The social lives of animals can often seem confusing to humans.
They have families in the same way we do, they make friends whether it be within their species or outside, and they seem to remember each other even after long periods of separation.
Cats are fairly social animals who are some of the best companions seen throughout human history.
But if you’ve ever owned a cat you’ll know that telling what they’re thinking can be difficult.
So just how social are cats? How close are their family ties? Do they remember their siblings after a long time apart?
If you find yourself asking questions like this, then you’ve come to the right place! In this article we’re going to be breaking down everything there is to know about cats and their siblings.
We’ll explore how cats interact with each other and how much family means to them. We’ve also included a short FAQ to break down some of the more technical terms used in this article.
So let’s get right into it!
Cats And Siblings
If you’ve recently bought or adopted a brand new kitten, you’ll probably know a little something about the litter they come from.
Cats tend to be born in litters of around four to eight.
This means they are bound to have at least one or two siblings, and that they’re likely to have lived the earliest stages of their life in their company.
You might be thinking that this would surely cause massive psychological problems for your new pet.
After all, if you were separated from your siblings at an early age, you’d likely still have memories that would haunt you as you grow up.
But cats are slightly different, and they have much less reliance on their blood relatives than humans do.
Take for example a cat's relationship with its Father.
It is very normal for a cat to never meet their father, and whilst they are going to follow their mother for a while, cats soon become fairly self-sufficient animals.
When it comes to siblings, the normal lifecycle of a domesticated cat will see them interacting with them for around 8 weeks.
Before this time, a kitten needs to feed from its mother’s milk, meaning that it will have to stay close to its siblings.
After this, kittens will usually be sold to good homes and separated from their littler.
Do Cats Remember Their Siblings?
But what about their siblings? Do cats remember their littermates as they grow older? Well, the answer to this question is - in most cases no.
To better understand this, we need to examine how a cat remembers things a little closer.
Cats are actually very good at remembering. Whilst they’re not the smartest of all animals in the world, they do possess impressive long-term memory capacity.
This means that they can easily remember who feeds them, who is safe to be around, and who might annoy or be a danger to them.
If you’ve ever had a cat before and left it for a long period of time, you’ve no doubt noticed how excited they are to see you.
If we compare cats to dogs in this area, dogs have much less impressive memories. It is thought that a cat has up to 200 times more long-term memory capacity than a dog has.
However, cats are more likely to remember things that are beneficial to them, meaning they are more inclined to remember those who fed them or gave positive benefits to their lives.
So then - if they have a good long-term memory, why don’t they remember their siblings? To answer this, a good starting point is to consider how humans remember their infancy.
As a baby, you don’t form so many memories as you do in your later childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.
This is because your mind is still developing, and the first eight weeks (four years, in reality) are much more likely for you to be able to retain concrete memories.
And cats are no different in this regard. The first 8 weeks of a cat’s life are likely not to be remembered.
As their brains develop further, they begin to get the capacity to remember things for a long time.
So in this case, it’s likely that a cat will have almost no memory of its siblings or even their mother. The cat you’ve had since a kitten is likely to remember you instead of their blood family.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Cats Social Animals?
Because cats are much more independent pets than dogs, you may be wondering if they can be considered social animals.
Whilst cats will sometimes search for food and hunt alone, they are still social animals. If you were to find a group of cats in the wild, they are likely to keep together in social groups.
This would usually consist of female cats and their litters. Male cats tend to be a lot more solitary, only socializing to mate.
Should I have 1 Or 2 Cats?
Whilst this question depends a lot on the individual context of your situation, either can be fine!
Cats do well with companions (especially if they have grown up together) but can also be fine as a solitary animal.
One thing to note is that cats can be quite territorial, so you’ll have to be careful when introducing a new cat into the home of an already established cat.
So whilst cats are unlikely to remember their siblings from the earliest parts of their life, they do have the capacity to remember things once their minds have developed.
If they have a sibling grow up with them, the ties between them are likely to be strong.
However, it’s important to note that the social connections and bonds of cats are fairly different to humans, so you should keep this in mind when considering this topic.
We hope that this article has explained everything you wanted to know about whether or not cats remember their siblings and that you now understand a little more about the topic.
If you still have some questions, check our Frequently Asked Questions section below!
At Love4Cats, our practice involves consistent collaboration with licensed veterinarians and reputable industry experts. However, it's important to note that the content provided on Excited Cats is not intended as veterinary advice. While we strive to enhance your understanding of feline care, the information presented on this blog should not replace professional veterinary guidance.