Do cats commonly adopt kittens?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by shelljo, May 16, 2005.

  1. shelljo

    shelljo Well-Known Member Supporter

    Feb 1, 2005
    SW KS--Cowboy country
    I've had cats forever, but never have I seen this!

    We have one momma cat that's a barn cat, but is tame. She had kittens 5-6 weeks ago, lost all but one 3 weeks ago. This weekend, I found her in the barn with 3-4 week old kittens. She was nursing them! Now, these aren't even orphen kittens, their momma is still there, cause I saw her nurse them later in the day, but the tame momma is with them most of the time, as is her kitten.

    I've never seen such a thing. Is this common? Rare? Or just plain weird?
  2. WanderingOak

    WanderingOak Well-Known Member

    Jul 12, 2004
    New York
    From what I understand, this is quite natural behaviour for cats. Animal behaviourists have studied colonys of feral cats, and have found communal childrearing to be quite common.

  3. puglady

    puglady Well-Known Member

    Aug 24, 2002
    central IL
    This spring we had two cats that had litters a week apart. There is one kitten left -- we have given all the others away -- and she nurses off both mothers, and they both clean her.
  4. Cygnet

    Cygnet Well-Known Member Supporter

    Sep 13, 2004
    Middle of nowhere along the Rim, Arizona
    The feed store where I shop finally got her spayed, but for a few years they had a 'feed store cat' who in addition to her own litters regularly adopted whatever orphan or stray kittens people brought in. This included kittens only enough to be on their own -- mama kitty didn't care, if it mewed, it was hers. :) She drew the line at orphan puppies, though.

    I also have a SPAYED female cat who has never had kittens of her own -- never even been in heat, as she was spayed at six months -- who adopts kittens. She can't feed 'em, but she can clean them and "mother" them.

  5. BamaSuzy

    BamaSuzy Well-Known Member

    May 10, 2002
    I did a newspaper article about 15 years ago about a mama cat who had three or four kittens and she "adopted" a baby rabbit that this family had was really something to see and back then I had a photo of the three kittens and little bunny all nursing at the same time....

    I think they eventually turned the wild bunny back out into the woods....

    So I guess mama kitties who are good mamas often aren't picky! And I guess it depends on the mama cat as well...her personality.
  6. shilshole

    shilshole Well-Known Member

    Apr 10, 2005
    Our male cat adopted a kitten. Came home one day and there he is with an about six week old female kitten. She would nurse on him for hours and they continued this way until she was hit by a car 2 years later .
  7. momanto


    Jan 14, 2005
    When Our Mama Cat Had Kittens In My Closet The Boy Kitty We Had Would Run In There To Look At Them. I Constantly Ran Him Out Of There. As The Kittens Got Older, I Was Sitting In My Fav. Chair Reading And I Looked Up. There Was Mama Cat W/ One Of Her Babies Grooming It. And There Was Boy Kitty W/one Of The Babies Grooming It. He Would Watch And If The Mama Moved The Leg Of Hers He Would Move The Leg Of The One He Was Tending To. His Name Was Baby Stinks. When He Turned Into A Man He Tried To Mate One Of Those And I Found A Nice Neighbor Who Wanted A Boy Cat To Take Him Home With Them.