My barn cat Consubstantial 1 had kittens this year. When they were about 6 or 7 weeks old, she took them off somewhere and I couldn’t find them for a week or so. When she finally brought them back I took them into the house (and named them Scylla and Charybdis). They knew how to eat solid food— including mice their mama brought them— so I figured they’d be OK.
But they missed nursing from mama and so started trying to nurse from their playmate, a slightly older female kitten named Umberto. They both really went at it. Umberto was puzzled. A couple times Scylla and Charybdis tried nursing from Umberto’s mom, Saipan— a cat who actually had a teat with milk in it— but they weren’t very interested. Maybe Saipan was low on milk since she wasn’t nursing Umberto much any more.
So the kittens stuck with Umberto. They purr really loud when they are ‘nursing’. Scylla seems to be the ringleader of this nursing thing and really acts like she’s nursing, kneads with her front paws and everything. Charybdis is more of a follower. She nurses but keeps moving her nursing-spot around on Umberto’s belly and doesn’t persist as long as Scylla.
I thought the two kittens were more than ready for weaning but they still seem to need to do it, even if they aren’t getting any milk. And Umberto doesn’t mind, she seems to interpret it as they are rubbing her belly for her and she likes it. But the last thing I need is more weird crazy cats— we’ve already got plenty.