Why do mother cats eat their kittens?

In this brief discussion, we’ll answer the question “why do mother cats eat their kittens?” We will also discuss how to make sure the mother cat doesn’t eat its kitten.

Why do mother cats eat their kittens?

Mother cats eat their kittens when they sense danger. It may be because they are feeling unsafe or because they sense that the kitten is sick. Cats are more likely to consume their kitten when it is stillborn.

 Feeding on the kitten helps to provide them with the nutrients they need to survive the rest of the process of labour. Fortunately, this behaviour is not extremely frequent, but it is possible. 

What drives mother cats to eat their kittens?

Even though this behaviour is uncommon in cats, this can happen due to a number of reasons. Some of those reasons are discussed below:

The kitten is unhealthy or stillborn

One of the most frequent causes for a cat to consume one of her kittens is when it is sick or malnourished and unlikely to survive. The mother will devour the kitten to spare its pain in this situation. 

Many people believe that cats can smella disease. Cats have more than 200 million odour sensors in their noses, and they can use their keen sense of smell to detect things that we can’t. 

A sick or stillborn kitten puts the rest of the litter at risk because if it passes away, the germs might swiftly spread, leaving the other kittens defenceless. Therefore, some cats might eat their newborn kitten.

The litter is in danger

The cat may eat its kitten if the rest of the litter is in danger because of it. For at least the first week following birth, your cat will not accept any interference with the litter. 

She will start to shift it if somebody gets too close since she will believe the location is not secure. Most experts advise staying away from the nesting location at all costs for a week or two because if she can’t move it or feels like it is too difficult, she might devour one or more of the kittens.

Because they feel protected and will typically shift the nest if you go too close, cats in excellent homes are quite unlikely to consume their babies. 

The mother may consume the kittens to relieve stress if she feels they are insecure in the wild, where your cat confronts risk from several predators who may view them as an easy meal.

The mother cat may eat its kitten after a long stressful labour

Some felines can give birth for up to three days. The cat may eat and drink throughout this time, but it may suffer greatly as a result of the process. The cat may eat a kitten to make up for missing nutrition after one of its frequent long deliveries. 

Since cats are obligate carnivores, eating a kitten will help it continue to give birth by providing it with vital nutrients. Although it’s uncommon, some inexperienced mothers have been known to devour their kittens.

Your cat might just know how to eat them, or they might be excessively rough, killing and then eating the corpse without meaning to.

The mother cat may eat its kitten if it doesn’t recognize it

Another reason to stay away from newborn kittens is that your cat will use its keen sense of smell to recognize its offspring. 

Your cat might confuse the kitten for a predator at the smallest change in scent, in which case it won’t think twice about killing for the benefit of the litter. Frequently, all it takes is one touch to alter a kitten’s fragrance and perplex the mother.

Why do malnourished cats eat their kitten?

Malnourished cats eat their kittens because they are underweight and need the nutrients that come from consuming their kittens. She frequently consumes the placenta as well. 

The entire litter may be consumed by a cat that is very underweight. If there are any remaining kittens, their intake of nutrients will be enhanced through breast milk, therefore the death of one can benefit the health of many.

How can I make sure my cat doesn’t eat its kitten?

Keeping your cat healthy when she’s not pregnant is the greatest method to stop her from eating her babies. Give her a quiet place to give birth away from people and commotion when the time comes. 

In order to avoid giving her the impression that the safety of the litter is in jeopardy and to reduce the likelihood that she would devour the kittens, resist the urge to interfere in any manner.


We answered the question “why do mother cats eat their kittens?” We will also discuss how to make sure the mother cat doesn’t eat its kitten.