As a result, they cannot tolerate milk. If lactose undigested, diarrhea occurs. So be careful!

As the lactose in the milk decreases, the kitten acquires other enzymatic capacities. For example, amylase, an enzyme that allows the digestion of starch.

The ability to chew solid foods appears at the age of 4-5 weeks. At the same time, the ability to digest them appears.

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From this age, the kittens enter the withdrawal period.

This is usually the case, but all my cats spoiled their kittens, nursing them for up to 6 months. It was a joy to see the cat as he called his kittens to pamper him. And how they responded immediately, leaning over their mother and suckling.


Factors that Influence the Development of Kittens

Intrinsic Factors

1. Breed

If a breed represented by large specimens, the newborn kittens will grow faster.

2. Sex

Kittens are almost identical at birth. Sex is hard to determine. Over time, the males become much heavier than the females (between 6 and 12 weeks).

Males have a higher growth potential than females, but it manifests later. Their growth extends by a few weeks to that of females.

3. Family factors The kitten is born with a genetic material that originates half from the mother and half from his father. The same race, there is the possibility of individuals appearing larger than the norm. To present a different morphological form. They used with preference in selections.

4. Mother’s weight

This parameter differs from race and family factors. The older the mother and her health are, the faster the growth of the kittens is. The quality of the milk offered to the kittens is very good.

5. Individual genetic factors The

Combination of maternal and paternal inheritance determines the appearance of a unique specimen. At the base of its formation, there are some individual variations. For a better estimation of the growth of the kitten used the measurement standard of his parents.

6. Hormonal factors The

growth of kittens is not influenced by different hormonal disorders. They can sterilize early. This procedure does not produce any change in normal development.

In contrast, the use of hormones, used only for medical reasons and with great caution. Can disrupt the endocrine balance of the kitten and growth affected.

Extrinsic factors

1. Hygiene of the environment and stress

During the lactation period, the kitten is fragile. The mother must be demanding with hygiene both, milk and the place where the kittens are staying. Mediocre hygiene induces both the awareness of the kittens. And the mother, about the diseases.

Kittens grow during sleep. In the first days of life, the baby sleeps almost all the time. It sucks when he awakened by the tender lust of his meme.

As he grows older, he begins to explore the surroundings and plays.

Sleep quality is decisive for its development. Certain hormones secreted that disrupt the growth hormone balance. Under the effect of stress .

The environment of kittens should protected from sudden changes in temperature. The presence of foreign persons and the disturbance of their habitat too.

2. The number of kittens in the nest.

If the cat gives birth to a larger number of kittens, they will have a smaller weight. If they are born with fewer poisons, they will be heavier.

There are more kittens, the difference in weight between them will observe. Only after withdrawal does the difference begin to subside.

3. Nutritional factors The diet received by the mother during pregnancy influences their weight and viability at birth.

In the period between birth and withdrawal, the feeding of the kittens limited to breast milk. Quality and quantity are determining factors for the health and development of the kittens.

Both mother and kittens should take into consideration.

During pregnancy, the cat accumulates fat reserves that used to form milk when breastfeeding.

Malnutrition of the kittens, during breastfeeding, can be due to several reasons. Insufficient feeding of their mother, production of little milk, inadequate breastfeeding. The mother does not allow the kitten sucking enough because they are too many, the environment is stressful. Kittens lose weight fast. Dehydration, hypoglycemia, lowering of body temperature, followed by death installed. This is because the liver is not mature, it depends on the external sources of sugar. The kidneys are immature and the kitten must fed often and with small amounts of milk.

The kitten is unable to regulate its body temperature.

Ingestion of a satisfactory amount of milk, maternal care during breastfeeding and sleep-licking. Mother’s warmth are indispensable factors for avoiding hypothermia.

All the factors that limit sucking expose the kitten to rapid dehydration and the danger of contacting various diseases.

The rational feeding of the cat during the lactation period

To gain a gram in weight, a kitten must ingest at least 2.7 grams of milk. During breastfeeding the cat gets to produce a quantity of milk adequate to twice its body weight.

During gestation, the cat accumulates fat reserves that used to form milk when it begins to breastfeed.

Feed needs of the cat increase during breastfeeding. It depends on the number of kittens but not relative.

The cat must have fresh water at all times.

The nutrition intended for a nursing cat must be complex. High in calories, contain fat, but also protein, ta urine, minerals, and much calcium and phosphorus. I recommend eating juniors for a nursing cat.

The feeding needs of the cat during lactation are enormous. It cannot ingest the amount of food needed to cover all its needs. She will start using the fat reserves she has accumulated during pregnancy. This phenomenon is normal and inevitable but should not become excessive.

In conclusion, the cat must fed breasts with her breastfeeding situation. Thus, the kittens will not suffer from the deprivation of affection. The normal development of the kittens will not compromise.

Artificial feeding of the kittens

The kittens orphaned, too many or if they cannot consume the mother’s milk, then milk should offered to replace the mother’s milk.

The breast milk is insufficient and two days in a row there is no increase in the weight of the kittens. Their development stagnates without having a psychological problem. We must offer them replacement milk.

It is a timely solution for saving kittens, milk bottle as close as composition, with breast milk.

The strict hygiene rules and a feeding rate appropriate to the age of the cat will observe. The lower the rate of feeding the faster it will be.

Each time the baby brought in the kitten must allowed sucking breasts without forced or restrained.


The period of transition from liquid to solid food called withdrawal.

This is necessary because the dietary needs of the kitten are increasing. At the same time, the quantity of milk decreases, becoming insufficient in 5-6 weeks after birth.

The discomfort of the kittens will avoid due to the change in the diet with which they are familiar. Thus, the solid feed that the cat brings to the kittens during the lactation period will be identical to that given after the withdrawal. Remember, my recommendation is that the cat fed with junior food. It’s one of the reasons. Another is that junior food is richer in necessary elements in cat nutrition.

In practice, you can determine the withdrawal when you notice that the growth rate of the kittens is decreasing.

Consumption of solid foods should monitored. The amount of food will be increasing starting with the fourth week of life. Kittens considered to have exceeded the withdrawal period when they get to consume around 20 g of dry food or 70 g of preserved (wet) food. This happens around the age of 6-7 weeks.

Withdrawal recommended to progress piecemeal but should not take too long.

Prepared from the 4-5 weeks of life, it must completed at the end of the 7th week. Thus, the cat will be able to recover after this exhausting period.

Withdrawal considered a necessary evil for the cycle of life. This is a compulsory stage on the path to conquering the independence of the kittens. But at the same time, it is also a stress factor for small beings. For this reason, a great deal of attention and special care needed for kittens in weaning.

Maturity The cat spends a third of its time sleeping. Another third playing, and the rest dedicated to feeding and care of the fur.

Even if they do not leave the house (for their safety), the domestic cats keep their hunting character.

The felines attracted to moving objects. If they provided with balls, like toys, they will not be late to go hunting.

The cat hunts various creatures when has access to the outside.


To feed the cat, it uses the senses with which it endowed by nature, combined with a series of abilities. It has the fine hearing, the developed smell, a sense of special orientation. To which mustaches also contribute. It has a sharp vision, sharp claws, it moves very fast. Also, it has a very special ability: to move without making any noise.

Hunting is not an easy activity. It does not mean that if he saw the prey, he would succeed in capturing it. This action takes a long time, and the failures are quite many.

The claws and teeth of the cats

The claws of the cat have several particularities. They are increasing during their entire life. They are slightly rounded, they are retractable and inserted vertically. The ability of cats to use their claws allows them to move without making any noise. But, the claws are defenseless felines. It is the only aid for purchasing food. When looking for a shelter, they used in climbing.

The shape of the claws allows both the immobilization of the prey.and their rapid withdrawal, acting as small knives. Attack of a cat

It will always result in serious scratches on the skin.

He can still play or when he shows his affection, easily surprise you with the cards. It’s a small risk to your skin lol. But if you love her, support claws

I recommend cutting claws at the most.

I don’t recommend their surgical removal, as practiced in the USA. If you love your furniture more than cats, you don’t deserve on them. She remains stressed all her life after such an operation.

The claws must cut carefully. First of all, it is not good to cut the claws that are in perfect condition.

The cat armed with four claws on the hind limbs and five on the hind limbs. The fifth claw located above the others and tends to become infected in the flesh and to injure its labia.

Most cats sharpen their claws on various objects or scratches. This gesture is not meant to touch the nails, but rather to remove the superficial, degraded layer of ice. Thus, it leaves room for a new claw, sharp and perfectly healthy.

Some cats have a habit of gnawing their claws alone.

Often we can see them manifesting as if they were doing a manicure.


Apart from claws, the second natural reducible weapon of cats represented by teeth. Canines are quite special.

The cat’s teeth adapted to catch and tear the prey. But the food is often eaten whole.

Do not deprive the cat of the pleasure of snapping hooks. It is even advisable to get used to it from an early age with this type of food. The hooks favor chewing and prevent the appearance of tartar or limit its extension (if it already exists).


Cats consume 10 to 20 times day water in small quantities. The presence of a permanent source is indispensable.

cat and watter
Cats that consume wet food tend to consume very little water. In contrast, those who fed with hooks consume water depending on the amount of food they eat.

The idea that dry food would promote different kidney disease is false.

Cats’ aversion to water reflected in their attitude to the act of drinking water itself. As cats have their origins in the desert, they are not generally consuming liquids. For this reason, their urine has a high concentration of toxins.

Cats that like water and love to swim are rare: the Turkish Van breed.


The life expectancy of cats

It is well-known that some cats have reached the record age of 30 years.

The life expectancy of a neutered cat is on average 10 years. Cats usually reach the age of 6 years – in females – and 5 years – in males.

This situation explained by the fact that the unscratched cats tempted to wander. Exposed to the risk of injury, contact with diseases, infections, and parasites.

Moreover, females can make pyometra.

If allowed outside the house, cats attracted to visit their neighbors to find their mate. Or to gain the supremacy of the territory.

Currently, the life expectancy of cats is increasing. This is due to our more careful care. The development of the cat food industry and other industries that target cats (toys, food supplements, essential oils, etc.). The existence of veterinary doctors too. And the awareness of cat owners about the importance of vaccines.

And last but not least, sterilization. This practiced between 6 and 12 months, before sexual behavior installed.


Old cats

Old age manifested in cats (as in all other species) by lack of dynamism, tendency to drowsiness.

old cat

Difficulty in movement, frequent manifestation of different diseases too. Diminished elasticity of the arteries, respiratory difficulties. Sensitivity to infections (caused) by lowering the efficiency of the immune system). Frequent kidney diseases, endocrine problems.

Obesity is a risk factor for the onset of several diseases (diabetes, skin diseases). Weak cats are not exposed to such danger.

The appetite of the cat decreases with advancing age. Causes: common disease of gingivitis, ulcers or tumors, while reducing the digestive capacity.

Older cats tend to consume little water and can dehydrate.

From birth to old age, the cat retains its pride and independence. Hunting instinct and remains a true carnivore.

An early age the cat attracted to any moving object. At maturity its interest captured only by the hunting of small animals around.

Breed and age, the cat remains a fascinating animal. They deserve our full attention, admiration, and affection.

I’m a big cat loving, since the young baby.   My mother was great loving cats, grandmother as well.   My daughter is coming to the end. My daughter loves cats so much that she makes a second faculty: veterinary medicine.   Four generations, what do you think?

You can now learn to communicate directly with your cat.


I would be glad if you had time to leave a comment on the subject. Or you may want to share with us your experience.

20 Replies to “Stages of a cat’s life”

  1. Thanks for the post!! Lots of information about cats that i had no idea about. I’ve been considering getting a kitten for some time now. Now i can be more prepared in the needs of the kitten and what needs would change while he/she gets older. Im happy you also included the video

  2. Hey thank you for the awesome post!  My cat just just had kittens, and I have actually never had a kitten before, all mine have been strays or from the pound.  Thank you for shedding some light on what can influence a kitten’s development.  I have been worried about them (there are three, and one did not make it :'( ), but this helps me determine what I need to be watching for as they develop.

  3. Hi Carmen, 

    My mum adopted a couple of kittens about three years back, every time I see them I always want my own lol. So I’ve decided that I’m going to adopt a couple of kittens myself this year/ early next year.

    When would you suggest is the best point to take kittens on, would you say after the 8 week period?

  4. I enjoyed reading your article about cats that are quite long. It’s long but full of value and it reminded me of my long lost cat. I lost the cat more than years ago and since then, I didn’t have a new cat acquired. I’m planning to own another one again and this time, perhaps I’ll be more knowledgeable about the proper care they will receive. Also, this time maybe I should go for a female cat rather than a male because male cats usually go astray during mating season and seldom come back home.

  5. Wow, this is actually interesting, very informative and detailed. I’ve been reading about cats for so long and this is the first time I’m reading about the stages of their life. I find the kitten stage very interesting and most focused on because it entails virtually everything that the cat is going to become. I’ve enjoyed reading through this article, I’ve also learned so much about cats and I think this has made me conclude on the fact that I need a cat.

  6. Many thanks to you for giving us such a beautiful article. I have a cat and I love this kitten very much. After reading your article I understand how to take care of a cat. I want to keep my cat far better. For the past 5 years, I’ve been nurturing my cat. If I can’t shower it every day, try to bathe it at least once a day and give it good food all the time.

  7. Hi CARMEN, thank you very much for publishing a great article about Stages of a cat’s life. We have two cats from last three years. One is pregnant now but haven’t enough knowledge about Kittens. So your article is very useful to us. Already I sent the link to my wife to read. I hope to get more great article from you in the future.

  8. Thank you for putting together very informative article about stages of a cat’s life. I never had a cat in my life, but this past months I am considering of adding a new family member. So your article gave me a good sense of how it is to be a cat mom.

    Would you advise for sterilization, even if the cat would be inside at all time?

  9. Hi Carmen 

    Thank you very much for that detail information from birth to old age of cats, such a fascinating read from beginning to end.I learnt quite a lot from it. In many ways there are parallels with human life, when the young are so dependent on the mother’s and when older consuming less food and drink, until they final depart this world. 

    I am fascinated about cats when they give birth,as you feel it is such a difficult and painful procedure. I say it is nature at its best. I am glad you included the section concerning cats that are orphaned or rejected by the mother.You worry how to deal with them. I am curious about the number of kittens a cat has, can there be two many in the litter?

    Do you believe a cat should die naturally or should be put down if it is suffering too much at the end of its life?

    Thank you for an interesting read


  10. Thank you for your comment. If you want to get a cat read more on my site in the category “tips for cat care”.
    You will know more about cats.

  11. Thank you for your comment. I am glad to know that you will adopt some kittens, but my advice is that at first you only adopt one. After reaching the age of 3 months it is recommended to take a kitten. Until then, his mother teaches him everything he needs to know in life.

  12. Thank you for your comment. If you take a male cat and
    sterilize he at the age of 6-8 months, he will not wander. Regardless of sex, I advise you to sterilize she. This will sort you out more and you will avoid certain diseases.

  13. Thank you for your comment. If you need a cat, I invite you to read more on my site, especially the category, “tips for cat care”. 
    It’s good to know a little bit about cat care. It’s not hard, but you have to do it properly.

  14. Thank you for your comment. It is not advisable to take shower the cat. She makes her own toilet. When licking, the fur also takes the necessary vitamins. Only in extreme cases does the cat bathe.

    If you give them quality food that contains all the necessary nutrients (different from those of humans), the cat will eat less and be healthy.

  15. Thanks for the comment and appreciation. I’m glad they can be useful. I hope your cat gives birth to healthy and beautiful chicks. If you need help, you can always contact me on the site for other useful information regarding cats.

  16. Thanks for the comment and appreciation. I recommend sterilization at the age of 6-8 months, even if the cat would be inside at all time. The cat will have a longer life and you will stay away from certain health problems.

  17. Thank you for your comment, . You’ve reached a sensitive chord of mine. If the cat suffers from an incurable disease, I think it will end his suffering. But it is a very difficult decision. I once took her for a kitten who had jaw cancer and was 14 years old. I went to several doctors before making the decision. They all advised me the same: to end their suffering. But even today it hurts when I think about it.

  18. My family and I are used to having cats around us. We have some outside of the house aand we feed them here and we keep 2 cats in the house. I want to say that this article is very complex and I really enjoyed reading it. I didn’t know all the stages of their lives until now and I realized that cats really resemble us very much. If you ask someone who does not know, he will tell you that a cat stays all day and only sleeps. But that’s not the truth, because cats are very complex animals. 

    If you don’t mind, i’m a member on different cat lovers groups on Facebook. I would like to share it with all this people. Wish you the best. 

  19. Thank you for your comment. I am glad to find out that you are a member of Facebook groups on cats. Of course I don’t mind sharing in those groups
    my article.

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