Kittens are naturally cute and very adorable, and in addition to being tiny and super handy, they make excellent pets. Depending on the cat’s breed, a healthy adult one weighs between five and twenty pounds or more. However, some cats are unusually small for a variety of reasons.
Sometimes kittens fail to grow as much as they are expected to with age, even if fed with the essential nutrients. As a pet parent, I was concerned about my cat not getting big. I did my research and found out that different reasons can be responsible.
Why Is My Cat So Small?
Many feline parents are concerned with the issue of their best friends weighing less, and the reasons may vary depending on the breed, gender, or feeding pattern, among others. It is normal for a pet parent to worry about his cat not gaining weight as a normal cat does.
Most cats become fully grown upon reaching one year, but some breeds keep growing till they are five. Kittens grow rapidly during the first six months, gaining about one pound every month, and their growth rate generally tapers off as they turn one because most of them have grown completely.
Reasons Why Your Cat Is So Small
Among the reasons that affect a cat’s size are the gender, breed, and the cat’s feeding pattern. However, a cat can be feeding well and still be small due to an illness or other factors. Cats come in different sizes, shapes, and colors, but the problem in their stunted growth is not fundamental.
Some cat breeds seem overly grown, while others stay little forever, so if you have a specific cat breed, there is no cause for alarm. As a pet parent, it is normal to be concerned about their cat’s health, size, and weight. If you have chosen a common breed of cats and there is no sign of growth improvement, the following are common reasons why a cat can be small.
Does The Gender of the Cat Affect Its Size?
The cat’s gender can affect the ability to grow, as you find that female cats are much smaller than the male pet cats, even if they are of the same breed. According to a Feline Living writer, you shouldn’t worry if this is the case for your pet because, generally, female cats are smaller in size than male cats.
Just like other mammals, male cats breeds tend to be larger, but both genders weigh more or less between six and twelve pounds, standing at the height of eight to ten inches.
If you spay or neuter your cat before they reach puberty, there is a chance that your cat will be larger compared to those cats that were fixed as grown adult cats. This means that regardless of the gender of the cat, cats spayed when young, around six months, will be larger than intact cats that are fixed at a later stage in life.
This, however, does not mean that you should spay all cats at six months. Some hit puberty at four months, and some wait till they are ten months old. However, you should be concerned if your female cat is smaller compared to sister cats of a similar family.
Feeding Pattern as A Reason for Small Sized Cats
The feeding pattern of a cat can also affect its size. When you bring home a kitten for the first time, it can be frightened by the new situation and environment and fail to eat well, which affects the cats’ growth and sometimes their entire health. You need to consider if your pet is feeding well or if other stronger cats are bullying your cat.
Normally, cats eat two meals a day, twelve hours apart, but you can schedule to feed your cat thrice a day if you want. At times, you end up having many kittens in the compound, and it becomes hard to follow the cats feeding program well, or if others bully one cat. Many pet owners complain about the loss of appetite for their feline friends when the issue could be that the kittens are bullied by the older cats and fail to eat well.
The old cats might eat well and keep nothing for the new cat, or they can get possessive about the new cat and fail to eat anything. To avoid this, it is crucial to ensure that any new cat brought home is treated well and paid individual attention so that their feeding pattern is not affected by the change. If the cats are bullying each other, consider separating the feeding bowls initially till you can make it work between them.
Cats Breed as A Cause for Small Sized Cats
One of the benign reasons for a cat’s small size is the breed, as the breed plays a very significant role in your cat’s size. A cat’s breed plays an important role in finding out the actual size of your feline friend. Some breeds such as Sphinx and Siamese cats are known for their large sizes, while others are known for being small such as the Ragdoll and the Maine Coon.
Some cat breeds and gene compilations are known to be particularly small, especially if the cat has street cat genes, so it is possible that the history of the cat, attributed to her parents, is the reason for the small size. It is normal for a cat to adopt their parents’ petite size through gene inheritance, so don’t worry if this is the case.
Small cats typically weigh less than ten pounds and are such breeds as Singapura, which is described as the smallest cat breed worldwide. Other cat breeds that don’t get large even when they mature are Cornish Rex, Burmese, Munchkin, American Curl, and Devon Rex. The Toy Bobtail breed is also known as a small breed cat as it gets no bigger than a four-month-old kitten.
According to most feline specialists, cats picked from the street are hard to trace their history and genetic backgrounds because they mostly just sneak into compounds. These feline friends’ origins can go way back, so a clear history may not be the best way to determine the breed of the cat. However, if you already know the cat’s breed and history, just keep a check on the growth compared to the cat’s actual size.
Lack of Important Nutrients Affect the Size Of A Cat
Why is my cat so small? Could it be because of lacking certain nutrients? When you know that your cat isn’t growing because of a lack of important nutrients, it becomes easier to change things and take the necessary steps to correct it. There are some essential nutrients that cats need for balanced and good nutrition, such as animal protein, fats, water, vitamins, carbohydrates, and minerals.
A cat’s size can be affected by a lack of certain nutrients in the body, especially at an early stage in life. This means that it is possible to correct the cat’s size as long as you do it at the right time and age.
Sometimes cats lose contact with their kittens due to death, and there may be other reasons why the kitten didn’t enjoy the nutritional value of breast milk. If this happens, your feline friend’s petite body can is justified, and you don’t have to worry about it anymore.
Illness and worm infections
Some cats can appear healthy outside and be eating well, and still not grow as they should. When this happens, chances are something inside the cat is affecting the growth, such as internal parasites lurking in her intestines.
Cats are susceptible to diseases and parasitic worms such as roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, and heartworms that affect their ability to absorb the nutrients that the body requires. Other accompanying symptoms of worm infestations in cats are vomiting, diarrhea, constant coughing, bloated belly, and worm segments in the cat’s poop.
It is also possible for a cat to have a ferocious appetite and still not grow. Such diseases as polycystic kidneys, congenital hypothyroidism affect your cat’s eating habits, and in turn, the general growth. Diseases such as diabetes in cats can reduce appetite, diarrhea, excessive thirst and urination, and a very pronounced weight loss.
How Can I Tell That My Cat Is Not Growing?
It is possible to tell when your feline friend is having stunted growth, especially if it has nothing to do with the cat’s breed. Newborn kittens weigh only a few ounces, and they are much smaller compared to fully grown cats.
Kittens grow amazingly well and rapidly during the first six months, which can be seen with their physical changes as they gain at least two pounds in the first month. Most cats complete their growth upon reaching one year old, but this may differ depending on their breed and gene.
If your cat does not show any sign of weight or height gain in the initial three to four months, it is possible that the cat has stunted growth, so seek expert advice immediately.