Do Cats Remember Their Mothers?

Last updated on January 23rd, 2023 at 02:35 am

Do cats remember their mother? Cats only remember their mothers for a short time. It also depends on the length of time they have been together. If you take them away from her when she is young, they will quickly forget her.
Image Credit: James Johnson/Unsplash

It is natural for cat owners to spend time thinking about all the minor and significant details of their adorable bundle of fur and claws. Most cat owners adopt their cats when they are kittens, but many adults also find new homes. In the animal world, parents devote a significant amount of time to their children in order to provide them with the greatest possible start. Domesticated animals, on the other hand, are frequently separated when their pups are still quite small. That brings us to a question, do cats remember their mother?

Cats only remember their mothers for a short time. It also depends on the length of time they have been together. If you take them away from her when she is young, they will quickly forget her. Cats have a distinct scent that allows them to distinguish from one another, but the kitten will acquire a new aroma in his new home. Many of you have probably had this question at least once in your life. Let’s discover more about these adorable kittens.

Do cats remember their mothers?

Cats do not have the same mother-kitten bonds as human parents do with their children, therefore, cats don’t remember their mothers the same way we do. Because their relationships are not the same as those of humans, their mother-child bond is fundamentally different. Again, cats don’t remember their mother in the same way that people do. The relationship just does not exist.

Cats also utilize scent to recognize and remember one another. Mothers and kittens may continue to recognize each other if they are never separated. This does not imply that cats will behave kindly. The mother will treat the kitten like any other cat once it is about 10 to 12 weeks old. If the cats are separated, they may not recognize each other when reunited. After all, their scent will have changed, causing the cat’s “identity” to shift.

Even if the cats are not separated, their scents will begin to change at the age of 12 weeks. Until then, the kittens spend their time in their nest, where they develop a distinct scent. When the cats stop spending so much time in their nest, this aroma diminishes, and they absorb the scent of their surroundings. It will eventually change sufficiently that the cats will no longer recognize each other as littermates.

Some newborns, however, will remain with their moms until they reach maturity. If the cats keep grooming each other, their scent will become more similar and they will remain friendly. However, it is highly dependent on the disposition of the cats. Some felines, including their mother, will never get along. Other cats may be laid-back and get along with almost everyone.

Scents can also be deceiving

There is no guarantee that cats remember their mother simply because it is accustomed to the smell of their mother. There are times when cats don’t get along with their own mothers, which is a very rare occurrence.

While growing up, a cat is exposed to a variety of new situations, which allows it to pick up a wide variety of scents. The possibility that they will be able to recall the aroma of their mother, which they have only experienced as a young kitten, is extremely remote. If a person only remembers their mother when they were a young child, it is quite unlikely that they or will be able to recall their mother as an adult. To some extent, it’s the same thing with cats.

What do cats remember?

What does a cat remember if they don’t remember their mother? Cats have excellent short-term memory abilities, especially when it comes to food! Their short-term memory comes in handy when recalling where they usually find their prey or cat food.

They are also excellent at remembering when food will be available. Have you ever observed that when you are about to feed your cat, it is already on the mat? That’s because they know when it’s time to eat!

Cats can also recall what has happened to them in the past. Cats tend to remember or even retain grudges in circumstances of maltreatment and neglect. This is why an abused cat may be terrified of persons that are similar to their abuser. For example, if a guy abuses a cat, the cat may not trust other men in the future.

A cat will surely recall memories that have had an impact on his or her existence. These events can be good or bad, but they leave an effect on a cat! Cats remember people who treat and feed them well. If you have a family member that regularly treats your cats, they will remember this! Unfortunately, a cat’s mother is not an easy thing to recall. To put it another way, you probably don’t recall everything that happened to you when you were younger. Even if you were very young, you are more likely to remember something traumatic that happened to you. The same is true for cats!

Do mother cats know who their kittens are?

Several studies have been carried out to determine whether cats have an innate awareness of who their kittens are. The majority of cats will welcome any kitten who suckles on them. You can introduce kittens from multiple mothers to the same mother cat, and she will usually accept them. As a result, cats are unlikely to have a strong intrinsic feeling of kittens are “theirs.” They look after any kittens that happen to be in their nesting box.

Cats usually utilize smell to recognize other cats they know. Kittens who spend time in a particular mother’s nesting box are usually cared for by that mother because they “smell” like her kittens. This is true even if the kittens are not her biological children.

As a result, the mother cat appears to be unaware of which kittens she gave birth to. However, she can tell which kittens are “hers” since they are in her nesting box and smell like it. If any of the kittens go missing, she is likely to notice and search for them. This is not always the case. Cats may be unaware that they have fewer kittens.

If the kittens are kept together and not separated as they develop, the mother may understand they are her offspring. She will not, however, establish the same mother-child attachment that humans do. Cats do not generally create “family” relationships.

How long does a mother cat take to forget her kittens?

It all depends on the circumstances. If the kittens grow up and are weaned, the mother will no longer have the same attachment with them around the age of 12 weeks. This does not necessarily imply that she has forgotten about them; rather, she recognizes that she no longer needs to care for them. She may even be antagonistic to them in specific situations, such as when they lie in her favored spot. If she continues to groom the cats, she may be able to maintain a close relationship with them. At times, she may act as if she is unfamiliar with the kittens. Don’t worry, it’s the same thing for the kitten. Cats remember their mothers due to their scent, but it is possible for them to stay away from their mom after a while.

We can’t really tell if the cat remembers her babies because we can’t question her. She will, however, no longer have the same parenting bond with them. Instead, she’ll start treating them like regular cats, rather than the kittens she gave birth to. This is largely due to the fact that cats do not have the same family bonds that people do.

It is a different scenario if the kittens are separated from their mothers before they are weaned for whatever reason. The mother will frequently search for and call her kittens. This can occur if the kittens die and their bodies are not left for the mother to mourn, or if the kittens are rehomed before they have been properly weaned.

In any case, the mother will recall her kittens for a few days and continue to look for them. She will eventually give up. This will take longer if the kittens are removed before the weaning stage. However, if they are 10 to 12 weeks old, some mothers will only hunt for them for a few days before giving up.

Why do cats get excited when they’re reunited?

There are numerous videos online of cats ecstatic after being reunited with their parents or siblings years later. While it may appear that they know who they are meeting, they are merely delighted to meet a cat who has made a positive impression after years of absence. Cats, including their moms, detect the fragrance of other cats. They frequently link certain behaviors with a scent, some of which are positive and others which are negative. Even if a cat has only happy memories of a specific scent, it may dislike a specific cat as an adult, even if it is its mother.

Do mother cats get depressed when their kittens are taken away?

There is no way to tell how a mother cat feels after her kittens are taken away. We do know that most mothers don’t appear to bother if their kittens are fully weaned. In fact, after 12 weeks, some mother cats may grow antagonistic toward and annoyed with their kittens. Some may continue to brush and cradle a few kittens, usually with other females. This isn’t always the case, and it appears to be determined by the mother cat’s personality.

If the mother is usually friendly with other cats, she is less likely to be violent with her kittens. In any case, once the kittens are weaned at roughly 12 weeks, the mother is less likely to think of them as “her” kittens. If the kittens are taken beyond this point, the mother cat will most likely not notice or care. It is uncommon for the mother to yowl and searches for her kittens after they have been weaned, they may for a few days but not for a long time.

However, whether or not the kittens are taken away before they are weaned is primarily dependent on the mother cat and the age of the kittens. Even if the kittens are taken away when they are very small, some first-time mothers may not show signs of sorrow. She’s not sure how anything is supposed to function yet. Other cats, on the other hand, will be disturbed for days if the kittens are taken away, even if it is only a short time before they are totally weaned.

As we said, if the kittens are only 2-3 weeks old, the cat will usually be disturbed for a long period after they are removed. She could be looking for them for weeks. If the kittens are removed closer to 12 weeks but before they are fully weaned, the mother cat will most likely be upset for a few days. It can be difficult to predict how long the mother cat will be upset. It is primarily determined by the cat’s personality and other aspects that we do not fully comprehend. Some cats may not show any signs of distress with one litter but become extremely distressed with another.

Why do cats treat their owners as if they were their parents?

Cats do not remember their mothers, but pet owners frequently fill in for them in terms of food, housing, and grooming. Cats may begin to treat their owner as a parent, or if you’re unlucky, as a pet of their own as a result of the constant companionship and care! In general, they perceive you as their carer and will express affection towards you in the same manner as a cat parent would.


The answer to if cats remember their mothers is No. Cats do not form the same kinds of family bonds that humans do. Even if a mother cat recalls that another cat was her kitten, after 12 weeks, she will most likely regard them like any other cat. This could imply that the mother gets hostile, or that she keeps grooming a few select kittens. Also, even if cats remember their mothers, that doesn’t imply that they will have a good long-term relationship. It is mostly determined by the cat’s personality. It doesn’t matter if cats remember each other in the end. They don’t have the same bonds as we do and are unlikely to notice that another cat was formerly their kitten.