This article is all about what to expect from a 5 month old kitten, including their physical development, what behavioral milestones they’ll be reaching, and how to give them the best possible care. We’ll answer all the most pressing questions asked by kitten parents at this time too, including ‘how much should a 5 month old kitten weigh? and ‘when do kittens calm down?!’
- 5 month old kitten size
- How much to feed a 5 month old kitten
- Can a 5 month old kitten eat cat food?
- 5 month old kitten care
- 5 month old kitten behavior
- When do kittens calm down?
- Five month old kitten milestone checklist
A 5 month old kitten has almost completely lost their baby features, and looks undeniably like a small adult cat. But they’re still hitting important milestones in terms of physical and behavioral development.
Look how much Layo has changed by the time he’s 5 months old. His personality is shining through too. Let’s take a closer look at the development stages he’s going through.
Your 5 month old kitten
Most five month old kittens have been with their forever homes for 3 months now. They’re likely to be feeling well established in their new families, and growing in confidence every day. You might be starting to think about allowing them access to the outdoors, in which case there are steps you can start taking now to prepare them for that.
5 month old kitten size
Whether or not their kitten is growing as they should is a major preoccupation of many pet parents. The appropriate 5 month old kitten weight for your cat depends mostly upon their breed. A Norwegian Forest Cat kitten or Maine Coon kitten might already weigh 6 or 7 pounds, whilst a Cornish Rex or dainty Singapura might only be 3 or 4 pounds. For domestic shorthair cats, and other kittens of unknown ancestry, a very crude rule of thumb is that a 5 month old kitten weighs just over half of their final adult weight. If you’re at all worried that your kitten isn’t growing as they should, then we recommend asking a veterinarian to examine them. Several common kitten ailments, including parasitic infections, can stop a kitten putting on weight.
If your kitten is slightly bigger or smaller than expected, but otherwise healthy, don’t worry. Factors such as sex, litter size, and individual variation all affect a kitten’s size too. So it’s normal to see kittens inside and outside the average weight range.
How much to feed a 5 month old kitten
Hopefully your kitten has a hearty appetite to support how rapidly they are continuing to grow at the moment. As they get bigger and more confident, you might start to notice that they’re more curious about the food you eat too – or at least, bolder about expressing that curiosity. In fact it might seem like they are always hungry! This is all a natural part of exploring the world around them. But you should keep feeding them the portion sizes advised on the packaging, and restricting treat intake to no more than 10% of their daily calories, unless your veterinarian recommends otherwise.
Can a 5 month old kitten eat cat food?
It’s likely your kitten is starting to look, and act, pretty grown up. But are they ready for adult cat food? Kitten food is specially formulated to meet the nutritional needs of growing cats. It contains exactly the right vitamins, minerals and calories to support bones and tissue formation at a safe and appropriate rate. They should keep eating it until they have reached their full adult weight, at about 12 months old.
5 month old kitten care
A five month kitten is gaining confidence and independence, but there’s still a lot they can only get from you!
You’ve probably noticed that their soft kitten coat is starting to be replaced by a thicker, smoother adult coat. This process is going to last about a month or so, and if their adult coat is long or wavy, it’s likely they’ll need help keeping it clean and tangle free. Hopefully you’ve already started introducing them to grooming, but if not, now is the time to start! Begin with just a single gentle touch with the brush in the first occasion and give them several treats, to make it a positive experience. Gradually build up to a single stroke at a time, then a few strokes, until you can brush their entire coat right down to the skin in a single sitting. Pay special attention to their ‘armpits’ and under their collar – the places where friction is most likely to cause knotting.
Kittens shed their deciduous (baby) teeth and grow their adult teeth between 4 and 6 month old. You might notice:
- Lost baby teeth on the floor or furniture
- Slight bleeding from their gums
- Signs of discomfort including pawing at their face, and not wanting it to be touched by you
- Loss of appetite
- Reduced grooming (because their primary grooming tool – their mouth – is sore)
They might also be chewing on things more than usual, and it’s a good idea to have a stashing of appropriate teething toys to offer them, rather than sacrificing your own belongings!
Spaying and neutering
Not a lot of people realise than kittens can reach sexual maturity and produce kittens of their own by 4 months old. Not only does this increase the homeless cat population though, it is very dangerous for a 5 month female kitten to get pregnant while she herself is still practically a baby. For these reasons, and because all the evidence so far suggests it is safe to do so, veterinarians increasingly recommend that kittens be neutered as soon as possible after 4 months old, and before the onset of puberty. If you haven’t discussed this with your vet, do it sooner rather than later!
5 month old kitten behavior
In terms of emotional maturity and behavior, your 5 month kitten has come a long way since they were born. And it’s likely you’ve got a pretty clear picture of their adult temperament by now. Research into kitten development suggests that many aspects of their personality are stable now, and will remain more or less the same throughout the rest of their lives. For example how sociable they are, how bold they are, how much interest they have in exploring.
But others will still continue to develop. For example territorial behaviors in males, such as urine marking, will start when they reach puberty in the next month or so. Predatory skills also develop in a non-uniform way between cats. So your five month old kitten might already be an ace hunter of fluffy kitten toys, or they might still seem bemused by them. Those who seem bemused now will usually catch up in the next few months.
When do kittens calm down?
A oft-asked question from our readers is ‘when do kittens calm down?!’ A 5 month old cat can be a real livewire. They have all the boisterousness and enthusiasm of a kitten, combined with the confidence and stamina of an adult cat. It’s a combination which is in turns endearing, entertaining and exhausting.
A common behavioral problem at this age is unwanted and over the top play aggression. For example attacking your hands when you try to pet them, or pouncing at your ankles as you try and work in the kitchen. This is partly a natural phase which they will grow out of. But it can be made worse if
- a kitten never learned to play properly, because they were separated from the mom and siblings too early,
- they get overly aroused and can’t control own intensity,
- or they get easily frustrated by game ending.
Whether their behavior is within normal limits, or made worse by one of these factors, you can still help them mature out of it by redirecting them to suitable toys, stopping games before they get too excited to control their behavior, and using clear start and end cues for playtimes. And take heart that by the time they are an 8 month old cat, they will be much less hectic!
Letting your kitten outdoors
Finally, let’s turn to an exciting event on the horizon. If you plan to let your cat outdoors, then they’re nearly ready for freedom. You can start introducing them to the area immediately outside your home as soon as their vaccination schedule is complete. But cat welfare experts recommend not letting them out of your sight until they are about 6 months old. To bridge the gap, you can use a specially-designed kitten harness and leash to keep them close to you at first. It’s also a good idea to practice saying their name to them whilst feeding extra-tasty treats, so that you can call them in when it’s time to got to bed.
Five month old kitten milestone checklist
To sum up, here are some milestones to expect or prepare for as your kitten celebrates their 5-month birthday:
- If your breeder provided an estimate of their adult weight, they should have reached at least half of that.
- They will continue to loose baby teeth and grow adult teeth – contact your vet if an adult tooth comes through without the corresponding baby tooth falling out.
- Their adult coat is coming through too – make sure you have a grooming routine established!
- Schedule spay or neuter surgery now, if you haven’t already done so.
- If they’ll be allowed outside as an adult, start introducing them to the area around your home now using a harness and leash. And teach them their name so you can call them back indoors!
- And finally, tell us how they’re getting on, using the comments box down below!
More articles in this series
- 3 Month Old Kitten – A Complete Guide From The Happy Cat Site
- 4 Month Old Kitten – Growing And Changing Fast
- 6 Month Kitten – Complete Guide To Caring For Your Cat
Denenberg. Preventing problem feline behaviour at different life stages. BSAVA. 2018.
Lowe & Bradshaw. Ontogeny of individuality in the domestic cat in the home environment. Animal Behavior. 2001.
Turner & Bateson. The Domestic Cat: The Biology of Its Behaviour. Cambridge University Press. 2000.
Welsh. Cat neutering: the earlier the better to tackle overpopulation. The Veterinary Record. 2018.
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