A cat owner has shared the heartwarming moment that two feline siblings gave birth to their kittens together.
Apricot and Waffles were taken to Harley’s Hounds Animal Rescue in June 2023. The U.K.-based small foster rescue has been running for many years and recently started sharing their work on TikTok.
“The girls, Waffles and Apricot, were originally owned by someone who moved out of their property and left them with the remaining residents. They soon realized they were both pregnant and they didn’t feel they could keep them, so they surrendered them to us,” Naomi Field-Jones from Harley’s Hounds told Newsweek. “All we knew is that they were sisters, around 10 months old and very heavily pregnant.”
“The pair clearly had a very strong bond,” added Field-Jones.
Despite Waffles being initially shy, she settled quickly with the confident Apricot nearby. Both heavily pregnant, it wasn’t long until things started moving.
“After a week in foster, I came home one day to find Apricot in labor. She did amazing, and together we successfully delivered her litter of five healthy kittens, and Waffles watched on from a distance,” said Field-Jones.
Apricot gave birth to five kittens—three black-and-white and two black—and for the next few days, they settled into their new environment.
“Three days later, on one of my hourly checkups, I noticed two little tabby babies in bed with Apricot and her babies,” said Field-Jones. When she checked on Waffles, it was clear she was midway through delivering her own kittens.
“I put the new tabby babies in a different bed and went downstairs for supplies, but when I came back, Waffles had moved them back in bed with Apricot,” Field-Jones added. “They made it very clear that’s where she was going to stay.”
Waffles, in labor, cuddled up to her friend Apricot who put a paw around her neck and comforted her through the whole delivery.
Eventually, Waffles gave birth to five kittens—four tabby and one black—and the cats quickly got to work to support each other’s parenting efforts.
“When I went up to check on them, I found five tabby babies all with Apricot, and Waffles was nursing Apricot’s babies,” Field-Jones said.
Bonds like Apricot and Waffles’ aren’t uncommon. “Cats often form close bonds with their littermates, and these bonds can last into adulthood,” Sarah-Jane White, an animal behaviorist from Ruffle Snuffle, told Newsweek.
But why might a cat care for a kitten that isn’t their own? White said that, while it is not common, it does sometimes happen.
“There are a variety of reasons why a cat might choose to care for a kitten that isn’t its own. It is thought that the cat may be trying to fill a maternal role, or it may simply enjoy the companionship of a young animal,” White said.
As well as enjoying the maternal role of helping out, cats may also step in if they see that another feline’s kittens are in danger or just need a little bit of extra help.
“I don’t think either of the moms or any of the kittens either know or care whose is whose. They are often lying together feeding them, or one will take a rest while the other takes over. It makes for a gorgeous kitten pile,” said Field-Jones.
Born in June, the kittens and the mothers will be neutered, and the rescue will try to find homes for them. And Field-Jones hopes that the two parents will be rehomed together.
“Hopefully, we will find them a loving home where they can remain together,” she said.
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