Cats eat their kittens, although this behavior is not typical. Stray cats tend to eat their kittens if they are not healthy. This behavior is a smaller amount frequent in domesticated cats. CatsCats are known to eat their cats’ placenta for nutritional benefits.
Mother cats will often not eat their kittens if they’re healthy, although this does occur. So what could make a mother cat eat her kittens? There are many situations and circumstances that can affect a mother and may cause her to eat her kittens.
Let’s dive into a number of the explanations why a mother cat might ingest her kittens.
Why Do Cats Eat Their Kittens?
While it is rare for a mother cat to eat her kittens, there are certain circumstances where you may feel the need to try this.
Diseases, Deformity And Illness
Cats have a strong olfactory sense. Their sense of smell is 14 times stronger than that of a human. you’ll have heard of dogs who can smell cancer and other illnesses. Cats can function within the same way. A mother cat could also be ready to sense or smell a disease, illness, or deformity that a person might not perceive.
If a mother cat senses that her kitten could also be ill or is unlikely to survive, she may kill it out of mercy. If The chances of survival are very low and the cat does indeed die, the decomposition of its carcass not only endangers the hygiene risk to the rest of the litter but also attracts predators to the nest. So, the mother will consume the weak or dying kitten to guard the remainder of her litter and herself. Likewise, if a kitten is stillborn, she is going to also, possibly, consume her kitten for an equivalent reason. This seems to be a biological impulse related to the “survival of the fittest” instincts.
fear of danger or Stressful environment for newborn kittens
This position mainly applies to feral cats. Feral cats that sleep in the wild find it difficult to survive and face a wider range of dangers than domestic cats. If a cat feels that her brood is in immediate danger from a predator, she may feel it’s more merciful for her to finish her own kitten’s life than to finish up within the clutches of a predator.
Mothers also are often extra nervous after parturition, so any added stimulation could end in sensory overload, causing the mother to become stressed. Examples might be busy areas, an excessive amount of interaction from people or other animals, loud noises, or other painful stimuli.
Anything that a mother cat perceived as threatening can cause her to eat her litter out of stress.
Stressful Labor And Delivery
Giving birth requires tons of energy, so a cat may eat a kitten to nourish itself and replenish its lost energy. this will also happen as a result of stressful breastfeeding. Breastfeeding requires a quite little bit of energy, and it is often very exhausting for the mother cat. Studies show that lactating cats show signs of elevated cortisol levels.
Cortisol is that the stress hormone that regulates strong processes like mood and fear. In cases of prolonged elevated cortisol levels, it’s going to induce a fight or flight response within the mother. On the opposite hand, these cases also are rare.
First Time Motherhood
Being a new mother can often be confusing for a cat. Having never been born before, a new mother could also be unsure of what to try to do.
- They may not skills to worry for his or her kittens and could be unusually rough with their kittens, although repeatedly, this is often unintentional.
The hormone, Prolactin, may be a nurturing hormone that’s excreted during pregnancy, labor, and birth. Essentially, Prolactin is that the hormone liable for bonding the mother to her babies. Sometimes, there’s a delayed response during this hormone. this will be more common for a first-time mother. Therefore, when prolactin is delayed when a mother is for the first time, she may not feel directly connected to her kittens and should not feel the need to take care of her newborn kittens. Under unique circumstances, she may even see her newborn puppies as a threat or prey.
Malnourishment Or Lack Of Nutrition
The placenta has nutritional benefits, so female felines often eat it.
The placenta contains fiber, protein, iron, potassium, and is assumed to extend milk supply. within the same regard, a queen will sometimes eat one kitten or maybe a whole litter if she is malnourished or on the brink of starving.
- Doing this may provide nutritional benefits to the mother cat, which she will then pass along to any remaining kittens through her milk supply during nursing.
There are some instances where a nursing mother cat will find yourself with Mastitis, a condition during which the mamma becomes inflamed. this is often caused by a bacterial infection and may be extremely painful for the mother, particularly when nursing. The infection is often passed on to her kittens, as well. Under extraordinary circumstances, pain, which, in turn, causes stress could also be a possible reason that a mother might eat her young. If she senses that her kittens could also be sick from infection, she may feel the necessity to kill them humanely.
When A Cat doesn’t Recognize Their Young
Cats believe smell to spot their young. WhenWhen kittens are first born, their mother licks them to imprint her scent.
If newborn kittens are disturbed by another animal or an individual, then the mother’s scent might be masked, causing her to be unable to acknowledge her kittens.
- This is why it’s crucial to restrain from handling the kittens in their first week of life unless necessary. The danger that lies during a mother being unable to acknowledge her kittens is that she may confuse them for prey instead of offspring.
Do Male Cats Eat Their Kittens?
Male cats generally do not eat their kittens unless they are in extreme conditions such as hunger.
On the opposite hand, male cats will eat other kittens that they didn’t sire. The primal objective of a male cat is to continue its bloodline and pass on its genetics.
When a cat is nursing, it is not in a mating state. In reaction to the present, a male cat may kill kittens that aren’t from his bloodline, to bring the female into heat, in order that he can breed together with her to supply his own kittens. Male cats can also kill kittens for territorial reasons.
Do Cats Eat Their Young If You Touch Them?
Cats will not eat their kittens if they touch them. she is going to presumably move her litter to a replacement location. However, if the cat is confined or unable to maneuver her kittens to a safer location, she may kill them if she feels apprehensive about their safety and feels that they could be threatened.
Similarly, in an effort to maneuver them to safety, a cat may accidentally kill her kitten by trying to push it under or into something.
Likewise, a female cat with psychological trauma can also kill her kittens. as an example, a cat who has been abused may even see fit to kill her kittens out of what she considers mercy. this is often atypical.
As we mentioned before, the scent is important for the mother cat to bond to her kittens. In limiting contact with the kittens yourself, it lowers the chances of the mother cat being unable to acknowledge her kittens. So again, it’s knowing show restraint within the first week approximately.
How Do I Get My Cat To Stop Eating Her Kittens?
When considering a number of the factors which will cause a queen to eat her kittens, we’d like to tackle this problem from a preventative angle first the maximum amount as possible. This includes providing a relaxed, relaxing environment for your feline during pregnancy, birth, and afterward. attempt to avoid contact with the kittens within the first week. make sure that you’re diligently monitoring your cat and her new babies in order that you’ll notice any unusual behavior.
If you notice that the mother seems to be ignoring the children or not caring for them properly, or is unusually rude to them, then the safest option may be to remove the kittens from their mother. Once you remove the kittens from their mother, you’ll need to look after them as their mother would. Your vet can assist you to determine the simplest thanks to look after your kittens.
If your cat exhibits a scarcity of maternal behavior, she might not be fit to be a parent. during which case, you’ll want to possess her spayed in order that she cannot have any longer kittens.
Do Cats Eat Other Cat’s Kittens?
Generally, most female cats won’t eat other cats’ kittens. Most female felines are hardwired to figure cooperatively in raising litters. the foremost significant risk is from male cats looking to breed.
This is to not say that some female cats might not perceive small kittens as prey. Equally, some queens may even see kittens from other litters as their enemy, especially if she doesn’t get alongside the opposite mother. Although there’s a slim possibility of this happening, feline mothers are more known for stealing each other’s kittens and nursing them as a concerted and collective effort.