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Do Cats Remember Their Siblings And Do They Miss Them?

Do Cats Remember Their Siblings And Do They Miss Them?

The first individuals every kitten interacts with are their mother and siblings. Feline siblings are able to recognize each other by their shared scent.

However, most of them will be separated and will grow up in different places. Some of them might encounter their littermates later on in their lives. Is it possible for them to still be able to recognize each other even if some time passes?

Do cats remember their siblings? Do they miss them? Or is this perhaps too much to expect from cats? After all, they don’t have the same emotions people have for their parents and their brothers and sisters.

Let’s learn more about this rather interesting topic.

Are Cats Able Of Remembering Their Siblings?

cat licking other cat on the grass

A cat’s memory is fascinating to observe.

According to PetMD, a cat’s ability and willingness to remember something depend on the initial impact that the memory had on them.

For example, a cat might keep a memory of something based on its significance and meaning it has for her. Cats are likely to remember important information, especially ones with emotional content for a longer period of time.

They most likely don’t forget their owners, especially when they make strong bonds with them and associate them with pleasurable memories. But, what about their siblings?

Siblings feel comfortable with each other, since they nap, eat, and play together. Therefore, they’ll treat each other differently than other cats.

However, once they are separated, they are prone to forget their siblings, and their siblings may become strangers to them.

The bond between kitten siblings is very strong, but, as soon as they are separated, even for just a couple of weeks, this bond usually gets lost.

Kittens siblings that are separated early in their life aren’t able to recognize each other anymore by their scent, since they will develop completely different smells. Once they meet again, they will be complete strangers.

Why Do Kittens Forget Their Siblings?

Kittens forgetting their siblings might seem sad to us, since brothers and sisters are, for most people, one of the most important people in their lives.

Well, our furry companions are rather different. They don’t really have any reason to remember their littermates once they have been weaned from their mothers.

When this happens, they’re ready to meet the world on their own, and don’t really need their siblings.

This is entirely natural in the feline world, just as it’s natural for a mother cat to care for her kittens during their first few weeks of life and then let them explore the outside world independently.

At What Age Should Kitten Siblings Be Separated?

Small gray kitten licks ear of tabby kitten

In general, kittens can be separated from their siblings around the age of 5 to 7 weeks, which is the period when most of them are weaned, and capable of eating and drinking water on their own.

However, it would be beneficial for kittens to stay with their siblings at least until they’re 12 weeks old. Cats are independent, but they also thrive on interaction – both from humans and other cats.

Sandra Martínez-Byer and her associates [1] emphasize how the presence of the mother and siblings is an important component of a cat’s early developmental environment.

If a kitten lacks these social influences, this can have long-lasting effects on her physiological and behavioral development.

Socialization is especially important for young kittens, therefore, they will benefit from spending as much time as possible with their siblings.

They learn important skills from each other, like how to play together and grooming techniques. This is likely to positively affect their relationships with other pets in their future homes.

Take a look at the video below showing adorable kittens siblings playing together.

At times, kittens will be playing normally, while, at some moments you might see them pouncing at each other, or chasing each other. They are also likely to hug and groom each other.

This is crucial for them to learn typical cat behaviors and communication.

Do Cats Miss Their Siblings?

Shortly after they have been separated from their mother and siblings, kittens are likely to miss them and to suffer from separation anxiety.

The Metropolitan Veterinary Center explains how some of the most common signs of separation anxiety in cats are excessive meowing, excessive self-grooming, trying to escape, and showing destructive behavior.

However, when the new owner provides the kitten with good care and she begins to feel secure in her new home, the kitten is likely to quickly adjust to her new surroundings and gradually forget about her siblings.

The kitten will develop deep bonds with her new family, meaning that she most likely won’t miss her siblings.

Interesting Read: 8 Signs Your New Cat Is Adjusting Well To Her Surroundings

Final Thoughts

two cats licking each other

Do cats remember their siblings?

Most likely not, especially if they have been separated early in life. In the beginning, the kitten will remember and even miss its siblings, but, with time passing, it will get used to the new surroundings and will forget its siblings.

Kittens that are born and raised together recognize each other by smell. Company of their littermates is essential for a kitten’s socialization in the first couple of weeks of their lives.

Later on, their smells will become different, and they won’t recognize each other. They will become like any other unfamiliar cats.

This is something completely normal in a cat’s world, since their memory and emotions are completely different from humans.

You might also want to read whether kittens remember their mother. Catch you there!


[1] Martínez-Byer, S. et. al. Effects of early social separation on the behaviour of kittens of the domestic cat, Applied Animal Behaviour Science, Volume 259, 2023, DOI, Retrieved August 21, 2023.

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