If you’ve been lucky enough to foster a mom cat with kittens or orphaned kittens, you may have been curious about some of their endearing behaviors. What kitten behaviors, in addition to these listed in our Tuesday Tips, have you wondered about or observed?
Did you know that kittens start purring when they are just 2 days old? They purr to persuade their mothers to continue nursing them. Mom keeps them well fed so they purr and sleep instead of crying, which would attract predators.
Have you seen kittens wiggling their tiny, unfolded ears in rhythm to their suckling when they’re nursing? It’s not only adorable, it means that they are suckling successfully.
Isn’t it interesting that 3-day-old kittens have already developed a preference for a particular nipple or nipples and will forcefully kick and scratch their littermates to defend their favorite nipples? It was thought that the preference for nipples was related to better quality milk from certain mammary glands. However, this is not the case. It seems to have more to do with the smell of their preferred nipples.
Did you realize that young kittens also have a preference when it comes to which front paw they use to explore their world? Forty percent are either right-pawed or left-pawed. Females are more likely to be right-pawed; males left-pawed. Some kittens are ambidextrous.
Ever wondered how kittens in the same litter can look so different? It’s because female cats (also rabbits and ferrets) are induced ovulators, which means their ovaries release eggs during the act of mating. A female cat may mate with several male cats over a period of 4-6 days when she’s in heat, which means her eggs can be fertilized by more than one male cat.
Felines are fascinating, no matter their age. But, nothing is cuter than kittens!