Recently, Zombie Kitty became a mom to 4 beautiful Zombie Kittens. The runt ended up dying after a few days, with left us with 2 ginger kittens and a black and white kitten. I've been watching Bones with her babies for the last few weeks, and realized that there's much to be learned from a Mama Cat.
- When the kids are hungry, feed them. I have watched the Zombie Kittens run up to Mama Bones and tackle her to the ground to nurse. At first she used to fight them for a few minutes. Understandably so, considering she just fed them an hour ago. But considering there are 3 of them and 1 of her, they band together and get what they want, quite aggressively at times. So, she's now learned that, if the kids are hungry, she better not argue.
- If the kids are in danger, it's perfectly acceptable to pick them up immediately and move them. I wouldn't recommend carrying them by the back of their necks in your mouth to do so, but whatever works, right? Mama Bones had 3 different hiding places for her kittens while they were still young. And when they started becoming mobile, she would pick them up, yes, by the back of their necks, and take them back to the hiding spot for protection. It just reminded me that yes, I'm bigger than my kids, and yes, I can use force if necessary.
- If the kids are fighting, leave them be. They'll work it out eventually. As I type this post today, I have a pile of ginger and black and white fir next to me on the couch biting each other's ears and putting their paws up to fight. Where's Mama Bones? Asleep in the kitchen floor. The Zombie Kittens aren't killing themselves, so, until it comes to that, just let the kids be kids.
- Let the kids explore. We live in a small apartment, but the kittens have now covered just about every inch of it. Mama Bones sits back, usually on top of a chair or a coffee table for a better view, and lets them explore. Those tools over there in the bucket are pointy? Go ahead, you'll only sniff it once. That ottoman that you just had to climb? Go ahead and figure a way down from that since you didn't want to listen when I told you it was too high. If the kittens are in danger, Mama Bones will revert to #2 above, but if they aren't in danger, she figures let them learn things for themselves.
- Sometimes only a Mom will do. Bones usually lets the kittens play whenever they want to. She'll watch, sleep, go eat, head to the litter box, have her Mommy Time. But then one certain meow from one of the kittens, and she's hauling ass back into the room. We humans in the house know that meow by now, too. We know that's the 'I want my Mommy' meow, and it doesn't matter if we try and cuddle them, or see what's wrong, they just want their Mommy. And she knows it, too, so we just back off and let her cuddle her babies.
I'd love to hear of any other things you all have learned from Mama Cats or Mama Dogs. Hell, Mama Gerbils, Mama Ferrets, Mama Horses, Mama Llamas (okay, I'm 30 years old and that just made me giggle)... I don't discriminate.