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Why does mother cat move only one kitten


Why does mother cat move only one kitten per day? Is this just for the health of the family? Why do you think the first kitten she sees is always the weakest of the litter?

-Maggie

Dear Maggie,

This is an excellent question, Maggie. I was surprised to learn that mother cats don’t move their kittens from the birth spot every day. The reason is that it’s not good for the kitten’s immune system, because it’s a much easier place to catch a virus or bacteria. I have also heard of situations where mom is trying to keep the other kittens at a distance and will not pick up one of them to move, but I have never witnessed that.

In addition to this, I think mother cats are protective of their kittens for a couple of reasons. For one, mother cats don’t have to be worried about food or shelter, so they want to give their kittens a head start at life. I know I have seen mother cats, and even one cat I knew, who would protect their kittens and chase off any cat who came too close to them and their kittens. As for kittens who are not the strongest, mother cats may be trying to move them from a position of weakness to a position of strength. Mother cats may also be trying to do this for the health of the family. For example, I remember years ago, there was a family of four cats, and one had kittens. The other three cats stayed with their mother cat for a while, but then left. She wasn’t with them anymore, and neither was her litter. The three remning cats were the last ones the mother cat had seen, so it is possible that she left to protect the health of the family.

Hi! My name is Amanda and I live in Northern Idaho with my boyfriend and 3 cats. I am trying to teach my cats some tricks in exchange for treats, but they are very smart cats!

-Amanda

Dear Amanda,

This is a tough one! My guess is that it’s more of a “who does this family” than a trick question. It would be very easy to teach a cat tricks, but I think that cats are smart enough that they will work it out pretty quickly that they can get more food by being obedient.

When it comes to tricks, one of my cats, a young male named Oliver, is really quite skilled and always gets food for his efforts. I have noticed that the trickier the trick, the better Oliver does, but I do wonder if he has figured out that it’s not about getting a treat but the reward of having his way.

I think I know what you mean, Amanda. It’s not just “who does this family” but “who’s doing this?” It’s so funny when I walk down the hallway and hear, “I’ll let you know if that door opens or not,” or “No, you stay down there. I’m not going to do any more tricks.” When my cat, who is named Snack, is doing a trick, I can tell because I’ll get the feeling that I’m going to get food right away. I just hope that’s not the case with Oliver. I will have to keep watching him!

A lot of times, tricks are something you can’t just ask the cat to do. For example, one of my cats, a male named Duke, always gets food for doing tricks. If I ask him to play with his toys, he’ll just ignore me and take off running. If I put his favorite toys in a particular location on my lap, he will find the toy and sit on it to play. I have not been able to figure out how he figured out that it’s supposed to be his toy.

Another question I’ve thought about is, if you have a cat who is a “trickster,” how do you trn your cat to stop doing the tricks? I have found that some cats seem to just become “trick” cats who do the tricks as a game.

Hi Amanda,

My name is Lisa and I live in northern Indiana with my husband and two cats. I do trning and I know tricks are fun for a cat, but I believe the best thing you can do is teach them that what you want them to do is more rewarding than the food. I have trned my cats to do everything from rolling over to shaking hands (I taught my first cat, a female, to do both). If I have an item that I know is particularly fun for my cat, I try to put it in their line of sight and give them the option of either doing the trick or getting the reward. If they choose the reward, I will give them a little something extra.

In general, you have to be consistent with your trning. I always start trning my cats in the mornings and try to teach them a new trick every other day. If they seem to have their mind made up to perform a trick, you will probably not be able to change their mind.

It would be hard for you to trn your cat to stop doing a trick, because they seem to enjoy doing the trick more than getting a treat. They may learn to stop doing it, but they may just do it every time you ask them to.

Hi, my name is Amanda, and I live in northern Idaho with my boyfriend, 3 cats, and a dog. I’ve been a cat owner for over 20 years. I currently live in the suburbs, but I grew up in rural Idaho.

-Amanda

Dear Amanda,

I am glad you asked! I grew up in rural Idaho, too, and you don’t get the sense that I really know what it is like to live in a city. One of the reasons I was interested in this question was because I thought there would be something about the rural environment that might influence the answers. I didn’t


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