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Kitten vs. Cat: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on November 25, 2023
A kitten is a young cat, typically under one year old, known for its playful and curious nature, while a cat refers to a fully grown domestic feline.

Key Differences

A kitten is a young domestic cat, usually under one year old, characterized by its small size and playful behavior. A cat, in contrast, is a fully grown domestic feline, larger and often less playful than a kitten.
Kittens are known for their rapid growth and development, experiencing significant physical and behavioral changes in their first year. While, adult cats have reached their full size and have a more established behavior pattern.
In terms of care, kittens require more attention, training, and socialization to develop into well-adjusted adult cats. However, adult cats generally need less supervision but require ongoing care and attention to maintain their health.
The diet of a kitten differs from that of an adult cat, with kittens needing more protein and nutrients to support their growth. Whereas, adult cats have different nutritional requirements, focusing on maintaining their health and weight.
In terms of social behavior, kittens are highly curious and seek to explore their environment, often learning through play. Adult cats may be less exploratory but can still enjoy play and often develop deeper bonds with their owners.

Comparison Chart


Under one year old
Fully grown, over one year old


Small, growing
Larger, fully grown


Playful, curious, learning
Less playful, established behavior

Care Requirements

High, needs training and socialization
Lower, focused on health maintenance

Nutritional Needs

High protein, nutrients for growth
Balanced diet for health, weight maintenance

Kitten and Cat Definitions


A small, juvenile cat, known for its playful antics.
The little kitten climbed up the curtains curiously.


A fully grown domestic feline, often kept as a pet.
The cat curled up in a sunny spot for a nap.


A term for a young feline, often learning through play.
The kitten pounced on a toy mouse, practicing its hunting skills.


An adult domesticated feline, known for its independent nature.
The cat roamed its territory with confidence.


A junior cat, requiring care and training.
The kitten learned to use the litter box with some guidance.


A mature house cat, typically over one year old.
The family's cat watched the birds from the window.


A baby cat, characterized by rapid growth and development.
The family's new kitten quickly adapted to its home.


An adult pet cat, known for its hunting skills and agility.
The cat skillfully caught a mouse in the garden.


A young domestic cat, typically under one year old.
The kitten chased its tail in a playful manner.


A term for a domestic feline, often a beloved pet.
The cat responded to its name when called.


A young cat.


A small domesticated carnivorous mammal (Felis catus), kept as a pet and as catcher of vermin, and existing in a variety of breeds.


One of the young of various other small felines and of certain other mammals, such as beavers.


Any of various other carnivorous mammals of the family Felidae, including the lion, tiger, leopard, and lynx.


To bear kittens.


(Informal) A woman who is regarded as spiteful.


A young cat, especially before sexual maturity (reached at about seven months).


A young rabbit, rat, hedgehog, squirrel, fox, beaver, badger, etc.


A moth of the genus Furcula.


(colloquial) A term of endearment, especially for a woman.


To give birth to kittens.


A young cat.


To bring forth young, as a cat; to bring forth, as kittens.


Young domestic cat


Have kittens;
Our cat kittened again this year


How does a kitten's behavior differ from a cat's?

Kittens are more playful and curious, while adult cats have more settled behavior.

What is a kitten?

A kitten is a young cat, typically under one year old.

What are the dietary needs of a kitten compared to a cat?

Kittens require a diet rich in protein and nutrients for growth, while adult cats need a balanced diet for maintenance.

Can adult cats still be playful?

Yes, adult cats can be playful, but generally less so than kittens.

How long do cats typically live?

Cats typically live around 12-15 years, though some can live longer.

How do cats communicate?

Cats communicate through vocalizations, body language, and behavior.

Can kittens be trained?

Yes, kittens can be trained in basic behaviors and litter box use.

At what age do kittens become cats?

Kittens are considered adult cats at about one year old.

What defines a cat?

A cat is a fully grown domestic feline, typically over one year old.

Do kittens require more care than adult cats?

Yes, kittens require more care, including training and socialization.

Are kittens more social than adult cats?

Kittens are often more social as they are learning and exploring.

How do kittens play?

Kittens play by chasing, jumping, and exploring objects and their environment.

Can kittens be left alone for long periods?

It's not advisable to leave kittens alone for long periods, as they need supervision and interaction.

What are some common behaviors of kittens?

Common kitten behaviors include playful chasing, pouncing, and exploring.

Are cats good pets for families?

Yes, cats can be excellent pets for families, depending on the family’s lifestyle.

Do cats form bonds with their owners?

Yes, cats often form strong bonds with their owners.

What should be considered when adopting a kitten?

Consider the kitten’s care needs, personality, and the time commitment required.

How do adult cats show affection?

Adult cats show affection by purring, nuzzling, and spending time near their owners.

Do all cats hunt?

Most cats have an instinct to hunt, but not all actively do so, especially indoor cats.

Do cats need regular veterinary care?

Yes, both kittens and cats need regular veterinary check-ups.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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