It is mostly a rare phenomenon found in cats, eating their own kittens. But that doesn’t really mean that kitten eaten cat is not the mother or a very bad mother. It is common and a part of natural behavior.
They may eat their own babies because of various reasons and under several circumstances. In this article, you will be getting an exact exposure and idea behind the reasons that are appropriate to consider.
By having a sudden sight on cat eating their kittens may probably be very disturbing to you and may even doubt there would be something wrong with the cat. But truly, it is a very common thing among cats.
Even eating kittens of their own is not only just sticked to mother cat, but also father cat does it. In most cases, cats, instead of eating, they just abandon kittens from the kindle.
The environmental factors, health issues internally, Dominance and territory instincts, concerns on other kittens, Dangers from predators, the misconception of prey, and their mental state.
These could be some of the top reasons of cats eating their own kittens. Let’s explore and deep dive into the cause of it in this article.
Why does mother cat eat their own kittens?
Sick born cat
The most common cause of cats eating their own litter is when they are born sick.
There is some standard reason behind this, cats give birth for many at a time, and all the puppies may born healthy, and some may be weak. This weakness of one or more puppy can create a problem for other litter too.
So, the mother cat recognizes it earlier and gets convinced in order to save all other newly born puppies, cats abandon the kitten which is born unhealthy and sometimes eat them off too so as to eradicate the problem completely.
Stress in cats literally makes them to do anything hilarious and unexpected. One of the things is eating its own litter. Yes, you read it right!!
Stress can make cats eat their own puppy may it be healthy or unhealthy; it does not matter. Many combined reasons cause anxiety in cats, especially the ambiance and environmental effects.
If cats give birth at a very disturbing place where you frequently have loud sound or noise, it disturbs the feline harmony and leads to stress. There is also another chance of cats eating puppies out of stress; that is when they tend to irritate them a lot by their noises and notorious unnatural behavior.
Frightened of predators
Predators like dogs or other carnivores that cat is afraid of can cause them to eat their own puppies. This happens because the small noises produced by kittens may give a clue to predators as a sign of the presence, making them easily identify and attack on them.
So, a disturbance from a single kitten can cause a threat to the entire litter and mother cat as well; hence, to save puppies, mother cats are forced to eat their own puppies.
Malnourishment in mother cat is also a significant cause of leading cats to eat their own puppies.
There are multiple reasons behind a cat getting malnourished, for instance, a cat giving birth at a very young age, getting pregnant twice in a year straight, some get weak while giving birth due to lack of proper food and when a cat gives birth to a high number of kittens at once.
These reasons may lead instinctively to eat off her kitten to make up all the lost or drained nutrients source from it and sometimes also limit the size of the kitten so that it can offer a good amount of resources sufficiently for them.
Feline mastitis is one of the common medical conditions that occurs in mama cat at the time of giving birth, which suffers them a lot.
The mammary glands get deeply infected, and in order to avoid spreading to its litter, it abandons them or eats them if there is intense pain. This infection is passed on to cats, especially when they tend to live in untidy conditions.
As we know, cats are carnivores and meat-eating animals; they eat their own prey if they fail to identify it. This happens mainly when the cat delivers their babies through the caesarean procedure.
Thus, cats don’t identify and confuse with their young prey hence eat them off without hesitation.
Why does a male cat eat their own kittens?
Male cats are dominant by default; it is their innate nature; they always try to show their dominant nature on their litter and on the female as well.
So, when the puppies, which tend to be more notorious, distracting, and disturbing to them, will be contended by the male father cat dominance leading to breaking their neck and eating them off.
Male cats are very strict about continuing their territory; they thrive on having their territory established and rule over it.
They never encourage to rise up the kittens of their rivals, so they just kill and eat them off whenever they found those kittens. Sometimes on being suspicious about their territory, they tend to kill all of their puppies and eat.
They have a unique sense of cat scent, which helps them predict and identify the intruders and becomes violent on them.
During the time of female cats feeding their kittens and taking care of, male cats get attracted to their hormonal state and tend to have sexual desires with them. But mother cat refuses it because of their duty to take care of their puppies, which makes males so hyper and violent, resulting in the killing of puppies and eating them.
Assuming as prey
Small kittens often resemble like prey, their size, sounds that they make, the way they move seems to be similar to that of prey, and male cats get confused by assuming them as prey. This instinct triggers them to kill their own puppies and eat them as their food.
How to prevent a cat from eating their own kittens?
Stress is one of the leading factors that tend the female cats to kill and eat off their own puppies. So, providing a stress-free ambiance for them is an extreme necessity.
They should be less exposed to sounds, bad climate, and living things around them. Overcrowding should not be around them, which decrease their fear levels and live freely, raising their kittens.
Cats must not be prone to malnourishment; this can be avoided by proper feeding and giving them all the essential nutrients during pregnancy. Make them healthy and leave them no reason to lessen their kitten quantity.
Good toileting space
A litter tray arrangement for your cats would be greatly appreciated as this untidy space would cause stress in them if not arranged. There is a danger of infections if the toileting space and living space are the same, so a litter tray just near to them visible at their sight will keep the danger away.
Supervision on cat and kittens
Clear monitoring or supervision on both mother cats and father cats is important to avoid them eating their own puppies.
Kittens also should be supervised because the mother cat may sometimes abandon a puppy from the mob for various reasons. Consulting your pet doc at this stage can help you know the reason and save them.
Tidy maintenance of space
Please keep the cat space clean and tidy all the time. This can make your cat be in a state of harmony, and kittens will be safe from infections and bacteria.
No handling of kittens
Never ever try to handle the kittens; this makes the mother cat stress and reacts so severely with the fear of separation. For the first two weeks, don’t touch them and ensure kittens and mama cat having a safe and motherly bond.
Picking and treating the weak kitten
By identifying a weak kitten out of the mob and treating would save not only that puppies but also the rest of the kittens. Early identification can eliminate the risk of mother cat becoming stressed and eating off their babies.