This is a quick note and no more because there is not a lot of information about this due to a dearth of studies. However, the presence of a mother cat during the socialisation of her kittens can have a negative or positive effect upon the socialisation process.
There is evidence to suggest that when kittens are socialised to people and other pets in the presence of a well-socialised and friendly mother the kittens’ confidence is increased. Conversely, if under this process the mother is shy or fearful she may manoeuvre her offspring away from humans and other animals and interfere with the socialisation process making it less useful.
It is a point worth making because – and this has been said countless times – the socialisation of kittens is vital to the success of their role in the human world. Kittens won’t become domestic cats unless they are socialised. They are not born domestic cats. They are born with a natural fearfulness of humans. Domestication is not inherited in their genes. It has to be inculcated into them through socialisation.
The phrase “raised underfoot” can apply the socialisation of kittens. In other words, it means that the kittens are surrounded by people including visitors to a home (be careful however!). Another pet should be included in that process so that the cats, when adult, are relaxed and confident around these other species. Some of the most charming photographs that you see on the Internet are of interspecies relationships in which, for example, a dog helps to raise kittens. Many dogs love kittens. They love to be around them. The kittens are being socialised to dogs and the dog is having a lot of fun at the same time.
Some more on socialisation
Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.