Nursing territorialism

“This is my spot, not yours” seems to be a trait common to humans as well as most animals. Curiously, it occurs among cats as young as two days old. In a litter of kittens there is actually a “teat order”: each tiny kitten (remember, they are still blind and deaf at this stage) finds a particular nipple on its mother and from then on the order becomes fixed.

Whether some nipples give more (or better) milk is not known, nor is it known how the order is decided. We only know that when kittens take their nursing positions, the lineup isn’t random. If you see four kittens—let’s call them A, B, C and D—lined up while nursing, you will find them in that order the next day, no B-D-C-A, or C-B-A-D. Odd, but interesting.
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