We have a new litter of four kittens. They were born during the Saturday of the most recent retreat - July 18th. Retreat babies. This is the mother who is named Petunia.
This is Mittens who wants to be the mother.
For the past couple weeks, Mittens has been moving in on Petunia and her kittens. For a while, we had to watch her closely as she kept plucking them up on her mouth and moving them to the attic away from their real mom.
Things have finally settled down now and both Mittens and Petunia are mothering the kittens. Hard to believe but the kittens are nursing both females. It seems that Mittens is producing milk and the litter is happy nursing off of both females. They have it made.
This same natural situation happened last summer. At first I was perplexed because I am not much into cat behavior. Now I find it a bit comforting that both the aunt of the kittens and the real mama are both taking care of the litter. It is not unlike how human sisters will step into the role of mama when the real mama is away. Nature is a remarkable thing.