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Do Cats Remember Their Mothers?

Cats make excellent moms. They train their kittens to hunt and instruct them on the ways of the feline world. As long as the kittens are members of the same community, they will continue to do so.

However, if moms are taken from their kittens, they will rapidly forget their scent and become strangers.

Cats utilize fragrance rather than eyesight to identify one another, and a cat's scent can change rapidly if it is moved or given a new home.

Please continue reading "Do Cats Remember Their Mothers?" on BestForPets (bestforpets.org) for further facts that you might be surprised to know.

Cats & Their Litters

Cats can have kittens as early as six months of age, however this is a fairly young age for a cat to become a mother. Once a female cat achieves sexual maturity, she will enter heat approximately every two weeks during the season, which lasts from early spring to early autumn.

The gestation cycle of a cat is 64 days, and a litter can contain anything from one to twelve kittens, with four being the norm. The biggest litter ever recorded has 19 kittens.

Once a cat has given birth, she is referred to as a “queen” and will enter heat while still nursing her last litter.

How Long Does a Mother Cat Remember Her Kittens?

Depending on their social or family position, the amount of time a mother cat recalls her kittens varies. If the group continues to live together, the female cat will always remember her children and will continue to act maternally towards them. She may continue to provide goodies and care for her young.

However, if the young are separated from their mother, she will often forget their scent within a few weeks. This has been noticed by owners who have returned kittens to their moms at a later age, as well as in cases when the kittens continue to reside near the mother, but not in the same house.

Do Cats Think You're Their Mother?

Cats exhibit their human companions a degree of devotion and affection that they normally save for their mother. Consequently, many cat owners assume that their cat views them as their mother.

Behaviorists and veterinarians feel that although cats do not consider us to be their moms, they treat us with the same respect and affection as their mothers. They treat us like they would their mother cats, recognizing our potential as carers and loving family members.

Do Father Cats Know Their Kittens?

Not least among their amazing qualities is their mating behavior. A litter of kittens may have numerous fathers, with each kitten having the possibility of having a different father. This is what allows each kitten in a litter to have a unique appearance. It also indicates that male cats are unlikely to be able to identify which kitten in a litter is theirs.

Male cats that remain with their kittens may attempt to protect and care for them. However, they are just as likely to disregard the kittens.

Do Cats Get Sad When You Give Away Their Kittens?

Kittens often leave their moms at around 12 weeks of age. The kitten should be weaned onto solid meals at this point. In most cases, they will have also begun to learn how to use a litter box and may have picked up other behaviors from their mother.

It is also usual for the mother cat to experience some sadness as her kittens leave for the first time. This will result in her scouring the residence for her kittens. She may meow and make other sounds in an attempt to elicit a response from her kittens.

This response may appear distressing, but it often only lasts two or three days. It is natural for the mother to move on fast, since this enables the newborn kittens to live independently and rear their own litters.

Tips To Help A New Kitten Settle In

Although a mother cat may miss her kittens for just two or three days, the kittens may be melancholy for several days following separation. Try the following techniques to avoid a new kitten from being too distressed for too long:

  • Mom’s Smell – Cats know one another by their sense of smell rather than their sense of sight. Bring a blanket or article of clothing that smells like your kitten’s mother if feasible. They will be able to detect their mother’s scent and may view the bed or other object as a substitute. Eventually, they will release go of the blanket.
  • Offer a Quiet Area – For a kitten, the entire event might be rather overwhelming. In addition to being removed from their mother and littermates, they are transferred to a new home and exposed to many new people, animals, sights, sounds, and scents. Provide them with a peaceful escape, such as a nice blanket or a bed.
  • Adopt Multiple Kittens from the Same Litter – Adopting two or more kittens from the same litter might help lessen the separation. Siblings will often get along, and they will know one another when you bring them home for the first time. You should strive to prevent the two from developing such a deep attachment that they develop separation anxiety, and you should be prepared for the possibility that they will not get along as they age.
  • Be Understanding – Above all, be understanding. Your new kitten must manage with separation from its family as well as a whole new environment. Ensure that they are fed and watered, that they have a nice place to sleep, and that they have familiar odors and even littermates to ease the adjustment.


As long as they reside in the same home or town, cats remember their moms. However, data shows that a cat and its mother will lose the ability to distinguish each other’s scent after a few weeks of being separated.

The article from BestForPets (bestforpets.org) should have covered any concerns you had about “Do Cats Remember Their Mothers?” and related topics. Thank you for reading!

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Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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