Why do cats eat their newborn kittens?

mother cat and her kitten eating her ear

The fact that having a pregnant cat is always a reason for joy, especially if the little ones have been able to be placed in good homes before they are born (something that, by the way, should be achieved to avoid problems later). But sometimes things don't go the way we expect.

You may have a good delivery, but if you are not entirely comfortable, the worst could happen. So if you've ever wondered whythe cats eat their kittens recentlyIn born, next I'm going to tell you about this strange behavior.


It is one of the most common causes. Humans who adore cats, especially children, when we see a litter of kittens we want to touch them, take care of them, be with them ... And that is just what the cat does NOT want. She wants to be calm, in her bed, and take care of her offspring by herself. Is ready for that. It does not need humans or other furry animals to be a mother.

For this reason, it is very important to provide you with a safe haven, like 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 there are any, other animals away from her.

Young born weak

When a female, of any breed, eats her sick or weak calf, she does so for good reason: in nature it would not survive and therefore you will not want to spend energy on caring for it. It's hard, but that's how it is. The cat, even if she lives in the best home in the world, follows her instinct.

And it is that, although humans can save the lives of the furry ones that are bad, our furry darling does not know it. So, it is advisable to be aware of the delivery, in case there were any young that were born badly.

cat mom pulls kitten away

Lack of maternal instinct

Sometimes what happens is that, simply, the cat has no interestis to take care of their young. It can happen if you are a new mother, if you are about to have heat again, or if you have felt stressed during pregnancy and / or childbirth for example.

Therefore, to save the greatest number of kittens you have to observe their behavior with them. If we see that they are in danger, we will separate them from the mother and we will take care of them (in this article we explain how).

Does not recognize their young

It occurs in cats that have needed a Caesarean section for example. And it is that during a natural childbirth the body releases oxytocin, which is a hormone that immediately makes you feel affection for your little ones and want to protect them; But of course, after an operation this does not always happen, so it may happen that you see your kittens but do not recognize them.

For this reason, and to reduce the risk of being eaten, avoid manipulating them as much as possible since the human smell eliminates that of the cat, which makes it more difficult to recognize them as his own.

Feline mastitis

La mastitis is a disease that affects the glands of the breasts of a wide variety of mammalian animals. Causes a lot of pain when they try to suckle, so much so that it can lead the mother to reject her young and even kill them so as not to feel it.

If it is not treated it is deadlyHence, it is very, very important to take her to the vet as soon as possible.

Feels threatened

The mother cat may feel threatened by other animals, including pets that the mother cat was comfortable with before, but now that she has babies, she no longer feels so secure. You may also feel that the people around you are a threat.

mother cat with her baby

Once kittens reach weaning age, this is usually the time when they can be introduced to other pets and people. It is necessary to do it gradually so as not to endanger the kittens. But before they are ready for weaning, this is not a good time to introduce them to you. because if the mother feels threatened she could end the lives of her babies.

Behaviors that are normal but are warning signs

There are some behaviors in mother cats that, although they are normal, they are signs that something is wrong and that the mother could end the life of her kittens due to stress or insecurity. In this sense, it will be necessary to pay attention to their behavior to prevent this from happening.

Move the kittens too much

The mother cat can move her kittens frequently. This may be a sign that you do not feel safe where it is located. If you find that she is feeling insecure, it will be better to provide her with a place where she feels sheltered, protected with her kittens and without being disturbed by anyone.

Reject kittens

Some mother cats may reject their litter or one of their kittens. Some factors that cause this to happen may be that humans are touching kittens too much or that they have a birth defect. In this sense, it will be necessary to limit interaction with kittens until they are at least four weeks old (unless their lives are in danger for some reason).

Ignore her kittens

It can also happen that a mother cat ignores her kittens, and this is not the same as rejecting them. Perhaps it feels on them, that it does not allow them to feed ... this may be a response for the environment. In this sense, it will be necessary to limit human interaction with kittens. and the cat and observe how her behavior evolves.

mother cat and her little babies

The cat is aggressive

Aggression can appear for various reasons, although the most common is because the cat feels threatened in some way. The cat could growl or attack other animals or people who approach her kittens to protect them, if she sees that it is not possible to protect them or feels that the threat is too real, then she could eat her litter. This is why it is so important to allow the cat to feel safe all the time. Observing the cat from a distance only interferes if her babies require emergency care.

What to do if the mother eats her kittens

It can be quite scary to watch a mother eat her kittens, but it is essential that you stay calm. Avoid overreacting as that will only make the situation worse. Instead of rejecting the cat, understand why she did it in the first place. Usually the cat has a reason for doing it, even if you don't want to see it.

Understanding what is going on with the mother and the kittens is the first step in dealing with the problem. If you realize that one of the kittens is weaker, you will have to lower the price of the litter to prevent the mother from eating it. You will have to feed him and keep him safe all the time. Remember that if you have to separate the kitten from its mother, you will be responsible for the baby cat until it is able to eat on its own.

I hope this article has been useful to you, but, above all, that do not see your cat with bad eyes or reject her. Think that she only acts on instinct, nothing more. Find out why the young are eaten so that you can prevent it from happening again. Anyway, let me remind you that if you cannot take care of the little ones, and to try to reduce the overpopulation of cats, the ideal is castrate her.

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  1.   yariel said

    My cat killed her four kittens today Wednesday 18'3'2020 when I got up to feed her mother I saw four heads of kittens under my feet and not believing it I still ran to the room in my yard away from the house and I could only see four bodies unrecognizable to what they were before. the truth is that I think it's my fault it was all my fault because I was very tired and I fell asleep in the moche and I forgot to give them their food and I think that's why I kill them if I know I'm terrible taking care of pets no matter what they are, how much take care of them, or how much love they always end up the same.

    1.    Monica sanchez said

      Hi Yariel.

      Do not torment yourself. Always leave the plate full of food, and that's it. So you don't have to be so aware.

      Cheer up.

  2.   Bianca villalba said

    My cat ate 1 kitten with less than a month but the kitten was born sick, she could not walk well she let it grow until its last moment when it stopped breathing she ate it

    1.    Monica sanchez said

      Hi bianca.

      Ugh, it's very hard. But sometimes it happens.
      In fact, it has done what any other animal would do in nature. It is sad, but the weak or sick cannot survive, unless a human can take care of them, of course.

      Cheer up.