Social Behaviour - Anal Sniffing - Domesticated feral litter

by David Rose
(South Africa)

3 jailbirds in the kitten coop

3 jailbirds in the kitten coop

We have successfully raised a feral litter of four kittens which we acquired at an age of four weeks; they are now 2 1/2 years old, and were all neutered early at the recommended age. One male and four females. They were raised close together, and often groom one another. Two of the girls are particularly inclined to give any of their siblings a really close anal examination - they look like they are literally brown-nosing! We are not especially distressed by this, but do wonder whether this kind of sniffing is normal social behaviour in cats?

Off-topic, we are amused to see how the girls invariably defer to Scotty when he wants anything - they step aside from the food, give him as much attention and grooming as he wants, defer to his preference for sleeping spots etc. It seems that in the feline world the male definitely comes first, even if neutered!

Answer by Kate
Hi to comment on your last point. it isn't really a male thing it is more about social pecking order which they have decided on. in your case your male cat has won that spot. i have known the complete opposite in many cases where the female cat is top cat and the males step aside for her.

as for the bottom sniffing. well as you know scent is very important in the cat world it is a whole different language and has many associations and meaning for them which we can not possibly fully understand. So yes bottom sniffing is a way for the cats to identify each other and perhaps has some other significance too. Although dogs are more likely to use this method, cats do too.

great picture and well doe you for raising your feral litter. Not always an easy thing to do.

best wishes Kate

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