My cat had some kittens a while ago, one of which I have given to a friend.
It has been about a year since then, and I was wondering: If my cat (the mother) were to come in contact with her offspring after not seeing it for a while, will the mother still know the other cat is its offspring?
Cats usually sniff each other's behinds to catch their scent, which in the animal world, is basically their handshake (for certain categories of animals, such as dogs. Please correct me if I'm wrong). Even after a long period of separation, will the scent of the offspring set off a motherly instinct, or any kind of trigger, that'll allow the mother to know if the cat she's interacting with is in fact her offspring?
If they can or can't recognize them by scent, is there another way she would be able to recognize them? (E.g. if the father spent time with the offspring and also with the mother cat at different times, and the mother and offspring haven't seen each other since birth. When they first meet, will the mother know it's her offspring?)