Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Kittens at 6 weeks and 6 months: What's the difference?

Fergus the kitten in the bathroom window

Fergus the kitten just hit the 6-month mark. At least, I think he did. When he came to me as a foster kitten, his age was a little unclear. At one point, I thought he was 3 weeks old. The next, I thought he was 5 weeks old. The math was never as pristine as I would like.

But anyway, if we assume that he was about 6 weeks old when he sat down for his first photo shoot with me, we can also assume that he's about 6 months old right now.

To most people, cats fall into two categories. They are either kittens or adults. But Fergus is proof that there are a lot of nuances to kittenhood. And he's proof of the important work that families are doing all around the country to help during kitten season--and the continued work families have to do when they take these guys home.

Here's Fergus at somewhere between 4 and 6 weeks.

Tiny Fergus kitten

He's incredibly small and oh-so furry. He was also completely and totally dependent on me for almost everything. He couldn't eat on his own at all (he was the last one to pick up that particular skill), so I had to feed him with a syringe several times each day. He could not regulate his body temperature, so I had to swaddle him and put him near water bottles in order to keep him warm. And he didn't move around very much. He didn't have the energy.

Here's Fergus now.

Fergus the kitten in the window

He's a very long and lean cat right now. Much of that baby kitten fuzziness has simply gone away, and his legs seem to be growing longer by the minute. He can eat on his own, stay warm on his own and he can move as fast as anything.

Where I would categorize him as a very needy thing in the early days, I spend a lot of time now calling him things like "busy" or "crazy" or "speedy." He still needs me, but he needs to burn off a lot of energy. His to-do list doesn't always include spending time with me. It does involve spending a lot of time playing with toys and his siblings.

Fergus is also just much bigger. Here's how he sat between my feet as a kitten.

Fergus the kitten between my feet

He's about the same size as my shoes here, and he's pretty much all belly. Look how short his tail is, too. His legs are longer than that little stick tail.

Here's how he looks now, in a somewhat inexact comparison, as he rarely lies down anymore.

Fergus the kitten with my shoes

He's very much bigger and leaner. And see that peep of a tail in this photo? It is much longer than his legs.

At the 6-month mark, a kitten still has a lot of growing to do before reaching full size. As I've mentioned before, predicting the final weight of a kitten isn't an exact science. But it looks like Fergus will probably top out at 16 pounds, which means he will double in size one more time before this process is through. That's a crazy amount of growth, and I can't wait to see it.

But in the interim, I'd like to remind you of something. Cats like Fergus may be independent at 6 months, and we may think of them as individuals when they reach this age. But cats like Fergus will simply never reach this age at all without dedicated foster families. Animal shelters do not have the resources to provide around-the-clock care. Foster families need to fill that role. Have you considered fostering? You could save a life.

And if you have fostered before, would you leave a note in the comments about your experience? You could help me to persuade other people to help cats in need.

And finally: Have you entered my VitaBone dog treat giveaway? There are only a few days left to enter. Do it!


  1. Mee-you Lady Jean yur Fergus iss so hansum!! What a grate post about him!!! An thee fotoss' sure show how much hee has grown since you have had him with you. hee looks like a Snowshoe Siamese an LadyMum iss all leeky eyed fur sum reason....
    Shee iss a REEL Sofite over Siamesess!!
    An Burmesess!!! ;)
    Wee reelly enjoyed reain yur bloggie!!
    ~~head rubsss~~ Siddhartha Henry~~
    Pee S.: LadyMum sayss yur runnin shoess are THEE BOMM!! ;)

    1. I go back and forth about his breed. Siamese? Snowshoe? Burmese? It's hard to tell! Thanks for the visit :)

  2. Fergus, you have grown into one handsome mancat! The Staff thinks you have to be very special to foster kitties! She says she would end up keeping them all! I should definitely have something to say about that MOL

    1. Keeping them is a very big risk. I've done it!

  3. Fergus certainly is growing into a handome man cat! Thank you for everything you've done for him.

  4. Fergus is so handsome. It looks like he is turning into a fine young cat, thanks to you.

  5. Fergus is such a cutie. I have considered it, but I know that my heart won't let me give up any kitty I get close to plus my hubby won't let me bring anymore into the house. I admire all that do foster, it is such a kind thing to do and I know how hard it must be every time they have to give them up to get adopted.

  6. I fostered a litter of 5 about 9 ish years ago. I kept one, the only female. I tend to prefer female cats but the whole litter was just precious. I remember sitting on the couch and I'd immediately be covered in a kitten pile, they liked to sleep on me and all together. I'd love to foster again someday but right now I have a 2 month old and a 2 year old (humans) which is a bit much for baby kitties. Plus I don't want to upset the relative peace in the lives of my three kitties and their dog.