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A stray cat has given birth to some kittens in a store room in my house where no one goes. She goes in and out from a window that's broken. The window is high above the ground.

I noticed that when she was on her way to go inside, the kittens started meowing. The mom had not made any noise, neither could the kittens see her coming.

The kittens, at a guess, are about 2 - 3 weeks old.

How did they know that mom is coming?

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  • Most likely sound or smell. Just because you did not hear does not mean no sound.
    – paparazzo
    Mar 16, 2018 at 17:18

1 Answer 1

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The mother does call out when she returns. It is a short sound and it can be hard for people to hear.

Normally kittens have to be quiet so they do not get unwanted attention from predators when the mother is away.

So the mother calls to say it is safe now but also to hear where the kittens are.

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    Is there a source where I can read more? Mar 18, 2018 at 7:14
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    sadly this part of a mother cats behaviour is not well dokumented as it can be hard to observe it in nature when the mother returns after hunting,and for inndoor cats the mother is allways close so there is less need to call the kittens. Mar 18, 2018 at 8:54
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    at 0,20 you can see and maby hear the mother cat saying i am here and the second kitten comes running youtube.com/watch?v=oaD-o_9Wgs0 maby a bad example but it is the one i could find for now. Mar 18, 2018 at 9:34
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    Documentaries about wild leopards, cheetahs, tigers or solo lionesses will show the mother making a "contact call" when she returns to her nest and is looking for her cubs, which may have wandered a bit while she was off hunting. (We don't know much about wild jaguars since they're so secretive, but they seem generally similar to leopards.) Domestic cats have most of the same instincts, just applied in a wildly different environment.
    – StephenS
    Jan 22, 2020 at 19:46

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