Trio of mountain lion kittens learn big-cat skills with help of mama

Trio of mountain lion kittens learn big-cat skills with help of mama

We are excited to share this first look at mama mountain lion P4 and her three 3-month-old kittens. Born on July 8, 2019 in the Mt. Veeder area of Napa County, they all appear healthy and on the road to becoming fully-fledged big-cats!

In this footage recorded October 8–10, P4 has killed and cached a deer for them, a task she will continue to do for the next year until they are ready to disperse. Odds of survival are brutal though; this is the third litter of kittens we’ve observed since collaring P4 in February 2017 and we only know of one kitten that survived to dispersal age. That juvenile, P15, was killed after preying on domestic animals, which is proving to be a persistent point of risk for dispersing males, who must leave mom’s territory for the unknown.

While we don’t know the father, we do know that it isn’t P5, previously the resident male in the area. In recent months, his movements have been within a smaller perimeter, leading us to suspect pressure from another capable male mountain lion. We hope to capture and collar this new male in coming months.

We wish these kittens a safe, deer-filled youth and we thank them in advance for the balance they bring to the ecosystem. When carnivores are on the land, you can bet there’s an increased diversity of all living things.