We all know that cats are typically small. But you may be wondering why your cat is so small in comparison to other cats of the same breed, age, and size. There could be many reasons for this!
Some breeds of cats naturally grow smaller than others (such as Bengals), some kittens may simply not have grown yet, and some illnesses can cause a cat to stop growing.
This blog post will explore what factors can affect a cat’s growth and what you should do if your cat stops growing or starts shrinking.
Reasons: Why Your Is Cat So Small?
There can be many reasons for your cat’s petite, and there are many factors that determine the size and growth of your cat, such as the cat’s breed, genetics, the environment, nutrition, and many others.
So, let’s solve this mystery and look at the reasons behind your cat’s small size.
Is She Male or Female?
The size of a cat also depends on its gender. Every cat’s measurements are different from each other. The general rule is, females are smaller than male cats.
The average size of stray cats differs a lot compared to the others, but you will notice that usually, male cats are bigger than female cats. Furthermore, many people believe that early neutering can limit the cat’s growth, especially for male cats, but many studies state that it’s not true.
The point is, you cannot rule out the gender when comparing the cat’s sizes and males are usually larger than their female counterparts.
The Runt Of The Litter
If one of your felines is considerably smaller than its siblings from the same litter, then it might be the runt of the litter.
Usually, there’s one runt kitten born from the one litter, and these are identifiable as they are so small and weak compared to the others in the group. Moreover, some runt cats might have inherited defects such as abnormalities in their body structure, functions, or metabolism.
Similarly, not all defects and abnormalities are not visible, and by providing adequate care and nursing, you can bring them back to health. Unfortunately, this is not possible in the wild, but if you have a runt kitten in your home, then keep in mind that how special and unique your little feline is.
Nourishments And Diet:
You’re probably aware that your kitty may be a bit thin, so you need to make sure they eat the right food. If there are not enough nutrients in what they are eating, then try adding more variety and lookout for signs of reduced weight such as vomiting after meals or loss of appetite altogether.
Cats in the wild are predators, so they eat prey that is smaller than them. This means cats typically have several small meals throughout their day to keep their energy levels up and stay healthy as well. You could easily mimic this feeding pattern by splitting your cat’s daily portions into several snacks or meal-sized servings every few hours.
Having multiple cats in your household can be overwhelming. Some of them are likely to be causing trouble, like stealing all the food from others or being anxious about a new feline intruder that has entered their space.
However, there is an easy solution for this problem, and you might want to tackle it sooner rather than later. By addressing these issues, you can bring them back to their previous diet and normal weight.
Here we will advise you to feed all the cats in separate bowls and at a distance. Similarly, please don’t put the food bowls near the litter box as it can reduce their appetite.
Your cat’s diet also depends on their age, gender, lifestyle, and health. If you overlook these things, the chances are that your cat is not eating enough and has lost considerable weight, making them look smaller than it would be.
Is Your cat suffering from diabetes?
Suppose you have provided your cat an ideal living environment with the proper diet, but she still looks smaller than the others. In that case, this can be an indication that she is suffering from any chronic disease such as diabetes or hyperthyroidism.
When it comes to diabetes in cats, the most common symptom is too much increase in their appetite or rapid weight loss.
On the other hand, the signs of hyperthyroidism are almost the same as diabetes, but your cat might suffer from diarrhea and extreme thirst and urination, along with an increased appetite and significant weight loss. If that’s the case, immediately contact your vet.
Worms Can Make Them Smaller
Things like worms and parasites can hinder a cat’s growth. A healthy outside and good eating schedule don’t always guarantee that a cat will grow to her full potential, as she may still have an infection inside of herself, which is preventing proper development or maturation.
Cats are prone to various worms such as roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, and heartworms, and all these can severely affect their ability to absorb the food that their body needs. Common symptoms of worm infestations in the cats include too much vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, bloated belly, and visibility of worms in the cat’s poop.
One of the biggest reasons your cat might seem small is because they were undernourished as a kitten. Cats usually stop drinking their mother’s milk after eight weeks old, and that’s when you step in. Proper nutrition provides the base for healthy adulthood.
That’s why you need to ensure that you are feeding a healthy diet to a new kitten in your home and all the nutrition that its body needs.
Additionally, if you’ve adopted a grown-up but small cat, it can be due to lack of nourishments in their childhood or when they were roaming on the streets.
In some cases, the smaller size of your cat can be due to the current food brand or food type. If the diet doesn’t meet the cat’s nutritional needs, they will remain smaller no matter how much you feed them.
That’s why you should keep an eye on your cat when they are eating. If you have multiple cats in your home, feed them individually in separate bowls, as it will save you and your cat from any needless weight fluctuations.
If you are unable to figure out the right type of diet or food for your cat, your veterinarian is your safest and best bet.
Cat Dwarfism Is Not Unusual
Feline dwarfism is a new topic among scientists, and research is still being done on animals. Dwarfism is common in humans as well as in animals, including the cat. As for cats, the Munchkin breed has been clinically and genetically considered as dwarfs because some of them might be suffering from a genetic defect known as pseudoachondroplasia.
However, the debate is still ongoing about the classification of the Munchkin breed. The International Cat Association classifies Munchkin cats as a cat breed, but the Cat Fanciers’ Association does not. Apart from the Munchkin, any cat can suffer from dwarfism that causes shortened limbs, unusual proportions, and immature parts.
If your furry feline is too small, and you feel that it has a disproportionate body or shortened legs, then chances are they are dwarf or have a type of dwarfism. Your vet can help you in this regard more than any other thing. And if that turns out to be true, you need to pay special attention to them due to their smaller stature.
Popular cat breeds that are smaller than the others
As stated above, not all cat breeds are equal in terms of size. So, below are some popular cat breeds that are smaller than the others.
The Siamese is a gorgeous cat breed that is not that big. Siamese cats usually weigh between eight to fifteen pounds, but they are pretty much active and playful regardless of their small size.
American Curl cats are famous for their unique ears, which are bent backward and are not pointy like other cats. These cats are also smaller than the other breeds and weigh between five to ten pounds.
One of the most popular cat breeds in the USA is the Cornish Rex. This cat breed is famous for its curly fur that looks like a sheep’s fur. The breed is not that big and weighs only eight to ten pounds. Besides, it is the most delicate cat breed.
If you have a Singapura cat, then you shouldn’t be surprised by their small size as they are one of the smallest cat breeds. Averagely, they weigh around five to eight pounds.
Another sheep-looking cat breed is the Devon Rex. This cat breed is small and hypoallergenic. Usually, they weigh less than eight pounds on average. But these are one of the most adorable out there.
The Japanese Bobtail is appealing and popular due to its tiny pom-like tail. These are also the smallest out there and weigh around five to ten pounds. Plus, these shortest of them all and are as tall as seven to eight inches!
The Balinese breed is a longhaired variant of the popular Siamese cat. So they are also smaller and weigh only five to seven pounds, which is pretty tiny.
Is It Normal For A Cat To Be Small?
As a cat parent, you should always be observant and ready to take action if your pet displays any sort of unusual behavior or signs. This includes a sudden reduction in their weight or growth rate and a significant reduction in their diet. Both these things can be an indication of any serious problem or infection that needs urgent treatment by the vet.
But if you can track that your small cat is from a small-sized breed then, it’s not as big an issue. A smaller-sized feline is by no means “less than normal.” In fact, most people enjoy their size for what it offers. If they eat healthy food and maintain a healthy lifestyle, no need to worry about them.
Plus, you won’t find destructive behaviors or other problematic qualities that are visible in large cat breeds.
Your cat’s size is dependent on various factors such as their inheritance, their fight to survive as the tiniest of kittens, disease or illness they are battling with, or they can be naturally thinner from the others. And in this case, we will advise you to love them for how they look and who they are!
When Do Cats Stop Growing?
It may come as no surprise that cats grow rapidly. In the case of kittens, they can quickly become adults and reach maturity at age ten to twelve months depending on individual size, with some exceptions for short hair varieties like Persians who mature earlier than other breeds.
The growth rate for some cat breeds is much slower as they approach 80% of adult size after 30 weeks, and some cat breeds reach adult body size after 40 weeks of age.
The right diet and exercise can make all the difference in growing your cat up to a healthy weight. Other than that, you cannot much about their growth and size. If you’ve tried everything with no luck, then it might be time for you to take your cat to the vet.
Average growth rates in cats
Newborn kittens are obviously small and weigh only a few ounces. However, during the first five or six months, they develop and grow rapidly and gain around one pound in a month.
The cat’s growth rate tapers off, and most of them are fully grown by the time they are one year old. Larger cat breeds such as the Maine Coon, can keep growing up to five years. A large male of this cat breed can be four feet long and weigh over 20 pounds.
How To Make Your Cat Grow Bigger
When it comes to your cat, you want the best for them. So let’s make sure they grow healthy and strong. Several steps can ensure this – just follow these simple guidelines and make your small cat bigger and better.
Proper and Healthy Diet
Malnourishment at any stage can be devastating for your cat’s growth. If it occurs before maturity, it can lead to underdeveloped growth. And to make things worse, you cannot reverse it even by taking your cat to the cat or adopting a new diet. In simple words, you cannot cure stunted growth, but you can prevent it.
The severity of the situation depends on these things:
How poor was the cat’s malnourishment:
To ensure your kitten grows to its proper size, make sure it has the right food on a steady basis. Kittens grow rapidly in their first five or six months and will gain up to one pound monthly. For their health and happiness, we recommend feeding them 2-3 high-quality meals per day with tasty food.
However, growth in adult cats will not be the same as kittens, but still, you need to offer them a well-balanced diet. Here we will advise you to feed adult cats two meals per day or a grazing bowl.
If your cat is recovering from illness or injury, we will advise you to consult your vet for the cat’s food plan. That’s extremely vital if you have just adopted a stray cat and you feel that it has lost a significant amount of weight.
Keeping up with routine deworming medication is essential for your cat’s health and growth. It also ensures that your cat maintains a proper weight. Mild infestations won’t cause many problems, but they can turn into severe threats if you leave them untreated.
When growing in size, those infestations can significantly affect your cat’s body and health and cause severe digestion problems.
Apart from considerable weight loss and stunted growth, these worms can eventually lead to cat’s death due to organ complications or malnutrition. So, deworm your cat on a routine basis via your vet and try to remain up to date with anti-parasitics to escape such dreadful results.
Some cats are gluttons, while some are bullies. If you have more than one cat in your home, you can see a mess around food time. One of your pet cats will get too little food while the others will get the lion’s share.
In this case, try to feed all of your cats at different places or in separate rooms. When feeding the cats, use separate bowls and keep them at opposite ends of the room. You can avoid this mess by feeding them with multiple grazing dishes. If you are still unable to prevent this foodie mess, we will recommend feeding your cats in separate rooms.
Lastly, both kittens and adult cats can cause this scarcity at the food time, so keep an eye on them and, if needed, intervene to ensure that all cats get a fair share of food.
Give Your Cat Homemade Diet
A homemade diet for your cat is an excellent way to keep it healthier, active, and bigger. Fresh, unpasteurized foods such as boiled or unsalted chicken will give them the most nutrients that their body needs to work properly.
Some Full Grown Cats Look Like Kitten
This is common for cats that are malnourished or going through severe illness or parasitic infection. Both these things can prevent them from reaching their full size. Severely ill kittens or cats might not grow to full size despite having a nourishing diet.
If that’s the case, take your pet to the vet as this indicates a worm infestation, diabetes, cancer, FIP, or hyperthyroidism.
Keep the check on your cat’s growth and size. For these purposes, you need to take them to the vet regularly. Most pet owners think they can’t take fully grown or adult cats to the doctors, but that’s not true. Early finding of any disease or lack of nutrients is beneficial as you can address them timely.
Are Smaller Cats Healthy?
If you have a small cat, they can be healthy if the food is right and there are no health issues. But as stated above, most of the time smaller size in cats due to their specific breeds. For example, Munchkin cats are smaller, and even the old cats look like kittens.
If your cat is so small due to its breed, no need to worry; just take care of her, and she will be fine and healthy. It is your responsibility to feed your cat nutritious foods and clean drinking water, play with it and visit your vet for regular check-ups.
How to know that my cat is not growing?
Newborn kittens weigh only a few ounces. Hence they are small and weigh lesser than adult cats. In the first six months, the growth in cats is amazing. Besides, you can easily see the growth in them in the first six months.
Usually, kittens gain one or two pounds in a month for the first six months. However, most cat breeds are fully grown when they become a year old. However, it is dependent on the cat’s breed as well as on the genetics, so this may differ.
But if your cat does not show any sign of gaining weight or height, especially in the first three to four months, then we advise you to discuss the matter with your vet. To give you an idea about the cat’s growth rate, take a look at this table.
Know Your Cat’s Genetics and Breed While Adopting
While adopting a cat, it’s essential to recognize its breed and gender. Both these things will help you to figure out the right weight and size for your friend.
If you already have a kitten or cat and you cannot identify its breed, and you are concerned about the cat’s small size, take her to the vet and talk to them.
In the End:
We hope now you get why your cat is so small. It is normal for cat owners to worry if their pet seems underweight or stunted in growth despite feeding them a healthy diet. Often this can be due to the feline’s breed, gender, age, and other factors such as its lifestyle and environment.
However, some reasons indicate an emergency; your pet may have inadequate nutrition, worm infestation, or diabetes. If you notice any of these symptoms, call your vet immediately!