The American Shorthair (ASH) is a medium-large cat breed. Initially, male and female ASH kittens will start out at much the same size: at birth, they’ll typically weigh between 80 g (just under 3 oz) and 170 g (6 oz). They grow very rapidly as kittens, with males quickly getting bigger than their sisters.
By the time you meet your new American Shorthair kitten, he or she should be around three months old; that’s the minimum age that a responsible breeder will want to separate a kitten from its mother. Here is a useful weight chart so you can track your ASH’s growth.
American Shorthair Weight at 3 Months
By the time he’s ready to leave his mother at 12 weeks, your American Shorthair kitten should tip the scales at a healthy 1 kg (2 lb 3 oz), with an upper limit of 1.8 kg (4 lb) for a really strapping 3-month-old. At this age, your kitten is a lively, independent little chap. He’s fully weaned and should have been well-socialised, given his first batch of shots, and de-sexed. Most quality breeders will do this before the kitten goes to his new home, but some may leave it up to you.
Kittens of this age need plenty of food. They can’t digest milk properly anymore, as they will no longer be producing the enzyme that breaks down lactose, but they may enjoy special cat milk or very small amounts of goat’s milk. This can be a good way to help skinnier kittens get the calories they need, although it’s not strictly necessary. It also helps ensure that your kitten is well-hydrated.
Give your kittens food and water in shallow ceramic dishes. Don’t use plastic at this age — it scratches too easily and can harbour bacteria. While this isn’t a problem for a mature cat in good health, kittens are a bit more vulnerable to infections. I don’t like to use metal dishes for cats, because they can impart an odd flavour that some cats really don’t like.
Offer small portions of wet food a few times a day. I tend to be fairly generous with feeds at this age, because kittens do a lot of growing and need plenty of fuel. It’s important not to offer a lot of food all at once, however. Kittens, contrary to popular belief, can overeat, and it is possible for them to consume more food than they can handle. This can cause nausea and vomiting.
Another thing that can happen if you give them adult-sized portions is that the food is left sitting in the dish all day and starts to become rancid. That’s very bad news for delicate kitten digestions. Don’t give dry food as a full meal. Small pieces of kibble as snacks are fine, and will help the kitten develop strong jaws and clean teeth; large amounts of dry food can contribute to dehydration and may cause kidney problems.
There’s much discussion of whether or not to give kittens specially formulated kitten food. Personally, I just give them adult food that I’ve mashed a little. A good quality adult cat food should contain all the nutrients your American Shorthair kitten needs. I like to mash in a splash of water — this makes it easier for the kitten to eat and provides useful hydration.
Another thing your kitten will need is plenty of play and exercise. The more you play with them at this age, the more social they’ll be as they get older. Play helps your kitten develop their senses and their cognitive abilities. Exercise is very important throughout this breed‘s life, and establishing an active lifestyle early on is a good way to avoid the health issues that a sedentary cat may experience.
American Shorthair Weight at Four Months
At four months, your kitten should weigh between 1.8 kg (4 lb) and 2.5 kg (5 lb 8 oz). At this age, your kitten will have done a lot of growing. An American Shorthair may gain from 500g to 750g every four weeks (approximately 1 lb). They’re a larger cats need plenty of attention from their humans to be happy. Remember, this is the same breed, so it’s fine of your kitten’s weight is hovering around the two kilo mark at this point.
Keep an eye on four-month-old kittens that are approaching upper limit of 2.5 kg. (Be especially careful if a female cat is getting to the 2.5 kg end of the spectrum, as female cats are smaller on average and should weigh a little less). If your kitten is getting heavier than this, he may be getting too much food and too little exercise.
Give them smaller portions and reduce the amount of treats you offer. Extend playtimes and ensure that your kitten is very active, engaging his strong prey instinct with teaser toys so he’ll want to get up and run around. This will help him build strong muscles and a good circulatory system.
I can’t really stress the importance of play and exercise for cats enough. While the American Shorthair tends to be more active than, say, the British Shorthair, they are not the most energetic of breeds and can still get stolid and lazy as they get older. Lots of play now will help your kitten develop into a more energetic cat with a better baseline level of health.
American Shorthair Weight at Five Months
By five months, your American Shorthair kitten should weigh between 2.3kg (a little over 5 lb) and 2.7 kg (6lb). Kittens at this age do have quite dramatic growth spurts, especially the boys, so don’t worry too much if they weigh in at the heavier end of this range, but do make sure they’re getting plenty of play and eating a healthy diet.
Be careful to avoid giving too many treats, especially “people food”. When your cat is older, his metabolism will tend to slow down and you’ll need to avoid feeding between meals too often. If he’s become accustomed to getting a snack every time he begs, and to being fed from your plate, it will be hard to break him of these habits. Stick to quality, high-protein wet cat foods.
The exact amount of food to give your kitten will depend on the food you’re offering and the kitten’s weight. Most foods nowadays have a guide to recommended portions per weight, either printed on the label or presented on the company’s website. You should refer to this when determining how much food to give per day, then break this amount down into three or four meals.
American Shorthair Weight at Six Months
When your kitten reaches six months, he should weigh something in the region of 2.5 kg (just over 5 lb 8 oz) and 2.9 kg (just over 6 lb 6 oz). Females are likely to weigh less and males more, as dimorphism becomes increasingly pronounced. While growth can fluctuate, your kitten should still be gaining and getting bigger.
Check in with your vet if your kitten doesn’t seem to be thriving. You should also tweak the amount of food you’re giving if your kitten is over 3 kg, as this could be a sign that he’s getting overweight.
Activity remains hugely important for health and steady weight gain. Break out the teaser toy a few times a day. Now that your cat is bigger, you could see about getting a cat tree and other fun kitty habitats for him to play on. The more novel and exciting objects you bring into your kitten’s environment, the better.
If your kitten wasn’t de-sexed previously, now is the ideal time. Your kitten should be hitting puberty by this point and if you don’t have him neutered, you’re setting yourself up for problems later on. Entire toms can become aggressive and anxious, engaging in problematic behaviours like spraying and scratching furniture.
Female cats are at risk of unwanted pregnancies and can also develop behavioural issues if they’re not spayed. An unspayed female’s risk of certain illnesses, particularly cancer, goes up every time she goes into heat. Spaying will prevent this.
American Shorthair Weight at Seven Months
At seven months, I would begin to worry a little if an American Shorthair weighed much less than 2.7 kg (6 lb) or more than 3.2 kg (7 lb). Weights can vary a great deal, of course, especially between male and female kittens.
American Shorthairs at this age often start to take on a rather gangly, lanky look. Their bones are lengthening very rapidly and the rest of their tissues are struggling to keep up. This can make the young cat look rangy and awkward. Male cats are especially prone to this. It’s not a sign that there’s anything wrong with his development.
As long as your kitten is healthy, lively and growing at a fairly steady rate, you probably don’t need to be overly concerned if he looks a little oddly proportioned or if his weight is a shade outside the average range. If he seems lethargic, isn’t eating regularly or seems out of sorts and isn’t gaining weight, though, you should speak to your vet.
Your kitten will be sleeping more at this point. That’s normal, but do make sure that when he is awake, he gets plenty of exercise. Spend time petting and playing with him; this will prevent him from becoming skittish and unfriendly later on.
American Shorthair Weight at Eight Months
At this stage, I would expect an American Shorthair to weigh from a little under 3 kg (6 lb 9 oz) to around 3.5 kg (7 lb 11 oz). Females may weigh significantly less. If your male kitten hasn’t yet reached 2.75 kg, you may want to offer more snacks or a higher-calorie food. Many cats will still be at the gangly, “awkward age” stage described above, with the effect more pronounced in male cats.
It’s fine to feed your kitten less frequently at this age. They’re still growing, of course, but three feeds and a few small snacks should be fine. Your kitten should not get more than 10 per cent of his daily calories from snacks and treats.
American Shorthair Weight at Nine Months
By this age, I would definitely want to see at least 3 kg (6 lb 10 oz) when I checked the cat’s weight. 3.5 kg is a useful average but it’s not unknown to see 4 kg (8 lb 13 oz), perhaps even more in some males. Because this is a larger breed, they may get a bit heavier than this without it being a problem.
If you think your cat is getting a bit on the chunky size, run your hands gently over his sides. You should just be able to feel his ribs. If you can’t feel them with a little pressure, you may need to tweak his food.
Offer smaller portions, cut down to two feeds a day, or switch to a brand of food that’s lower in calories and higher in protein. If the cat’s ribs are prominent, on the other hand, you could feed a bit more freely.
If you’ve been giving your young American Shorthair kitten food up to now, you can begin transitioning him onto adult foods. Kitten formulas tend to be higher in fat than adult cat food, with is fine for energetic baby kittens. It’s not necessary for older kittens and adults.
American Shorthair Weight at 10 Months
I’d expect a cat of this breed to be over 3 kg (6 lb 10 oz) by this point, unless you have a fairly small female. 4 kg (8 lb 13 oz) is a common average weight, and some ASH cats can be quite a lot bigger. I have met healthy males of this age who were almost 7 kg.
By 10 months, growth has slowed down a lot. The gangly look has usually started to diminish as your cat puts on muscle. Those distinctive American Shorthair features are starting to be more distinct: round features, a solid build. Your cat will still be leaner and slinkier than he will when he’s fully grown.
American Shorthair Weight at 11 Months
Kittenhood is nearly over by this age. Again, smaller individuals will probably be at least approaching 3 kg (6 lb 10 oz) and larger cats will be over 4 kg (8 lb 13 oz). Weight gain has slowed down now and your cat has achieved most of his adult size, although he’ll continue to fill out.
American Shorthair Weight at One Year
I would expect most American Shorthairs to have achieved 3 kg (6 lb 10 oz). Larger individuals will be well over 4 kg (8 lb 13 oz). I’ve seen some bigger males get to 5 kg or more by this age, without being overweight. It depends on their build. If you’re concerned about your cat being over or underweight, you can bring this up with a veterinary professional. Your cat should be getting regular checkups and will have seen the vet at least twice since you got him as a kitten.
Your cat probably won’t get much longer or taller from now on. I would expect to see a little growth over the net two or three years, as your cat finally attains their full adult stature.
American Shorthair Weight at Three Years
By three years of age, I would expect most ASH cats to have reached at least 3.2 kg (just over 7 lb). It’s not uncommon for larger males to top 7.5 kg (16 lb 9 oz). I would be a little worried if I saw an American Shorthair who’d gone much over this, although some very tall and well-build specimens do get heavier.
Your American Shorthair and Weight
With younger kittens, overweight is much less of a concern than ensuring adequate nutrition. I very seldom see kittens who are overweight — they usually move around too much. Overfeeding is only a problem if the kitten takes on too much food at meals and becomes sick, as this can prevent them from getting the nutrition they need.
It shouldn’t be overly concerning if your ASH ends up at the higher end of the weight range. This is a large breed with a solid, muscular build. If your cat is over 7.7 kg (17 lbs), though, you should think about changing his diet. While large, chubby cats may be cute, that extra weight won’t do his health any favours.
This breed can be quite athletic but they need encouragement once they get past the first year or so. Without your engagement, your American Shorthair may prefer to nap the day away or sit on your lap instead of running, jumping and playing. Use teaser toys and motorised toys to encourage your cat to be more active.
Consult the food manufacturer’s information to find out a healthy amount of food for your cat, and stick to those limits. If he fusses, use treat toys or slow feeding dishes to reduce the rate at which he eats.