Why is my adult male cat aggressively licking my new male kitten?

This is a question posed by a social media user accompanying a video of a beautiful ginger tabby cat enthusiastically licking a young kitten who is also a ginger tabby cat. The questioner does not explain if the kitten is the offspring of the male cat. It looks certain that they are.

The interesting aspect of the video is that the male cat is engaging in parenting. Also, incidentally, the kitten is trying to suckle on the male cat. This is entirely instinctive. It may be because the male cat is behaving as if he is the kitten’s mother. The kitten’s reacting to that is to try to feed at his breast. My guess is that the mother is not too far away.

Male cat involved in committed parenting which is unusual

Male cat involved in committed parenting which is unusual. Screenshot. Sorry for the poor quality.

Dr. Bradshaw confidently states in his book Cat Sense that “Tomcats play no part in rearing offspring, and many mothers who give birth outside the home raise their kittens without help”.

This is the classic narrative. Male cats don’t get involved in parenting and it is the mother who has to do all the work.

Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important

Note: This is a video from another website which is embedded here. Sometimes they are deleted at source which stops them working on this site. If that has happened, I apologise but I have no control over it. THERE ARE MORE ARTICLES ON MALE CATS AT THE BASE OF THE PAGE.

Clearly, that is not always the case as evidenced by this short video. Some male cats do get involved in parenting. At the opposite end of the spectrum, some male cats end up killing offspring either accidentally or deliberately but among domestic or stray cats it is unusual.

The point here is that tomcats sometimes do parent offspring or contribute to the process. And the reason why this adult ginger tabby is licking so “aggressively” in the words of their owner is because he is committed to the task.

I think the word “aggressively” is incorrect. I’ve used “enthusiastically” in the opening paragraph. It’s just a function of commitment.

Linda P. Case in her book The Cat, Its Behaviour, Nutrition & Health, states that: “Because the pair bond between the female and male cat is very weak and dissolves almost immediately after mating, the influence of the sire on kitten behaviour is primarily genetic”. This clearly states that the male of the species does not get involved in raising offspring. Conversely, free-roaming females who live in a social group may engage in communal raising of kittens.

Once again, it has to be stated that it is not universally true that male cats do not get involved in parenting. It depends upon the individuals. They can occasionally get involved in parenting. Some of them will be highly committed as evidenced in this video.

Tomcat jowls created by the presence of testosterone

Unneutered male cats have a more masculine facial appearance compared to neutered male cats

This is a discussion about whether the neutering of male cats (castration) changes their facial appearance. It can also have ...
Read More
Intact male (foreground), wandering yowling, intact female (background)

What is an intact cat? Full discussion.

The word "intact" nearly always concerns domestic cats. Both the neutering of males and spaying of females takes a piece ...
Read More
Cats profoundly affectionate towards each other

Are male cats more affectionate with humans and other cats than females?

The first point to make is that we are discussing neutered male cats and spayed female cats. That has to ...
Read More

Male stray cat with character in his face and sadness in his eyes

Snowflake is a handsome, rescued stray cat with a characterful face and sad eyes ...
Read More
Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *