The next big step for your little cat

When does your kitten become a cat? What changes will you see in their behaviour? When do you need to switch them over from kitten to adult cat food – and what are the nutrition differences that benefit them as they grow?
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29th April 2024

“Just like humans, cats go through various life stages and their needs can change dramatically as they age. You wouldn’t expect the same of a toddler as you would a teenager, nor of your elderly grandmother as your mother,” advises US feline veterinary care provider The Cat Doctor. “Comparing your cat’s age to what they would be if they were human is a great start when it comes to understanding their needs.”

Feline Welfare charity International Cat Care classes young cats aged 7 months to two years as ‘Juniors’, stating: “During this time the cat reaches full size and learns about life and how to survive it.”

Animal welfare charity Blue Cross adds: “Your cat will reach full size during this period of time and will have reached sexual maturity,” which means neutering is essential. The charity also recommends teaching your junior cat to play appropriately: “This means ensuring not to play rough and tumble games with your cat; instead, use toys to engage with them. Playing with your hands can encourage biting and scratching, which may seem cute when they’re a kitten, but remember that they soon grow up and the bites and scratches will get harder.”

Play behaviour of cats surprises scientists >>

Cats – the ‘teenage’ years

“Not quite a kitten anymore, but there is still a lot of growing to do! Cats in this age group, like adolescents and teenage children, are all about pushing boundaries and learning from the consequences. Be prepared for the mood swings that come as a result,” is the sage advice from The Cat Doctor.

“Cats of this age may go through a bit of a personality change, the ‘moody teenager’ effect if you like. It may even seem like all of your hard work socialising them as a kitten has been forgotten sometimes. Don’t get too discouraged though, they often come out the other end of it more relaxed around the age of two to three, so be patient and keep working with them to encourage positive behaviour and discourage inappropriate behaviour.”

To appreciate our cats better, the key is to try and think like them and understand what’s important to them – and why >>


Feline welfare charity International Cat Care says: “It has often been suggested that we simply need to multiply a cat’s age by 7 to get a comparative human age. However, this is very crude and does not take into account a number of aspects of how cats mature and age. A much more appropriate method is to take the end of the first year of the cat’s life to be equivalent to 15 human years, the end of the second year to be approximately equivalent to a 24-year-old person, and thereafter to consider each year of a cat’s life to equate to approximately 4 human years.”

What does your junior cat need?

During this stage of their life, your active, inquisitive, endlessly curious young cat will be eager to explore the world around them. The Cat Doctor has these top tips:

Allow them the freedom to exercise and explore

  • Cats of this age are extremely active. If you live in a relatively quiet location, allowing them outdoor access is a great way to ensure they get the exercise their bodies need. If outdoor access isn’t an option, there are many resources online to help with creating a fun indoor environment.
  • For any cat with outdoor access, a microchip-activated cat flap is recommended. This will both allow them freedom of movement but also safe entry back into the house if they find themselves chased by another cat. Microchip cat flaps keep other cats from entering your house, an extremely distressing situation for your naturally territorial cat.

Keep them entertained

‘Why does my cat lick me?’, ‘Why does my cat bite me?’, ‘Why does my cat stare at me?’ Find answers to your cat questions >> 

Keep them safe

  • Be very mindful of household hazards and do your best to keep these to a minimum. That means no lilies in the house, full stop! Other common hazards include household cleaners, potpourri, essential oil diffusers, many human foods and all medications.
  • Never use topical products on your cat unless specifically recommended by your vet. Medications used on dogs are often not safe for cats, and topical products such as TCP, Germolene, Savlon and tea tree oil can be toxic for cats, even at low doses.
  • If your cat wears a collar, make sure it has a safety release and that you adjust it regularly as they grow.

Although there are various factors beyond our control that influence how long a cat may live, there are plenty of things devoted owners can do to help their cat live a long, happy and healthy life >> 

Feeding your junior cat – how their nutrition needs change

Cats Protection advises: “Always buy your cat an age-appropriate cat food  to make sure they’re getting what they need. Adult cats (between one and eight years old) don’t need quite as much energy as kittens, but they will need a different balance of nutrients to stay healthy. They need to be fed at least twice a day (but will usually prefer more), and some will regulate their food intake, so their daily ration can be left out, particularly if you give them dry food.”

When the time comes to move your young cat onto adult cat food, you want to be sure that you’re making the right choice. Providing your cat with a nutritionally balanced, complete diet will help keep them in tip top condition during the prime of their life.

Help your kitten grow into their paws with our delicious, nutritious Kitten Bundle >>

Made using premium ingredients, Burgess Cat Food supports contains all the essential nutrients and protein they need to set them on their incredible journey from kitten to adult. The benefits include:

  • Dental health support
  • Urinary tract health
  • Fortified with calcium
  • Antioxidants to support your kitten's immune system
  • Highly digestible proteins for growing muscles

If you have a feline with discerning taste who can be a little on the fussy side when it comes to dinner time, perhaps it’s time to change things up a little >>


High quality cat food for life 

At Burgess, all our cat food is made using premium ingredients in our own factory in the heart of Yorkshire and is high in protein, to ensure excellent quality and superior taste to help keep your cat happy and healthy – from kitten, to adult and mature and our award-winning variety for neutered cats. What’s more, Burgess Cat Food is a complete food. This means that, whatever variety you choose for your cat throughout their life, it will contain all the nutrients they need in the correct balance.

With a whole host of *5 STAR REVIEWS*, our customers have told us:

* “My kitten so healthy and his is enjoying it.” * “My cats love it – they can't get enough!” * “Cat loves the food and helps keep him in great health.” * “Excellent food, cats love it.” * “Quick delivery, good price, cat loves the food.” * “Cats absolutely love it. Couldn't wait for me to open the bag.” * “Very impressed with product and my cats won’t eat anything else.” *

Burgess Kitten Bundle comes with 2 bags of kitten food and 1 bag of neutered cat. Give your kitten all the essential nutrients and protein they need to thrive and save 10%! >>

Our cat diet and nutrition guide is here to help you create a meal plan that's tailored especially for your feline friend, and their needs.

Adapting your cat’s diet throughout their life – what you choose to feed your cat can make all the difference >>

Is your cat a Burgess cat? Join the Burgess Pet Club for exclusive offers and rewards.

CARE MORE Find out more about caring for your cat from the pet experts >>

Need nutrition advice? Call our consumer care line on +44 1405 862241 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. Our dedicated team of animal experts will help you make the right choice.

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