An all white short-haired male cat, grooms a female long haired tortie. After a couple months the female begins to look for a safe place to have her kittens. She finds a box off of the floor on a low shelf. She then goes into labor and bears five kittens. Four of them are white and one is a tortie. The female cleans each kitten and begins to suckle them. She will leave them for short periods of time to get nourishment for herself so she can create more milk for the kittens.
As the kittens begin to grow the male cat takes an interest in them. Once the kittens’ eyes are open, and they begin to move around, the mother looks for a new place where the kittens can learn to walk and explore their surroundings in safety. She takes them one by one out of the box and carries them in her mouth to another room. As the kittens grow they begin to explore and learn to play. Once they are weaned they can begin to take care of themselves. All of these things are instinctual to the cat.
“The Private Life of a Cat” was released in 1946 and was directed by Alexander Hammid. It is an experimental documentary style film made by the same couple that made “Meshes of the Afternoon” 1943. Hammid and co-director Maya Deren were married between 1942 and 1947.
The film includes some graphic images of kittens actually being born. Other than that the film is a series of short scenes showing regular cat and kitten behavior. It does not show the mating of the two cats or the female cat in heat.
There are several versions of the film out there. Some are silent with intertitles. Some have sound and music. Some are 22 minutes and one is over 29 minutes. Some are even parts of the film. I’ve also seen it labeled as being released in 1944, 1945, 1946 and 1947. I’ve also seen it colorized. The one I found, which I believe is the original film, seems to be the most complete. It is black and white, 29 minutes long, has sound and is copyrighted as 1946. It credits Alexander Hammid as director with music by Gene Forrell and Words by Maya Deren.