Siblings - do cats know?
One of the feral kittens I rescued this summer just got adopted! I really wanted his sister to stay with him, as she's still rather timid and skittish. I guess as long as she goes to a home where the people understand her situation, she'll be okay. I just figured staying with her brother would help with keeping her from reverting back to a more feral temperament.
Two of their siblings I wasn't able to tame enough to put into the adoption program. I had them only long enough to get Zinny treated and recovered from pneumonia, then both spayed. Just a few days before I was planning to release them back to the colony, Disco slipped out the door while I was going out to feed. I couldn't get her back, so decided I better let Zinny out too.
I was lamenting the fact I didn't get to spend just a few more days with them, and worried how they would adjust, but that I was glad they had each other. Well, the friend I was talking to said "They're just cats, they don't care if they're with siblings or not." I guess I can understand her viewpoint of them just being animals without so-called "emotions"
However! In the last month, there's only been one time that I saw Zinny without Disco nearby. Usually they're together...eat together, sleep together, etc. I think they DO know, to some extent. They also seem to know parents, too... Zinny prefers to stay by two of the brown tabby toms, who I'm pretty sure are her father(s), while Disco doesn't seem to care who she socializes with.
The two tabby toms would also "babysit" during the summer, after the kittens were old enough to leave the den. Several times I saw them laying on the grass, about 10 feet across from each other, and the kittens romping around between them. I know it was babysitting, because I didn't see the mother anywhere nearby, and the toms would always watch me more carefully the nearer I got to the "nursery".
So what's your opinion? Do cats know who's family, and who's just neighbors/friends?