As the new owner of a tiny, terrorizing bundle of energy, you may be wondering: Do cats calm down with age? Rest assured; the answer is usually yes. Although it can be wearisome at times, it’s healthy, and normal, for your kitten to be running through the house with the “zoomies” and getting into mischief.
Did you know kittens can sleep up to 20 hours a day? This helps explain why they never seem to stay still when awake and why being overactive during the night is normal. Such disruptive nighttime behaviors are because they’re evolutionarily nocturnal and haven’t acclimated to a human way of life.
At what age do kittens calm down?
Generally, by 9 to 12 months old, the massive amount of enthusiasm has begun to settle, and a personality has become more apparent. Each cat differs individually with some being more playful and some lazier. However, these are some typical stages you’ll see as your frisky feline ages.
Birth to 1 year old
The first year of a cat’s life contains the most changes. Starting from birth until about 2 months old, a kitten is nursing and moving, but has not developed enough muscle, nor the coordination, to get anywhere else with purpose. Awkward movements, stumbling and falling as it tries to explore are normal.
At 3 to 6 months, kittens have been completely weaned and are active as hunting instincts develop. The primal drive to hunt is strong, and they’ll typically want to follow and catch anything that resembles prey. A feline’s balance and motor skills will likely improve right before your eyes. This period of its life is usually when it is the most social and active — spending copious amounts of energy playing and generally acting crazy. Curiosity might also peak during this age, so it’s a good time to introduce activities such as walking on a leash, socializing, and learning tricks.
From 6 months to a year is what could be called the “teen years” as the cat moves toward its sexual maturity. You may find a male or female trying to claim territory by marking, or with assertive behaviors such as aggression, scratching, or biting. At this time a cat can be neutered, which has been shown to calm it significantly.
After year 1
The transition to adulthood ordinarily occurs from 1 to 2 years old. At this time, and possibly after neutering, a cat may retain a lot of energy but should be notably calmer with it reaching full maturity at 2.
From 3 to 10 years old, a cat is relatively calm but remains active. Having adapted to the environment and adjusted to a routine of eating, sleeping, socializing, and activity, it usually finds contentment. With aging, anxiety alleviates. However, cats tend to become much more resistant to changes in their environment, such as new additions or relocation. The desire to play may steadily decrease as they become more and more passive.
When a cat reaches 11, it is considered a senior and the amount of activity decreases quite noticeably. It’s important at this stage of life to monitor health, diet and to mark any changes in behavior.
Reasons for hyperactivity beyond age
Sometimes, a kitten may not grow out of being crazy. Early weaning — due to being abandoned or separated from its mother too soon — might cause hyperactive behaviors to develop. Heredity also comes into play based on breed or possibly poor genetics. Lastly, a lack of stimulation could cause a cat to act out due to boredom or neglect.
Tips for managing hyperactive cats
The first step is to enrich your pet’s environment for mental, physical, and emotional well-being. This helps curb unwanted behaviors by providing a healthy outlet for its energy.
Cat towers (also known as cat trees or condos) provide a place to scratch, areas to hide, and high spots for exploring and climbing. Interactive toys can stimulate your kitten mentally. Simple toys, such as teasers and wands, provide social play that improves the bond you share.
Scratching posts are important to relieve a cat’s stress (possibly your stress, too), as it directs the feline’s normal scratching tendencies away from furniture. Small toys, such as play mice and bells, help mimic the hunt as a cat seeks, chases, and catches its prey.
Finding peace and harmony
Sooner than you can believe, your kitten will blossom into an adult cat with a distinctive personality. Knowing what to expect as it ages and providing a stimulating environment can help bring about calmness and lead to overall happiness. If you notice any concerning behaviors or sudden changes, it’s important to contact a veterinarian to identify the issue and advise treatment.
Lizz Caputo is a Content Strategist at Figo, animal enthusiast, and owner of a rescued senior American Bully. Her hobbies include checking out new restaurants in her area, boxing, and petting dogs of all shapes and sizes.