Rachel Youens by Rachel Youens

11 Fact About Mommy Cats

Spring and Summer are kitten season and this Mother's Day there are tons of mother cats out there raising their litters. These tough mama kitties are actually fascinating creatures and have some interesting behaviors you may never have noticed. Here's a few quick cat facts that will make you admire these fluffy mommies.

1) A mother cat is called a "queen"

Cat colonies are actually matriarchal and male cats tend to make way for the queens.

2) They can have kittens from different fathers

A cats mating period can last for a week and during that time she can mate with several males. This can account for litters of kittens that all look very different.

3) They can have kittens days apart

Because the mating window lasts for several days, you can also end up with kittens that are a few days more developed than the rest of the litter. It's not unusual for a mother cat to deliver kittens, and then deliver more in the next day or so.

4) They purr during labor

Purring is generally thought of as a noise made in pleasure, but it's also believed to be a self relaxation technique during labor.

5) They have between 1 and 9 kittens.

Although this is the average litter size, the largest recorded litter was 19 kittens.

6) Their kittens each have a belly button.

Each kitten has its own amniotic sack and umbilical cord. Try to find your kitty's belly button!

7) They have a special noise to call their kittens.

Know is a chirr or chirrup, this noise is unique to each mommy cat and their kittens can tell the difference.

8) They can have different numbers of nipples.

Although the average number is six, cat's number of nipples (for both boys and girl) can be between 4 and 10.

9) They eat their kittens pee and poo when they clean them

Before kittens are litter box trained the mother cat actually cleans them and eats their waste.

10) They can still go into heat while nursing

Imagine being pregnant while you're still caring for a litter of little ones. This is why it's so important to spay female cats early.

11) They naturally separate from their kittens at about 8 weeks

Although it may seems sad to part a cat and her kittens, after 8 weeks she begins to spend more time solo and naturally ends the relationship.