2001-Fri Feb 24 01:19:55 MST 2017
Vetstreet. All rights reserved.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
There are only two cat species in which the females raise their young together: the lion and the domestic cat, Bradshaw says. Lions live in prides where the females care for their cubs together. Similarly, when cats are living outdoors on their own, three or four females will put their kittens in one nest that they all defend. The mother cats will also go out hunting and bring back food that they allow all of the kittens to eat. Breeders and rescuers can make use of this behavior by putting orphaned kittens or those whose mothers are short of milk with another nursing female. "What they're taking advantage of is the fact that mother cats basically don't seem to recognize their own kittens, which is unusual," Bradshaw says.
However, the social lives of domestic cats and lions differ on the male side. "In lions, the males also cooperate," Bradshaw says. "It's virtually unheard of for male domestic cats to cooperate." Although we think of there being one male lion in charge, Bradshaw says that actually a pride includes a group of males, usually closely related to each other but not to the females. "The reason they are in a group is to defend those females from other groups of males," he says. That defense is important to the survival of the pride; when a new group of males takes over, Bradshaw says, "the first thing they do is kill all the cubs. [The new males] know they're not theirs, because they've only just arrived, and they want to get the females breeding again as soon as possible so they can produce offspring of their own."
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Get all the best pet news and information sent right to your inbox!
Thank you for subscribing!
Dogs and cats help improve our mental,
social and physical health — and we
have the science to prove it!
We asked our readers to share the funny
things and skillful tricks their dogs will do
to get Milk-Bone® Pill…
It’s more than just cute when your kitty
naps in a box — it’s an instinctive
behavior that’s hardwired in her…
Herding dog, search-and-rescue dog, guide dog, police dog, farm dog — you name it, the German Shepherd can do it.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.