You are partly correct. Barring illness or tragedy, all cat
moms will do the basics. According to the East Bay SPCA in California,
kittens remain close to their mothers, nursing with their eyes closed,
during their first few weeks of life. Mothers will often move their
kittens around, grabbing them by the scruff of the neck for
everyone’s safety. At this stage, the kittens cannot fend for
themselves, so they continue to nurse for another two weeks until they
begin to nibble at other food at the age of about 4 weeks.

cats will also clean and otherwise groom their charges for yet another
couple of weeks. One theory about why cats purr says that cat families
make this comforting noise/vibration when they are touching but
can’t directly see each other. Mother cats, for example, can
feel the vibrations of their nursing kittens, letting her know all is

I have noticed tremendous differences in
the ways that mother cats deal with their charges four weeks after
giving birth. Some seem to cherish their families, doting over each and
every kitten and seeming to struggle with the partings. Others, like one
of my neighbor’s cats, seem relieved and in a hurry to ditch
the motherhood duties.

I’ll never
forget the look on my neighbor’s cat’s face as she
happily deposited all of her kittens in my garden. “Here you
go!” she seemed to communicate. “They are all yours
and I’m outta here to have some fun!”

Her kittens turned out
just fine. They were spayed and neutered, but I bet their own independent
streaks would have otherwise had them following mother’s lead. As for mom, I
wound up with her too after my elderly neighbors passed away. She was also spayed
and lived a long, healthy and happy life.