Mother/offspring bond?

rad65

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I was looking at a picture thread today where the OP had a mother kitten and her offspring who were seperated for months, and they no longer recognized each other. I know mothers tend to push their kittens away at a certain age so the kittens can start to fend for themselves and find their own territory. I am wondering what happens when the kitten stays in the same house as its mother into adulthood? Has anyone here kept a kitten that one of their cats had? I'm mostly wondering if the mother cat and her kitten are aware of their relationship when the kitten is grown up (maybe aware is pushing it, but do they still act like mother and kitten with grooming, mother scruffing the kitten, etc), if they start to act like any other two cats sharing an environment, or if the mother and her kittens actually don't get along at all beyond a certain age.

I know it's going to be different in each case, but I was hoping for some insights into personal experiences. Oh, and FYI, I am not in this position (both my cats are male), I just tend to be very curious about odd things.
 

momofmany

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Just caught this post and sorry no one has responded thus far.

My only experience with mother/child relationships have been with feral cats. You are correct, the mom cat will push their kittens away after a while, however, their relationships are different depending on the sex of the kitten and whether or not they have been fixed.

In a natural environment, cat colonies will tend to be mostly female, with a male or two to drive away competition. When kittens reach maturity, males are driven out and females are allowed to remain. The females of the colony will care for all kittens, and if they don't cooperate in this way, it is possible that they are also driven out. Males will form their own "coalitions" away from the female colony and those coalitions tend towards related males.

When you introducing spay/neuter into the mix, the order within the colony changes. Lead males are not important, as they aren't competing for the honored father spot. If you catch the kittens early enough and have the mother spayed, the instinct to drive the male kittens out of the colony diminishes. The mom loses her drive to keep reproducing, therefore she doesn't need to push the kittens away. However, when you see colonies like this (I cared for one for years), the females, including mother/daughters, still tend to socialize with each other and with other females where they get along. The males don't necessarily wander off, but they also don't necessarily interact closely with others unless they have the personality of a snuggly cat. By socialization, I mean mutual grooming, sleeping in cat piles, and sometimes sharing prey.

Even though cats have a reputation of being solitary creatures, domestic cats share a lot of the cooperative behavior of lions. To be able to cooperate, they need to be social with each other.
 

kylew

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Franklin & Franny are not biological mother & son. Because Franklin's mother could not nurse him, Franny did. They were then apart for 9 months. When I brought Franny home, I can't say they remembered each other, but they (re)bonded almost instantly.
 

sugarcatmom

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I have a mom and her 2 sons and they get along fabulously. Very tight bond between all 3. The only time they've been apart was when they were speutered. Even when momma went into heat (3 or 4 times before she was spayed. Oy!), she showed no animosity towards her kittens. Here's a recent pic of them snuggling:

 
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