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Do cat mothers mourn when their kittens leave?


In the wild, cat mothers often stay with their kittens for a long time - sometimes even with their daughters in large family groups. But what is it like when tame domestic cats have offspring that leave the nest at around 12 weeks of age and move to a new, loving home? Does a cat mother miss her kittens? A cat mother cuddles with her kitten - Shutterstock / AfriramPOE

Cats are often mistaken for loners because unlike dogs, they do not live in packs with a clear hierarchy. You might think that cat mothers don't care much when their kittens leave them. However, this is not entirely true.

When kittens become self-employed

When kittens are around four weeks old, mothers begin to wean them and switch to solid foods. At eight weeks, the kittens are so independent that they can take care of themselves without the help of mothers during the hunt. Her mom also teaches the kittens to use the litter box and keep themselves clean.

However, they learn important social behavior between cats until the twelfth week and benefit from remaining with their cat mother and siblings until then. The kittens can then leave their mother's care and move to their own home.

What do kittens learn from their cat mother?

It is advisable to separate kittens from their cat mother at the age of about twelve weeks, ...

Cat mothers only miss their babies at the beginning

In the beginning, it is a big change for cat mothers when their kittens have left the nest. For a few days, it can look as if the cat mom misses her offspring. She may be looking for her children all over the house, calling for them and making a sad impression. Over time, however, she accepts the new situation, gets used to having the house to herself again, and resumes her usual routine.

As long as the cat family stays together, they develop a group smell that ensures cohesion. A cat mother recognizes her babies by their smell as long as the kittens are with her. When the young come into new families, they absorb different scents and their smell changes. If a cat mother later meets one of her children, she no longer recognizes it as her own baby because it smells different. She then treats it like a strange cat.

In the wild, female cats often stay together

Wild cats differ in this respect from domestic cats. The male kittens usually leave the nest as soon as they are sexually mature in order to find their own territory and go on a bridal show. The cat ladies usually stay together. This creates large groups of cats, within which the females help each other to raise the young, protect them from intruders and other dangers, and keep each other company.

However, that doesn't mean you have to feel guilty about separating kittens and kittens because you can't keep the kittens yourself or because you adopt a kittens. In the wild this family cohesion is important for the survival of the animals; they protect each other, help each other with hunting and kitten care, keep each other warm and clean.

Domestic cats have their human family, which provides them with food, love, care and comfort. Nonetheless, cats - especially in the case of pure housing - are happy about their fellow species. Velvet paws that grew up together and know each other from birth usually get along right away. Cat siblings or mother and child do not have to be brought together carefully. However, unrelated fur noses can get on well after they get used to each other.