How to Handle the Post-Kitten Blues

Photo: Delmaine Donson/Getty Images

Time flies when you have a kitten. And before you know it, that little furball that loved pouncing and rolling all over your living room floor has grown into a sofa lion. Though you love your grown-up cat, you may feel a little sad she grew up so fast. Post-kitten blues are real.

“There’s just nothing cuter than a tiny kitten,” says Dr. Laura Pletz, the scientific services manager at Royal Canin.

But your cat’s next chapter can be just as rewarding.

“So often kittens are exploring and learning what the big, wide world is like,” Dr. Pletz says. “When they really start to mature and settle into their home and relationships with everyone in the house, you start to see personality come out.”

Dr. Pletz shares ways to ditch the post-kitten blues and continue to be your cat’s meow as they grow up.

Post-kitten blues. A cat popping out a cat tree.
A cat popping out a cat tree. Photography © lisegagne | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

Build a foundation

The best way to continue to feel good about your bond as your cat gets older is to establish a loving one when they’re young.

“It’s really about socializing them with everyone in the home to begin with,” Dr. Pletz says.

As your cat explores the world, pay close attention to what they respond to. Maybe they could bat at a wand toy forever, or maybe they love to chase a ball around the house. Many cats love to look out the windows and benefit from perches, and others like to climb and would love an environment with a cat tree or three.

“Make sure they have that and lots of space in the environment, so they are really comfortable in the home because that drives the relationship,” Dr. Pletz says. “When they don’t have that environmental enrichment, you may find they are the cat that goes away and hides in a certain area. That is  not as positive for the overall relationship.”

Accept your cat

Even if you established a great relationship with your cat, they might change a bit as they grow out of their kitten phase.

“You’ll find all sorts of personalities around cats,” Dr. Pletz says. “Some are lap cats. Some just want to be in the room hanging out.”

Related: What Cats Are Lap Cats?

Remember, people can be like this, too — sometimes we become less playful or cuddly as we age. Dr. Pletz says it’s best to meet your cat where they are rather than trying to force them to be someone they are not.

“A lot of it is about continuing to address their need,” she says. “Those can vary based on the cat. Respect the cat that isn’t a cuddler and just likes to be near you … if you try to force them into your lap, they don’t appreciate it.”

Talk to your cat

Though there aren’t really studies saying it’s good to talk to your cat, Dr. Pletz says it’s still a fun way to connect.

“You love the response you get when you say certain things or their names,” she says.

And if they ignore you? Embrace it and laugh about it, Dr. Pletz says.

Post-kitten blues. Grey cat playing with mouse.
Cat playing with a plush mouse by Shutterstock.

Continue playtime

Cats who continue to be playful are sort of like big kittens. If your cat likes to play, encourage that.

“It really is all about continuing to enrich their environment and stimulate their mind,” Dr. Pletz says. “It’s about finding what’s that thing the cat likes to bat around and chase on its own. They’re all a little different.”

Crinkly balls, mice and puzzle toys are popular choices.

Create a cat cave

If you’re the crafty type, consider taking up a home improvement project or two that your cat will love. You can build things like perches and catios that turn your home into a kitty oasis.

“The biggest benefit is it makes them happy and comfortable in the environment,” Dr. Pletz says. “You’re providing them a space so they can get to where they need to be.”

It also may show you that your cat still needs you, even if they’ve become more independent.

Featured photo: Delmaine Donson/Getty Images

Read Next: 5 DIY Projects You and Your Kids Can Make for Your Cats

6 thoughts on “How to Handle the Post-Kitten Blues”

  1. Kittens are sooo much fun but they certainly can grow up quickly but I’ve always found mine to still be a lot of fun. Some of them continued to be playful with toys but others became adventurous and spend most of their time looking for something new to explore. Still, I get a lot of joy out of watching them and some of the predicaments they get themselves into.

  2. I have five from a ‘porch cat’ I fed trough the winter of 2019, born 31 March 2019. I also adopted Mom. I intended to adopt them out, but I cared for them until they finished their series of shots. I won’t call it a mistake, but having reared them that far, I watched their individual personalities evolve. Long story short, they turned 18 months old last month and I still have them all. I already had three, so I now have nine total, indoor only. Wasn’t planned that way, but I just couldn’t part with them. I justify it by telling myself that I am the only human they have ever known (except the vet visits) and it wouldn’t have been fair to them after that amount of time. Not to mention the hole it would leave in my life.

    1. I also have moms and their kittens, all grown up now. I love to see them cuddling together. Just make sure they all get spayed and neutered.

    2. As long as u have the space and time to care for them that’s totally fine! Besides u never really know if someone is actually gonna be a good pet parent when u do adopt them out. I volunteer at my local animal shelter. Make sure they all get fixed though cuz that could turn into a real situation later haha

  3. My cats are adults now so I definitely understand the feeling of missing the pitter patter of tiny paws. Kittens are wonderful little curious balls of fluffy adventure and I just adore them. There’s no reason why an adult cat can’t be pretty much a kitten for life with proper diet, enrichment in playtime and regular vet visits. Cats naturally revert to kitten hood in many things they do, so an adult ‘kitten’ that’s well socialized and knows certain boundaries, such as knowing what a scratching post is, is definitely a blessing for years to come.

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