Do cats forget their siblings?
Do Kittens Remember Siblings?
Although some cats do enjoy the companionship of other cats, unlike dogs, cats are not pack animals. Unless a pair of kitten siblings are raised together, they are not likely to remember or recognize each other after becoming separated. Even a short separation can be enough to make them forget.
Leaving the Litter
Kittens typically are ready to leave the litter and be adopted by eight weeks of age. By this time, a kitten has formed a strong attachment to her mother and litter mates, and may show signs of missing her family after being separated from them. However, it doesn’t take long for a kitten to reattach to her human family and other pets in the house. Once this happens, the kitten usually forgets all about her mother and siblings and adapts to being a part of her new family. If your kitten shows signs of distress at being separated from her litter, you can hasten her reattachment to you by simply responding to her cries and caring for her as her mother would.
Failure to Recognize
Cats rely primarily on scent for recognition. If one cat smells unfamiliar to another cat, regardless of whether they’re related, the unfamiliar-smelling cat will be regarded as a stranger. This is why even two cats who have spent their entire lives together sometimes act like they’ve never met. Even a short trip to another location, like the vet’s office, can be enough to cover a cat in unfamiliar scents that cause other cats in the household to react to her as an invader when you bring her home.
Adopting Kitten Siblings
Even though cats aren’t sentimental about their brothers or sisters, if planning to get two or more cats, it can be a good idea to get them from the same litter. Kitten siblings already have bonded and established a social hierarchy, which might make them less likely to fight. However, sometimes siblings just don’t like each other and refuse to get along. Adopting siblings also brings the risk that both cats will have inherited the same genetic health issues or behavioral problems. You also should be aware of breed temperament when deciding not only whether to adopt siblings, but also multiple cats in general. Some breeds, like the Siamese, generally prefer to be the only cat in the house and might behave aggressively toward another cat regardless of the circumstances.
Dealing with Aggression
When one cat fails to recognize another and either attacks or displays territorial aggression, there are a few things you can do. It’s best to gradually reintroduce cats who have been separated for even a short time. One way to do this is to keep the returning cat in her carrier, either outside or in a separate room. Rub a towel over both cats multiple times to mingle their scents and encourage recognition before bringing in the carrier. The returning cat should remain in the carrier, out of reach, until all of the cats are calm and acting curious toward one another. Before releasing the returning cat, set the carrier on the floor and allow her and the other cats to smell each other. Once no one is displaying any signs of aggression, it should be safe to let the returning cat out, but you should still keep an eye on the situation. If they do fight, it’s best to distract them with loud noise rather than trying to put yourself between fighting cats.
After Being Spayed, Can Cats Still Want to Be a Mother to Kittens? →
Tips on Introducing a New Kitten to Full Grown Cats →
Why Do Cats Hiss At New Kittens or Cats? →
- Petplace.com: Bonding In Cats
- Catster: Should I Choose Two Cats from the Same Litter?
- Gunghalin Veterinary Hospital: Aggression in Cats after Separation
Jean Marie Bauhaus has been writing about a wide range of topics since 2000. Her articles have appeared on a number of popular websites, and she is also the author of two urban fantasy novels. She has a Bachelor of Science in social science from Rogers State University.
Will Kittens Miss Their Siblings – Things To Consider
Kittens are adorable and tons of fun to have in your home. Still, when you first bring a new kitten into your life, you probably have a lot of questions about them and about the kind of life you’re giving them. Like, will kittens miss their siblings?
Yes, kittens will miss their siblings. Cats aren’t pack animals, so they don’t miss their siblings forever and can quickly move on. Your kitten may show some signs of anxiety or distress for the first few days after you bring them home, but they should stop missing their siblings and settle into their new homes within a few days to a few weeks.
Of course, not missing their siblings doesn’t give you the whole story. Here’s everything you need to know about your kitten and their bio-family.
Do Kittens Remember Their Siblings
Kittens remember their siblings for a while for sure, but once they’ve reached a certain age, it’s hard to say. Your kitten may remember their sibling longer than we think, but since we can’t ask them, we can only use their behavior to tell.
Most kittens don’t seem to look for their mother or siblings for more than a couple of weeks after they’ve been separated. Since cats are also naturally independent creatures, it’s assumed that your kitten has probably moved on and no longer misses their siblings around the same time.
Now, that doesn’t mean that your kitten doesn’t remember their siblings or remember that they had siblings. Instead, what most experts think is that it takes a few days to a few weeks for your kitten to get used to their new schedule and form tight bonds with you in place of their family.
If you have other pets, your kitten may also be forming important attachments to those pets that help replace their siblings’ relationships.
After a while, your kitten may forget about its siblings entirely. It seems likely since adult cat siblings rarely seem to recognize one another, but we don’t know for sure. After all, adult cats look and smell pretty different from young kittens, so it may be that they remember each other but don’t know that this is the same individual.
How Long Does It Take For A Kitten To Forget Their Family
Most experts think it takes a few weeks for kittens to forget their families since that’s about when kittens start to act more normally and show their developing personalities more and more. Some kittens may feel comfortable in a new home sooner than that, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve forgotten about their families.
Kittens that like to curl up with fuzzy blankets or stuffed animals may be replacing the sensation of cuddling with their mothers and littermates, for instance, or they may simply be sleeping somewhere that’s comfortable and feels familiar.
It’s unlikely that your kitten remembers their family past that first few weeks. Even if they do remember their littermates and mother, they might not recognize them if they saw them.
Is It Cruel To Separate Kittens From Each Other
Cats are naturally fairly independent creatures. While feral domesticated cats will often den together in large ‘families,’ individual cats can survive independently and don’t need others around. Cats that are used to being solitary usually react badly to seeing another cat in their territory, and even cats that live in groups will react badly to a cat that isn’t part of their group.
With that behavior in mind, no, it’s not considered cruel to separate kittens from one another. The close bonds kittens have with their mother and littermates as kittens would fade some on their own, even if they all stayed together.
However, it is essential to make sure your kitten is developmentally ready to leave their mother and their siblings and that you’re taking your kitten to a home that they have plenty for them to do and plenty of things to keep them entertained and healthy.
Remember that by adopting a kitten, you’re replacing the relationships and environment they would have had without you, so you need to make sure that the environment is as healthy and comfortable as possible.
Is It Better To Have 1 Kitten Or 2
Many people wonder if it’s not better to take home two kittens instead of just one. That can be a good idea in some cases, especially if you don’t want your kitten to lose their connection with its mother or siblings, but it’s a complicated decision.
Kittens need a lot of time and attention. They might not be as demanding as puppies, but your kitten will benefit from more attention from you whenever you can give it. Bringing home two kittens gives them a playmate, but it also means that your time and attention are split between the two of them.
Bringing home two kittens may also be a lot for your other pets to handle, especially any other cats you might have at home. Kittens are high energy and demanding, even for other pets, which means your pets may have difficulty adapting to having two little balls of pure energy around.
So, while there may be some benefits for your kitten from bringing home two kittens, like close companionship and having a developmentally similar animal in the house, it’s a very personal decision.
Think carefully before you decide to bring two kitten’s home. You should consider if you have the time and energy, whether your pets are likely to be able to handle two new kittens, and how you’ll balance their needs so all of your pets get enough attention and care.
Can You Reunite Cat Siblings
Many pet owners think about the possibility of reuniting animals with their previous families. But the truth is, not only is this difficult to do, but cats also usually don’t appreciate the gesture.
We aren’t 100% sure if cats react badly to being reunited because they don’t remember each other or because the relationship has changed, or because it takes time to recognize one another. Still, most cats are pretty upset to meet their siblings again after a time apart.
We even know someone who reintroduced their cats after being separated when they were rescued from the hurricanes in Puerto Rico. The cats were brothers and had been raised together since they were kittens. But even in the six months between when the cats were separated and when they were brought back together, they had gotten used to being apart.
While those brothers are close and act like siblings again now, it took months of slowly reintroducing them and intervening in fights to help them rebuild their relationship.
So, while reuniting cat siblings can be done, we don’t typically recommend it. That said, you can introduce siblings to each other the same way you introduce cats that have never met. Just don’t expect that you’ll get a super close relationship between your pets every time.
Do Kittens Forget Their Mother
We’ve mostly talked about kitten’s siblings, but what about their other family member, their mother? You have to remember that cat dads pretty much aren’t in the picture when it comes to raising them. Male cats can be dangerous for kittens in some situations, especially when they are very young.
Like kitten siblings, we aren’t sure how long a kitten remembers their mother. They may remember their mother a little longer than their siblings, primarily since their mother interacts with them more directly when they are young, but we don’t know for sure.
We do know that cats usually stop looking for their mothers and show signs of separation anxiety about the same time they stop looking for their siblings.
That may be because the kitten is comfortable in their new home, even without their mother, or because they’ve started to lose the mother-kitten bond.
Things To Consider
A lot of people treat their kittens like they’ve replaced their mother. The truth is a little more complicated. Cats are unlikely to see their owners as parental figures more than equals. So, while you are responsible for taking care of your kitten, like their mother, you shouldn’t think that you’re replacing that relationship directly.
Instead, you should help your kitten feel safe, fulfilled, and taken care of in other ways. Sure, you provide food and comfort to your kitten, but you should also be their playmate, and you should help them learn to explore and be curious.
Remember that bringing home a kitten is a lot more complicated than you might think, and it’s essential to be prepared to support everything your kitten might need.
My name is James, and welcome to FAQCats!
Along with our team of cat owners, expert pet enthusiasts, and pet professionals, we aim to write engaging helpful, engaging content about cats. At FAQCats we strive to provide content that’s accurate and fun to read. Our team writes about everything related to cats; even the most complex of topics. Through extensive research and caring for our own fur-pals, we’re able to provide something cat owners worldwide will love. Have a look around, and leave us feedback anytime!