Few people can resist the cuteness of a small cat, but not many realize just how adorable a big, fluffy cat can be. It can even be argued that giant fluff balls are cuter than the tiny ones. It’s hard to argue when you see the bigger cats curled up with their humans!
How big can cats get depends on the breed, and the Savannah, Maine Coon, and Norwegian Forest Cat can all compete for the number one spot. These cats can grow over 17 inches (43 cm) and weigh more than 12 kg (26,4 pounds).
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the most prominent domestic cat breeds in the world, what affects cat growth, and when felines actually stop growing.
Biggest Domestic Cat Breeds
The Savannah cat is related to wild Servals, and the closer they’re related, the bigger they grow. One of the biggest Savannah cats was found in America and stood 17.1 inches (43.43 cm) tall from shoulders to toes. There have been cases of this cat breed growing genuinely massive, with some cats weighing more than 13 kg (more than 26 pounds).
One of the most adored big domestic cats is the Maine Coon. Not only is this breed able to grow really big, but these cats are usually very fluffy and beautiful as well. Maine Coons are not wild cat hybrids and are the biggest true domestic cats in the world. They can easily weigh between 8 kg and 11 kg (17,63 pounds – 24,25 pounds). From nose to tail tip, Maine Coons can reach over a meter in length.
Norwegian Forest Cat
The Norwegian Forest Cat is a majestic creature and can weigh anything between 6 to 8 kg (8 to 18 pounds) and reach a height of 9 inches to 12 inches (23 to 30 cm), on average. This cat is often confused with Maine Coons because they look so similar. They can be very cuddly, but like all cats, attention should not be demanded, or it will be withheld.
The Ragdoll is another very fluffy and adorable cat breed that can grow really big compared to other domestic cats. They can easily weigh about 9 kg (19,84 pounds) and reach a height of between 9 and 11 inches (22,86 cm – 27,94 cm). Ragdolls can grow to lengths of 17 to 21 inches (43,18 cm – 53,34 cm). These cats are very sociable, loving, and gentle. They’re often compared to dogs because of how friendly and devoted they are.
When Do Cats Stop Growing?
In general, cats reach adulthood when they are 12 months old – at this stage, they’re no longer called kittens. However, that doesn’t mean they stop growing. Many cats continue to grow into their full size after they’ve left their kitten year behind. Most cats only stop growing when they are between a year and a half and four years old.
How To Tell if a Cat Is Fully Grown
The most effective way to determine if your cat is fully grown after reaching adulthood is to keep track right from the start. Measure and weigh your cat every month, and you will see its weight and height increase gradually. This way, you will be able to tell when your cat is no longer growing or when growth has slowed down.
It is possible to estimate the adult weight your cat will reach by weighing it at four months old. Double that number, and you’ll know how much your cat should weigh when it is an adult. Of course, your cat needs to live a healthy, active lifestyle for it to reach its potential weight and height.
Factors That Influence Cat Growth
Many things affect how big a cat grows, regardless of breed. If you want your cat to grow nice and strong, you’ll have to take good care of it (but you probably already know this). Here is a look at some of the main factors that matter and influence the growth of a cat:
Some breeds just grow bigger than others. That can be seen when Maine Coon cats are compared to Siamese cats, for example. Many house cats of today are mixed breeds, so it can sometimes be difficult to know just how big a kitten will grow. Keep in mind that some other factors also play a role, such as exercise and diet.
Diet and Exercise
When cats stop growing naturally, they can still become bigger if they don’t eat right and get enough exercise. They lose and gain weight much as we do: if they eat more calories than they burn, they’ll get fat.
While fat cats can be cute, it’s not recommended that you allow your furry friend to reach an unhealthy size. They can suffer many health problems if they’re overweight, such as breathing issues, hip dysplasia, and heart disease.
Although there are exceptions, male cats are usually bigger than their female counterparts. In general, males will be a few kilograms heavier and several inches longer than females. The reason is the same as with most animals: males need to impress females so they can mate, and for cats, size matters.
Fixed or Not
Whether or not your cat has been fixed will affect its growth if it happens at a young age. Some vets wait until a cat is more than six months old before neutering or spaying them, while others don’t. If a cat is fixed before reaching sexual maturity, the cat won’t grow as big.
Fixed cats’ growth is affected because the hormones released during puberty aren’t present. The difference can especially be seen in male cats that have not been neutered – they tend to be broader and more muscular.
Birth Order and Siblings
If a cat gives birth to a large litter, the one born last will be at a disadvantage when feeding. The first ones get a nice head start, and thanks to this, they grow faster and healthier.
If there are more kittens, the last one has an even smaller chance of feeding correctly. As a result, the last-born kitten continues to struggle, and it won’t get all the nutrition it needs. Sadly, this means the kitten won’t be as healthy and grow as big and strong.
Sometimes, kittens are born with genetic conditions that influence their size. Dwarfism is one of the most common defects and can happen in two forms. One form is osteochondrodysplasia, and it causes abnormal bone and cartilage development.
Cats with this defect develop abnormally, and although it causes short legs, a curved spine, and a small jaw, they can live into adulthood. However, they have a high risk of developing future health issues.
The other form of dwarfism is pituitary dwarfism. This defect is caused by the reduced production of growth hormones in the pituitary gland. It can result in growth happening slower than average, and sometimes, it even results in a complete stop of development before the cat reaches one year of age.
The survival rate for cats with this defect is low because organs are affected as well and don’t grow big enough.
Some cat breeds can grow really big and impressive, but if a cat isn’t healthy or has some defect, it won’t reach an optimal size. Many factors influence how big a kitty will grow; its owner can control some, and others are subject to genetics. If you want to own a cat that grows big and cuddly, a Savannah or Maine Coon might be just the breed for you.
- Omlet: Top 7 Largest Cat Breeds
- Guinness World Records: A history of big cats as another Maine Coon becomes the world’s longest feline
- Wikipedia: Savannah Cat
- Wikipedia: Norwegian Forest Cat
- Wikipedia: Maine Coon Cat Breed
- Wikipedia: Ragdoll
- Healthy Paws Pet Insurance and Foundation: When Do Cats Stop Growing? Reliable Ways to Know When Cats Reach Their Full Size
- Feline Living: Sizing Up: How Big Do Cats Get? (From Smallest to Biggest)
- Cornell Feline Health Center: Hip Dysplasia
- Vetlexicon: Scottish fold osteochondrodysplasia
- PetCoach: Pituitary Dwarfism in Cats
Pam is a self-confessed cat lover and has experience of working with cats and owning cats for as long as she can remember. This website is where she gets to share her knowledge and interact with other cat lovers.