Why Do Cats Typically Eat Their Kittens? 7 Causes for this Conduct

Mother cat carrying her kitten

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Dr. Paola Cuevas

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In case you are breeding cats or maintain stray cats that steadily have kittens, one of the vital terrifying and upsetting issues you might be prone to expertise is seeing your mom cat eat considered one of her infants. Fortunately, it’s not quite common, however it’s doable. If there’s the potential for kittens in your future, maintain studying whereas we take a look at why cats do that and the way probably it can happen below your watch so that you might be higher ready.

The 7 Causes Why Cats Eat Their Kittens

1. It’s Unhealthy

One of the widespread causes a cat will eat considered one of her kittens is as a result of it’s diseased or unhealthy and unlikely to stay. On this case, the mother will eat the kitten instinctively. Cats have greater than 200 million odor sensors of their nostril, and so they can use their acute sense of scent to detect issues we will’t, and many individuals imagine that illness is likely one of the issues they’ll scent. An unhealthy kitten poses a hazard to the remainder of the litter as a result of if it dies, micro organism can rapidly unfold, leaving the opposite kittens weak.

newborn kittens sucking milk
Picture Credit score: NataVilman, Shutterstock

2. It’s Stillborn

Like we simply talked about, a useless kitten can rapidly unfold micro organism to the remainder of the litter, so the cat has no selection however to eat it whether it is stillborn.

3. The Litter Is in Hazard

You would possibly ask why you couldn’t take away the sick or useless kitten so the cat wouldn’t eat it. The reply is as a result of your cat will tolerate no interference with the litter for at the very least the primary week after start. Any makes an attempt to get close to it can trigger her to assume the spot shouldn’t be safe, and she’s going to start to maneuver it. If she will’t transfer it or feels that it’s too troublesome, she would possibly eat a number of of the kittens, so most specialists suggest preserving away from the nesting space in any respect prices for every week or two.

Cats with good houses are extraordinarily unlikely to eat their kittens as a result of they really feel protected and can often transfer the nest if you happen to get too shut. Within the wild, your cat faces hazard from a number of predators which may see the kittens as a simple meal, and the mom would possibly eat the kittens to scale back stress if she feels they don’t seem to be safe.

mother cat licking her newborn baby after giving birth
Picture Credit score: Goldziitfotografie, Shutterstock

4. A Lengthy Annoying Labor

Some cats can go into labor for 3 days or extra. Whereas the cat might eat and drink throughout this time, the method can take an infinite toll on it. Lengthy deliveries can typically depart the cat famished, and it could eat a kitten to regain among the vitamins it misplaced. Cats are strict carnivores, and so they can get better essential vitamins from consuming a kitten that may assist it proceed giving start.

5. Inexperience

It’s uncommon, however inexperience might be responsible for some first-time moms consuming their kittens. Your cat might not know what to do apart from consuming them, or they could be too tough, unintentionally killing after which consuming the useless.

6. Malnourished

One of the widespread causes a cat would possibly eat considered one of her kittens within the wild is that she is malnourished and requires the vitamins she will get from consuming her younger. She may also often eat the placenta. If the cat is extraordinarily underweight, it could eat all the litter. If there are kittens left, they’ll obtain elevated vitamins by breast milk, so the sacrifice of 1 can enhance the well being of many.

Fortunately, it’s rarer in America for a pet cat to be underweight to the purpose the place it might want to eat a kitten to outlive. Some specialists recommend that as many as 50% of cats over the age of 5 are overweight and will stand to lose a couple of kilos.

a newborn kitten drinks its mother's milk
Picture Credit score: Rembolle, Shutterstock

7. It Doesn’t Acknowledge the Kitten

One more reason to keep away from getting near the kittens when they’re first born is that your cat will use its sturdy sense of scent to establish its offspring. The slightest change in scent may trigger your cat to mistake the kitten for a predator, and it’ll not hesitate to kill for the sake of the litter. A single contact is usually all that’s required to alter the scent of a kitten and confuse the mom.

Do Male Cats Eat Kittens?

Male cats don’t eat kittens and are extra involved with defending their territory and gathering females for mating. There’s little danger that the daddy will even get near the kittens through the first few weeks. However, male cats would possibly kill kittens to determine dominance and induce a feminine into warmth.

How Can I Assist Guarantee My Cat Doesn’t Eat Her Kittens?

One of the simplest ways to stop your cat from consuming her kittens is to maintain her wholesome when she shouldn’t be pregnant. Be sure to feed your queen an enough and nutritious weight loss program throughout being pregnant and lactation. When it’s time to offer start, present her with a non-public space away from site visitors and noise. Resist the temptation to intrude in any approach, so that you don’t make her really feel that the litter’s security is compromised, and there shall be a low danger of her consuming the kittens.


The probably purpose your cat will eat a kitten is that it was born unhealthy or stillborn. Your cat would possibly eat the kittens for any of the opposite causes, however they’re extra widespread in feral cats dwelling within the wild with out the advantage of meals and shelter.

We hope you might have loved studying over this brief information, and it has helped reply your questions. If we have now helped you study one thing new about your pet, please share our look into why cats generally eat their kittens on Fb and Twitter.

Featured Picture Credit score: Lucie Bartikova, Shutterstock

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