do cats forget their kittens

Studies have shown that cats have good long-term memory, and they are able to remember people and places for several years. However, when it comes to their kittens, the evidence is less clear. Some experts believe that cats do remember their kittens, while others believe that they do not.

Do Cats Remember Their Siblings?

There is no way to tell if a cat truly remembers its siblings because we cannot ask them. Still, cats typically treat their siblings the same as other cats. This is particularly true if they were split up and later got back together. The cats’ reactions to being reunited can range from hostile to indifferent, depending on their personalities.

The one exception is if the kittens are kept together. After being weaned, some kittens keep grooming and cuddling with one another. Because they both have the same scent, they will stay friends.

do cats forget their kittens

How Long Does a Mother Cat Remember Her Kittens?

The length of time a mother cat remembers her kittens is disputed, cats have a memory that’s able to recall events from many years ago (up to ten years) 1. Cats rely on memory to remember favorable hunting, hiding, nesting, and breeding areas. Therefore, a cat’s ability to remember that she had kittens is probably intact well after they’re gone.

But cats have to wean their kittens due to hormonal triggers, and once they do, they seem to lose interest in them within weeks and stop treating them like family, treating them more like regular cats.

Nonetheless, this does not imply that a cat forgets about her kittens. Rather, she most likely simply handles them like any other cat out of instinct. This is because, if they are separated from their littermates and reunited before they are weaned, cats will promptly identify and tend to their lost kittens.

From a survival standpoint, domestic cats must be able to separate from motherhood; they must be able to procreate when circumstances permit. This explains why a lot of cats will mate with their siblings or offspring if the chance arises, as most species—including cats—have an innate need to procreate rather than a choice. Additionally, if cats decide to give up on their kittens because they don’t think they are healthy enough, having the ability to treat them like total strangers will come in handy.

Sometimes, even after they have been weaned, females of certain wild cat species will remember their female offspring and allow them to stay in their home range. Naturalists have reported seeing this behavior occasionally in tigers, leopards, and cheetahs. Once they reach adulthood, female cubs and their moms frequently share a home range and engage in peaceful interactions, though they generally try to avoid one another. On the other hand, once they are weaned, male cubs typically venture far from their mother’s territory.

Consequently, even though cats may be able to recall their kittens, it may not seem as though they do since, after they are weaned, they no longer regard them as such.

Do Mother Cats Know Who Their Kittens Are?

Whether cats have an innate sense of who their kittens are has been the subject of numerous studies. Most cats accept any kitten that suckles on them. If you bring kittens from different moms to the same mother cat, she will usually accept them. Cats most likely don’t have a strong sense of which kittens are “theirs” at birth. “They tend to the kittens that are inside their nesting box.”

On the other hand, cats usually use scent to identify familiar cats. Because they “smell” like the mother’s kittens, kittens who spend time in her nesting box are typically given special attention by the mother. This is true even if the kittens aren’t biologically hers.

As a result, the mother cat is unaware of which kittens she produced. Still, there’s a way to tell which kittens are “hers” because of how they smell and which ones are in her nesting box. She’ll probably notice if any kittens vanish and search for them.

However, that isn’t always true. Sometimes, cats don’t realize that they have fewer kittens. If the kittens are raised together and not separated, the mother might eventually identify them as her own. But she won’t experience motherhood and childhood in the same way that humans do. Cats typically don’t form “family” bonds.

do cats forget their kittens

FAQ

How long do mom cats remember their kittens?

If the kittens grow up and are weaned, the mother will stop having the same relationship with them when they are around 12 weeks old. That doesn’t necessarily mean that she has forgotten them, only that she knows she doesn’t need to take care of them anymore.

Do cats get sad when their kittens are taken away?

Yes, cats can feel sad when their kittens are given away. Mother cats form strong bonds with their kittens, and they may experience a range of emotions when they are separated, including sadness, grief, and anxiety. However, it is important to note that cats do not experience emotions in the same way that humans do.

Do cats feel the loss of their kittens?

Mother cats can grieve for varying lengths of time when a kitten goes missing. The grieving process can depend on the individual cat and her bond with the missing kitten. Some mother cats may exhibit signs of grief, such as vocalizing, searching, or showing changes in behavior, for several days or even weeks.

Do cats remember themselves as kittens?

Do cats remember being kittens? Studies suggest that they do. One of these studies is the 2008 study that was published in the “Developmental Psychobiology” journal and shows that cats are able to remember their experiences from when they were still kittens.