Sometimes animals have behaviors that leave us in shock, simply because we do not understand them and they are extremely cruel or unjustified. This is the case in today’s post, where we are going to try to explain to you why do cats eat their own kittens.
If you have been through a situation like this, you surely feel bad now, you may be sad or perplexed, but everything animals do have a reason. And this case is not an exception.
Read on to understand the reason for this behavior, so that it can help you to prevent this situation from happening again in the future.
- Those Newborn Kittens Might be Sick
A frequent cause of abandonment of kittens by their mother, or even a reason that the cat kills them, is that the kittens are sick or terminal, due to an advanced infectious disease, severe genetic disease or extreme weakness.
It is not uncommon for a cat to end her kittens’ lives when detecting that her young ones are unable to survive or simply abandon them and leave the nest. Cats watch their kittens a lot and are able to detect with their sight and smell when a kitten is about to die or seriously ill.
Leaving these kittens is a natural instinct, which ensures that the mother does not invest time and resources (her milk and her care) in kittens that will also die.
- The Cat Has No Maternal Instinct
A cat can eat her young because she has no parenting instinct. This is often due to the fact that it is an animal that is too young (a cat less than one-year-old) that although it is capable of reproducing and giving birth to its kittens. But psychologically it is not prepared to take care of them and take good care of them. It may also be because the cat is a first-time, or simply because it is a cat that has no interest in her children.
This is not so common, but it can happen. If your cat is in one of these cases, you should observe the cat and her kittens well.
If you still have kittens you are not caring for, or if the cat has already attacked another kitten in the litter, you will need to remove the kittens and feed them yourself. Here you can learn how to do it – What to Feed Newborn Kittens in an Emergency?
- Cats Eat Their Kittens by Stress
When a cat has experienced truly stressful situations during childbirth or pregnancy, or that she perceives as a danger to her young and to herself, it is possible that she will kill her young and eat them, or simply abandon them.
Stress increases the mother’s fear and anxiety, making it unfeasible for her to carry out parenting normally. For this reason, it is important to place the box or nest of the cat in a place with little traffic, quiet, without noise and if possible away from other animals, such as dogs and other cats, that may intimidate you.
If it is a cat that has given birth outdoors, you should also leave it to its own devices and make sure that other animals cannot access and disturb it.
If you will soon have a new kitten at home, discover the best names for cats for cats on the internet – Unique Names for Cute Kittens in 2020
- If Her Kittens Smell Human
This case can occur especially with a feral or feral cat, which I raised near our house. If you see a litter of kittens, and the mother is stray, you better not touch them.
If she detects that babies smell human, especially a human she doesn’t know, she can interpret it as a warning sign. This can lead her to reject her kittens, even attack them, because she sees them as a threat to her. So never touch newborn stray kittens.
For this reason, it is very important to provide a secure place, such as a room where people do not go, explain to the family that they must respect the cat and her little ones, and above all keep if any, other animals away from her.
- Infection in the Breasts or Mastitis
Mastitis is an inflammation of the cat’s breasts, which is usually caused by an infection. Without treatment, it is a serious disease, which can spread, drain pus and even end the cat’s life. In addition to the visible swelling in the breasts, it is a painful disease that causes many physical discomforts to the cat. When kittens try to suckle, she perceives a sharp increase in pain and may associate kittens with pain.
By attacking or abandoning them, the cat is trying to finish off those she thinks are causing her such severe pain. Therefore, if you detect that your cat has swollen nipples, you should go to your vet immediately. It is likely that he will recommend a suitable antibiotic, and that you will have to raise the kittens with a bottle if the mastitis is strong.
Read also: How Many Kittens Can a Cat Have Safely?
- Cats Who Have Had a Cesarean Section
One reason behind why do cats eat their own kittens is because cats do not understand that they are her children. Sometimes it can happen that a cat that has needed a cesarean section to give birth to her kittens and when they are presented, she does not recognize them.
This does not always happen, but sometimes not having had a natural birth, can lead to a cat not feeling that the kittens are her own, and when she is left alone with them, she abandons them or attacks them.
Now that you know the real reasons why do cats eat or attack their kittens, you will be able to understand her without judging her. Following the information that we have provided, you have an excellent tool to prevent your cat from doing it again.
And always, remember that if you are not going to dedicate yourself to professional and responsible breeding, it is best to sterilize your cat. That way you can avoid increasing the feline overpopulation and that more kittens end up abandoned or suffering hardships on the street.