Parenting Styles of Queens

author Sara Thornton DVM              iCandy RagaMuffins   


I have been a pedigree cat breeder for a while now. After breeding horses and dogs as well as being a veterinarian for well over thirty years, I doubted I could be in for many surprises. Well, the difference in the queen attitudes toward their families has been startling.

I started with Squidgy, my UK import. Squidgy was a fierce protector of her newborns. She was determined to keep them from harm …that included me. She would leave her birthing box once a day to use her litter box. I put her food in the box so she would eat. I needed to put it near her face as she would never disturb her kittens to reach for it. As her kittens matured, she was horrified that they would leave the box. It’s like the first grade child that is happy to get on the bus and leave mom. As much as she would try to keep them home, they were determined to leave. As they started their adventures in the house, Squidgy’s role became that of the playground monitor, carefully observing the kittens and looking out for predators.

My next girl to have kittens was the total opposite. Only a couple of hours after birth, Beignet would be asking to leave the room for an outing, I swear, she wanted to hire a nanny right away. While she seemed to like her kittens and do the necessities, she was demanding of frequent coffee breaks, nail appointments, and dates with her friends. She would leave their room to go sun in my outdoor cat yard for hours. I would need to call her in when leaving for work to put her back with her babies. She had a very casual attitude toward parenting for sure.

The third mother was CC. She was a bit anxious, never satisfied that she had picked the right spot in the room for her litter. She was fine giving birth in the birthing box, but soon after moved the kittens to a new spot, on the bare floor under an end table. When I attempted to put a blanket there, she moved them again. This repeated itself several times, until I caved. Mother knows best, I guess.

When Buttons queened two weeks after CC had her litter. CC decided she was an expert on parenting. She stole Buttons first baby immediately after birth. I retrieved it and held vigil for the remainder of the process. After that, CC would walk up to Buttons and stare as if telling her she wasn’t doing it right. I’m not sure what made her believe she was an expert, but she did. As it turned out, Buttons did just fine. She turned out to be a caring, relaxed mother. That, however, did not keep CC from once again stealing the same baby she had absconded with previously when he was about a week old. This time I let her keep him. Both moms seemed happy with the situation, so who was I to change it?

One thing I have learned through this process is that you just never know what to expect!