Reasons mother cats eat their kittens

when do mother cat eat her kittens and how to prevent it

Seeing a cat eat one or more of its newborn kittens can be a sad sight, and this event usually leads to shock, frustration, and even disgust. Stray cats, who live in the street, eat their babies because of their very risky living conditions, while cats that live at home and have better living conditions do not eat their young because they receive special care and ensure that their kittens stay away from dangers.
In this article, we'll talk about why cats eat their kittens, and how we can help cats keep their little ones from them. 

Here are the main reasons why cats eat their babies:

1. The young age of the mother cat: 
the cat may become pregnant when it is young and the instincts of motherhood are not complete, so it is confused about her newborn babies, which may provoke her instinct to prey because she is young she does not understand that they are her kittens and she has to protect them and not to eat them.

2- Mercy death for the sick kitten: 
The mother cat sens by nature that the chance of survival of her sick baby is very low. To rid him of the pain of illness, she decided to end his torture with pity for him, to rest herself from the hardship of taking care of him in vain, and to provide her energy and milk to his brothers.

3. Sudden danger: 
The cat kills its kittens in case of danger. She is forced to run away and survive on her own and those who can carry with her, kittens, and she kills those she cannot carry for fear of predation.

4- Breeding season: 
One of the reasons why a cat may kill its babies. Having them out the breeding season, so she eats them to have a greater chance of the breeding season.

5. Lack of food: 
The birth of kittens in winter prompts the mother cat to eat some of her kittens because there is not enough food.

6- Survival Struggle: 
The stray mother cat kills other kittens from the same group. So that her young in this group have a better chance of life.

7- Fear of infection: 
When a kitten becomes ill, the mother fears for the rest of her other babies from infection. so she has to kill her sick baby and eat it.

8- The scent of the kitten changes: 
Sometimes, someone touches the kittens and plays with them, so the mother cat won't recognize the smell of the little one and thinks he is not one of her kittens and kills him.

Ways to protect kittens from their mother cat:

Some cats need help, especially those who are raised at home and depend on their owner for food and drink, so in order not to reach the situation where cats eat their babies, you should follow the following:

  • Watch the mother cat and count her kittens from the moment they are born, continue to follow her behavior with her young, and make sure that her behavior sits with them.
  • You need to provide food and drink to the mother cat so that she feels satisfied and does not need to eat her babies and to be able to provide them with enough milk to meet their needs.
  • Protect the cat and its young from any external tension, and provide a safe place for them so that they do not panic and use abnormal protective methods for them.
  • Try not to touch the kittens, so that their smell does not change on her, and so that she does not enter into a conflict between the reality of her kittens or not. 
  • Sometimes it may be necessary to separate the mother cat from its young if its behavior changes significantly, and it does abnormal things towards its kittens by negligence.
  • Care for the mother cat, and take her to the veterinarian if it is observed that there is inflammation in her nipples or ulcers, etc.

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