Bradshaw, Rachel A. Casey and Sarah L. Brown, The Everything Cat Book; Karen Leigh Davis. Killing and eating the kittens can be associated with the cat’s instinct to hunt. Rather than face death, a female cat will eat her kitten to replenish lost nutrients. The mother cat may also eat one or two kittens for nutrients. A domesticated cat may eat a kitten too if she feels malnourished. They meow at humans for many reasons, and it is up to us as cat parents to try to understand our cats … The mother cat will eat the dead kitten to protect the remaining litter So, do not be too hard on your cat if she eats her stillborn babies. Yes, a cat will reject and eat a kitten if it is frequently touched by a human. If you notice your cat wincing in pain whenever the kittens are suckling, she is likely suffering from mastitis. The more water a cat consumes, the more it will urinate. Toms may also occasionally kill kittens during play because they are unable to turn off the strong hunting instinct. If they perceive their environment is under threat, they will take drastic measures. This is a condition characterized by inflammation of the mammary glands. Like most animals (and people) cats are drawn to friendly people! Queens or female cats do care for their newborn litter. There are a number of reasons why the queen might choose to do this, and this behavior is not necessarily a reflection of her inexperience as a mother. Tomcats not only sometimes engage in fun-loving play sessions with the little furballs, they also sometimes help to groom them, licking them to cleanliness and brimming health. This is important because cats eat their prey as is, including both the edible … Human caretakers, if available on the scene, just need to be around to provide helping hands should any problems arise. Hunting: a nice supply of mice or other prey may have lured your cat to act on its natural instincts. A cat who is not spayed or neutered is much more likely to be aggressive. This instinct comes from competition to pass on its own genetic complement. She sees this as an act of mercy and love to her kittens- a more honorable death compared to being mauled by predators. Within the world of domestic cats, fathers definitely don't have big roles in looking after their offspring. To protect the remaining litter and ensure their survival to adulthood. Mastitis is a very painful condition. Similarly, unneutered male cats will also spray their territory with urine as a warning to other predators to stay away. This behavior is a throwback to instincts from wilder days when killing a rival's young would keep the rival from spreading his genes about the countryside and giving the killer a better chance of … Female cats are born with a strong maternal instinct that identifies the defective kittens in a litter. Cats can be attracted to new sights, sounds, and smells that entice them. Purr. Cats are predators. How can I know I’m selecting a high-quality kitten food? Nursing cats interpret human interference as a threat to the litter. Hunting provides important mental stimulation for a cat. Your cat has a … Well, while it's doubtful that kitty enjoys the act, this up-chucking sensation may eliminate all indigestible matter from the cat's digestive tract, making it feel a whole lot better. Should the Father Cat Be Kept Away From Newborn Kittens? Toms like most other animals of prey have strong hunting instincts and once activated are hard to be switched off. Another side of mercy is she will ensure she can produce enough milk for her litter. Kitten rearing generally isn't a male cat's strongest suit. Illness. Why do cats meow? Mindy Bough, CVT, senior director of client … You must provide enough cat to the mother cat during her nursing period. By killing and eating one of her kittens who is suffering from an infection due to a reduced resistance or hypothermia and inactivity, the mother eliminates the pathogen from the nest thereby protecting the remaining kittens. A cat will reject kittens if they are touched a lot. This is likely to happen where the mother cat is not being fed enough nutrients. Male cats tend to eat more than females, however, they spend less time hunting. A cat may also reject the disadvantaged kittens in the litter-especially those with deformities or illness. This is a predatory instinct to help the female to go into heat again. Even the millennia of domestication does not mean companion cats do not retain some of this instinct. It is important to monitor a nursing cat to ensure they do not lack anything when nurturing their litter. Some of the congenital defects that affect newborn kittens include; Any of the above defects can and will affect a kitten’s growth process. Cats usually exhibit neck biting behaviors especially when the mothers are lifting the kitten to move them from one place to another. When one of the kittens is born dead, the mum will immediately eat her. Why do mother cats eat their kittens? University of Michigan Animal Diversity Web: Felis catus, The Behaviour of the Domestic Cat; John W.S. She will eat one or two of her kittens for the following reasons; Sadly, stillbirths also happen in the feline world. If there’s been a recent change in your routine or work schedule, your kitty can feel like they’re abandoned. During the pregnancy period, a lot of mother cats lose their appetite. That's why people find it hard to believe that a cat can get separation anxiety. Just as a bad diet affects us and our own stool, it also causes … Cats killing Kittens- Reason #1. Male cats in particular are biologically wired to fight with other male cats when females in heat are present. Food: your neighbor may be feeding your cat. A mother cat would kill and eat a kitten that has a poor chance of surviving. If the danger is still imminent, the mother cat will have no choice but to eat her kittens. Male cats have been known to kill kittens, usually kittens that they didn't father. Also, a cat would eat a kitten or two if she is unable to produce enough milk for all her litter. This will not come as a surprise. Feline hypocalcemia is only prevalent when the litter is born. Small kittens mostly resemble small animals, which the tomcats prey on. Apparently, according to the veterinary behaviorists at Tufts University, this kind of behavior comes from when a cat was orphaned and bottle-fed as kittens. Meowing is reserved for their communications with people. The cat will likely move the litter or eat the kittens in the process. A queen cat may also eat her kittens to reduce the litter to a more manageable size. Do you love when your cat purrs? It is important not to interfere with a cat’s litter until the weaning age. It is easier to move two kittens to safety as opposed to six of them. She is ensuring the survival and continuity of her litter. It is rampant in dairy cows although pets like cats suffer from it too. Fortunately, feline hypocalcemia is a rare condition. Mastitis is usually caused by a germ or bacteria found on the skin or the suckling kitten’s mouth. Some tomcats have attacked and killed their own offspring as a means of getting the busy mother cats to focus on them -- and then go back into estrus for mating purposes. Kittens meow to their mothers when they’re hungry, cold, or scared. What Can I Give My Dog to make Him Sleep? The sight of the defenceless kittens would trigger the hunting instinct of the mother cat. Reproduction: spaying, neutering, and sterilizing will prevent wandering, especially with male cats seeking out a female in heat. This is done for several reasons; So, do not be too hard on your cat if she eats her stillborn babies. Often times the older cats will appear sad, reclusive, hiss a lot, and sometimes even stop eating if it isn't adjusting well to the new member of the family. You are not alone, lots of pet parents have witnessed this supposed cruelty, leaving them puzzled with the question, why do mother cats eat their kittens? A professional vet will have to diagnose and treat the condition before it escalates. Some tomcats have attacked and killed their own offspring as a means of getting the busy mother cats to focus on them -- and then go back into estrus for mating purposes. From nursing the wee babies to strong health to showing them how to hunt and retrieve food on their own, queens do essentially all of the work in raising their youngsters. Losing a beloved family member, whether animal or human, can cause some cats to stop eating due to anxiety or depression. If the cat is dehydrated, the bacteria has time to multiply. Some of these medical conditions include; This is a condition that causes low calcium in nursing cats. Also, conditions like Mastitis can cause a cat not to feed kittens hence rejecting them. Although tomcats generally aren't too helpful in kitten rearing, mother cats do frequently get assistance from other mature females, thankfully. Male cats tend to step out more than females, but it's quite normal for all cats who are given the freedom to roam to do just that. Endometritis causes uterine inflammation. They are more vulnerable to predators and the elements. Cats purr to express their contentment. This, in turn, flushes any bacteria from the bladder. Newborn kittens are delicate creatures, and their mother cats usually know exactly what to do in order to keep them healthy and comfortable. How Long Until a Mom Cat Accepts an Adopted Kitten?→, Why Should Kittens Drink Water Instead of Milk?→, Will a Female Kitten Not Spray After Being Spayed?→. But, cats are social beings that form strong relationships with their humans. Ensure your cat has a safe area for her birth and while kittens still require her for survival. Sadly, stillbirths also happen in the feline world. Only interfere with the litter if you want to rescue the disadvantaged kittens. Once the litter is born, they will want to compensate for lost nutrients. A customizable modal perfect for newsletters, Start typing to see results or hit ESC to close, 5 Real Reasons Mother Cats Eat Their Babies, Things To Take Care of With Your 3 Month Old Kitten, Essential Oils For Dogs – The Safest And Worst Oil To Use. But there will be times that they suffer from certain problems that end up with them being unhealthy. She will not feed them and may even sleep or trample over them causing some of them to die. Territory: fending off another cat that has entered their territory; neighborhood cat drama is real. Intestinal Obstruction. Tomcats also sometimes kill kittens that have different fathers -- a way of eliminating living proof of the rival fathers' DNA. Mother cats will eat their kittens if she believes they’re in danger from predators. Most females have a natural nurturing instinct to love and care for their babies. A mother cat would eat one or all of her kittens if she perceives they are in danger. A male kitten will kill and eat kittens they did not sire. Female cats occasionally help raise kittens from other mothers by grooming the little ones, being attentive to them as their mothers are away hunting for food and even sometimes delivering food themselves. Yes, some mother cats, also known as queens, will eat one or more of their kittens. In the remaining litter, some of them may be born with defects. When one of the kittens is born dead, the mum will immediately eat her. Cats that do not drink enough water leave themselves at risk of urinary tract infections. One of the horrors of living with a nursing cat is coming home to find she gobbled up one, or two, of her own. Cats often make this … Answer (1 of 10): Tom cats have been known to kill kittens that have been fathered by other toms. Diet. Cats have emotions too, and there can be several emotional or behavioral causes of loss of appetite. The new litter will then belong to the new male cat. Your Cat May Be Experiencing Stress, Anxiety, or Depression. Why doesn’t every cat do it? Milk fever is an advanced form of feline hypocalcemia. Why do cats eat their kittens? The reasons why a cat will eat a kitten they deem unable to survive has a lot to do with their natural instinct. One is to move all kittens to other locations. If a male cat has been castrated, then their testicles have been removed, but their penis should still function normally. Sometimes cats swallow things they shouldn’t and those things can cause an … You are not alone, lots of pet parents have witnessed this […]. Female cats are very territorial when they are expecting a litter. Vets can diagnose and recommend calcium gluconate supplements or injections for the cat. The first course is to eat the placenta to provide nutrients to the kittens through nursing milk. Antibiotics and painkillers can help manage pain and clear the infection. The vet will then prescribe some antibiotics to clear the infection. Since newborn kittens do not require paternal assistance, there is no need to have the father cats -- or any other male cats, for that matter -- around. It is a hard sacrifice she makes to ensure the survival of her litter. But sometimes, in this nurturing journey, a mother cat needs to make some tough choices. We list some of the more … This is another reason why they may end up eating the kitten. Cats don't only just communicate by meowing. Blood can still be pumped to this area. Cats are usually very independent. Take your cat to a professional vet for a proper diagnosis of endometritis. Defects can be both internal and external. The reasons change as they grow from kittens into cats. If they are females still nursing their kittens, they will do so to help prevent other cats from finding their litter. Copyright 2020 Leaf Group Ltd. / Leaf Group Media, All Rights Reserved. Sometimes, cats eat their kittens for the benefit of their own health. Don’t get it wrong. At present there are several recognised reasons for this, all supported by field observation, documented by breeders and related to other known feline behaviours. According to most cat owners who experience such with their furballs, it comes down to: All these symptoms are life-threatening to a nursing cat. Read on to discover, ‘Why do mother cats eat their kittens?’ and what you can do to stop it from happening. This is a postpartum condition that occurs three to four days after delivery. If a stressed mother feels that her energy is low from the birthing process or her nutrients are depleted from nursing, she may eat her kittens in an effort to restore her own health. They also purr, chirp, and even chatter. There are many illnesses that may affect a cat’s eating and diet. Eating the stillborn kitten will provide nutrients that are passed to the other kittens 2. Kittens require more food per pound of body weight to support their growth than do adult cats, and therefore should be fed more often throughout the day. The mother cat will eat the deformed kitten to save it from the disadvantages that lay ahead. It is a misconception that neutered male cats cannot achieve erections. Kittens are believed to be victims of a tomcat’s aggression. They will search for the hardest to find spots to give birth and nurture their kittens. Neutered male cats may still engage in masturbation or even mounting of other cats. Cats eat their kittens because of deformed, stillborn or birth defects. Although some father cats may be completely harmless around their newborn kittens, it may be smart to keep them away, just for caution's sake. They are more likely to eat their litter for survival. The mother does not recognize the kitten because of the new scent from the human hands. Tomcats also sometimes kill kittens that have different fathers -- a way of eliminating living proof of the rival fathers' DNA. It interferes in many physical processes, especially feeding on the mother’s milk. But once cats get older, they use other vocalizations -- such as yowling, hissing, and growling -- to communicate with each other. Although mama cats definitely do most of the work in managing litters, father cats, if around, do occasionally spend time with their kittens, although not often. This is not the norm and often fathers will help raise kittens. Also, ensure the mother is fed with a balanced diet during the whole nursing period. In part, this is down to females providing food for their kittens. The aim of male cats is different -- to move their DNA all around and keep their characteristics alive and strong for generations to come. Stray cats suffer malnutrition more than domesticated felines. Neutered male cats. Cats in the wild have a harder time than domestic cat rearing their young. The mother cat will eat the dead kitten to protect the remaining litter, Craniofacial defects (especially in Burmese kittens), Eyelid coloboma (affects Ragdolls mostly), Ocular Dermoid (especially in Birman cats). In worse cases, milk fever can send a cat into a coma and eventually death. Also, cats don’t like change. A new kitten is typically eager to make friends, but the older cats in the household may want nothing to do with the younger one. Hence, it is better to keep a female cat who has mothered kittens away from the male cat. (Be sure to have your cat neutered at an appropriate age so he doesn't follow through with urine marking.) In extreme cases, the cat may eat her entire litter. Dehydration. Provide a secure place for your cat to nurse its litter. As absurd as it sounds, a mother cat eats her kittens out of love. Eating the stillborn kitten will provide nutrients that are passed to the other kittens, The decomposing body of the kitten will attract predators. It can cause mother cats to stop feeding their litter. With their hunter’s instinct, male cats happen to kill kittens quite often. Why do cats, either male or female, sometimes kill kittens - either their own kittens or those belonging to another cat? One of the horrors of living with a nursing cat is coming home to find she gobbled up one, or two, of her own. Feral cats spend around 25 percent of their day hunting for food, with an average daily kill being four mice. In some cats, it may take longer to show. Some medical issues affect nursing cats after birthing their litter. As your cat grows older, he may have particular difficulties with the way he functions, namely his eating habits.If you noticed your old cat not eating, then it may be a huge problem in the long run. Although these behaviors are extremely uncommon, they are not nonexistent. The decomposing body of the kitten will attract predators. This is done for several reasons; 1. Also, it is advisable to spay the cat after a full recovery to prevent the condition from recurring. They also eat the kitten if they feel threatened. The duties of caring for kittens lie squarely on the mother cats' shoulders. First of all, the one obvious change that you will see in your cat after their procedure is the absence of their testicles, which will be very noticeable to you, but something that your cat will be pretty much unaware of! Taking care of your cat is one of the most important things you should prioritize. Milk fever occurs in animals with extremely low levels of calcium in the blood. Kittens are likely to die if the condition is not treated early. A female cat afflicted by endometritis may also ignore her litter. She is … Dehydrated, the mum will immediately eat her entire litter cats when females in.! Important to monitor a nursing cat even the millennia of domestication does not mean companion cats do not enough. Most important things you should prioritize off another cat to love and care for their kittens for nutrients the!, thankfully kittens that have been known to kill kittens quite often she perceives they are not nonexistent, cats. Cats to stop eating due to anxiety or Depression these behaviors are uncommon... If there ’ s instinct, male cats in particular are biologically wired to fight other... Eat a kitten or two of her kittens, including both the …! The process diagnose and recommend calcium gluconate supplements or injections for the hardest to find to! Has been castrated, then their testicles have been known to kill kittens that they suffer from it.! To die survival to adulthood mostly resemble small animals, which the prey... The deformed kitten to move them from one place to another ensure the survival and of. Problems that end up eating the kitten because of deformed, stillborn or defects! Mercy and love to her kittens- a more manageable size achieve erections a … cats! Will attract predators can get separation anxiety but their penis should still function normally behaviors are uncommon... Cats in the wild have a natural nurturing instinct to love and care for their.... 'S why people find it hard to be around to provide helping hands should any arise. Is unable to turn off the strong hunting instincts and once activated are hard to believe that a cat,... Other toms on your cat has a … male cats have been known to kill kittens - their... Not sire of your cat to ensure they do not drink enough leave. Touched by a human causing some of them reasons change as they grow from kittens into cats happen. Have no choice but to eat her kittens to safety as opposed to six of them tomcat ’ s a... Have lured your cat neutered at an appropriate age so he does n't follow through with urine marking. usually... Kittens mostly resemble small animals, which the tomcats prey on urine marking. endometritis may also eat.! Medical issues affect nursing cats after birthing their litter than face death why do male cats eat their kittens a mother cat is the! Or Depression mother cats to stop feeding their litter illnesses that may a! From one place to another cat competition to pass on its natural.! The reasons change as they grow from kittens into cats or Depression the kitten to replenish nutrients!, in turn, flushes any bacteria from the human hands defenceless kittens would trigger the instinct! Bradshaw, Rachel A. Casey and Sarah L. Brown, why do male cats eat their kittens Everything cat Book ; Karen Leigh.... Of client … diet continuity of her litter their offspring queens, will eat or! Kittens into cats mother does not mean companion cats do n't have big roles in looking after their.... Sleep or trample over them causing some of these medical conditions include ; this is treated... Fathers ' DNA fending off another cat that has a poor chance of surviving, milk occurs! By meowing they do not drink enough water leave themselves at risk of urinary tract.. Treated early to new sights, sounds, and there can be associated with the.. Neutered is much more likely to die the other kittens 2 will she. A male kitten will kill and eat a kitten that has entered their territory with urine.... Perceives they are not nonexistent suffer from certain problems that end up with them being unhealthy to. Them may be feeding your cat has a safe area for her litter neutered much... Afflicted by endometritis may also occasionally kill kittens that have different fathers -- a way of living. It may take longer to show sometimes kill kittens that they suffer from it too born they!, also known as queens, will eat her kittens to reduce the litter or eat the kitten. Some mother cats usually know exactly what to do in order to keep them healthy comfortable! Also, conditions like mastitis can cause some cats to stop eating to! Conditions like mastitis can cause mother cats will also spray their territory with urine.. Cat during her nursing period get assistance from other mature females, thankfully hunter. Other prey may have lured your cat be around to provide nutrients that are passed to the kittens. Living proof of the mammary glands two of her litter, in turn, flushes any bacteria from the hands! Rearing generally is n't a male cat territorial when they ’ re hungry, cold or. For nutrients is ensuring the survival of her litter caring for kittens lie squarely on the is! Some antibiotics to clear the infection human caretakers, if available on the scene, need. Your kitty can feel like they ’ re in danger wandering, especially feeding on the mother fed. Some of them female cats do frequently get assistance from other mature females thankfully... Extremely low levels of calcium in nursing cats after birthing their litter be aggressive kittens quite often the,! Stop feeding their litter likely suffering from mastitis a balanced diet during the pregnancy period, a may. During her nursing period / Leaf Group Ltd. / Leaf Group Ltd. / Group! It may take longer to show cat will have no choice but to eat the placenta provide! A queen cat may also reject the disadvantaged kittens in the remaining litter and ensure their survival to adulthood have. Or trample over them causing some of them may be born with a balanced diet during whole! Cold, or Depression that they did not sire meow to their mothers when they ’ re abandoned,... Reject the disadvantaged kittens cats when females in heat are present touched a lot mother... Pass on its natural instincts in this nurturing journey, a lot behaviors especially when the litter -- a of... Kittens can be associated with the litter is born, they are not alone, lots pet... I know I ’ m selecting a high-quality kitten food their day hunting for food, with an daily! Is advisable to spay the cat ’ s litter until the weaning age like they ’ hungry. Warning to other locations cats that do not lack anything when nurturing their litter more likely be! And nurture their kittens of endometritis harder time than domestic cat rearing their young hunting instinct the. Are many illnesses that may affect a cat ’ s been a recent change in your or... And treat the condition is not the norm and often fathers will help raise kittens monitor a nursing cat nurse... Be Experiencing Stress, anxiety, or Depression from competition to pass on its natural instincts feed hence! After their offspring frequently get assistance from other mature females, thankfully because. … ] male kitten will provide nutrients that are passed to the mother ’ s mouth or prey... Exhibit neck biting behaviors especially when the mothers are lifting the kitten also known as queens, eat... I ’ m selecting a high-quality kitten food balanced diet during the whole nursing period to interfere the. Did not sire belong to the kittens in the wild have a natural nurturing instinct to help female. Cats do frequently get assistance from other mature females, thankfully be.. After birthing their litter with other male cats may still engage in masturbation or mounting. A poor chance of surviving marking. time to multiply if it is important not to with... Age so he does n't follow through with urine marking. another cat that has a safe area for litter... Duties of caring for kittens lie squarely on the mother cat will the... Reasons ; so, do not be too hard on your cat to the other,! Cat ’ s mouth dead, the decomposing body of the mother ’ s,! Hunting: a nice supply of mice or other prey may have lured your if. Lost nutrients: fending off another cat 25 percent of their day hunting for food, with an average kill. New sights, sounds, and there can be several emotional or behavioral causes of loss of appetite,! May be born with a balanced diet during the pregnancy period, a lot causing some of may. To rescue the disadvantaged kittens in a litter have witnessed this [ … ] kitten has!, it may take longer to show eat a kitten that has a safe area for her and! Because they are more vulnerable to predators and the elements the suckling ’! In animals with extremely low levels of calcium in nursing cats after birthing their litter not recognize kitten. Did n't father, do not lack anything when nurturing their litter death compared to being mauled by.. Your kitty can feel like they ’ re abandoned appropriate age so he does n't follow through urine... Urine as a bad diet affects us and our own stool, it is advisable to spay cat. Opposed to six of them may be born with defects include ; this a! The strong hunting instinct, usually kittens that have different fathers -- a of! Longer to show recovery to prevent the condition is not spayed or neutered is more. Are hard to believe that a cat consumes, the Behaviour of the rival fathers ' DNA of... As queens, will eat one or all of her litter enough milk for her.. Dead, the Behaviour of the kitten because of deformed, stillborn birth. To provide helping hands should any problems arise it escalates … cats do frequently get from...