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Cat ate one of her kittens.....

Discussion in 'Cat Chat' started by StaceyBayliss, Jul 13, 2017.

  1. StaceyBayliss

    StaceyBayliss PetForums Newbie

    Jul 13, 2017
    Likes Received:

    Looking for a little advice. I have a 1 and a half year old cat called Shelby. I hold my hands up and say I should have gotten her spayed but I didn't. I have a lot of regrets about it all but there's not much I can do to change what's happened now. She will be getting spayed ASAP.

    Last week she had kittens. 7 adorable kittens. She has been absolutely great with them. I have been sleeping downstairs since she gave birth with her and the kittens and keeping a close eye on her and them. Last night I decided to sleep upstairs but now I really regret my decision as when I came down this morning she had killed one of her kittens.

    I know from reading that some cats do this as it's instinctual and maybe the kitten had something wrong with it that I nor anyone but her could see. I've also read they can do this whilst under a huge deal of stress. Today she isn't acting any differently, she seems to be a very good Mother to the remaining 6. She doesn't seem stressed out.

    I'm concerned that me leaving her may have made her have that reaction towards the kitten? The kitten had been taken to the sofa and she had eaten it's insides..... It wasn't the smallest kitten either it was one of the largest....

    I'm obviously worried about where I go from here now. Do I trust her with the remaining kittens? do I take them away from her? what should I do?
  2. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

    Nov 22, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Hi @StaceyBayliss - it is possible your mother cat did not kill the kitten but that it died of natural causes during the night. The theory is that mother cats then sometimes eat the body as a way of removing it from the nest or the area around the nest, or to reabsorb some of the valuable nutrients from the kitten.

    Such young kittens can in some cases go downhill quickly if there is something wrong with them, so one of them dying is not that uncommon..

    Another possibility is the kitten did not smell right to the mum cat because it had a health problem. The mum cat would not want to waste valuable resources (her milk) on raising a sickly kitten.

    Mother cats do also sometimes kill and eat their kittens if the nest is disturbed or the kittens handled too much, especially if handled by a stranger. But if the cat and her kittens have just been handled by you I wouldn't think this is the cause.

    And sometimes a mum cat might kill one or more of her kittens and may eat them if they are worried they don't have enough resources to feed a whole litter. In this case it may not be the smallest she kills, but the one whom she perceives is taking most of the milk.

    As to whether your mum cat might kill or eat another of her kittens, I am not sure it is possible to predict. If mum cat decided another kitten is sickly then perhaps she might. However the stronger the kittens get as they grow, the less likely it is to happen.

    If you were to remove the kittens from the mum cat you'd have to hand rear them yourself and it is very hard work and tiring, involving 2 hrly feeds night and day. Even then not all of them may survive as hand rearing is rarely as good as mum cat's milk.. I wouldn't recommend it, it'd be different if the kits were orphans, then there would be no choice. \but as the kittens have their mum I think it is best they stay with her.

    Are you weighing the babies every day using digital scales and are they gaining weight nicely? If so it would suggest that mum cat is producing enough milk. If some of them are not gaining enough weight then there may be a problem and you may need to give supplemental feeds of kitten replacement milk.

    Is mum cat getting lots of high quality wet food to eat, as much as she wants? Nursing mum cats may eat 500 grams of wet food a day, or more. Are you giving her extra fluids such as home made chicken broth? To make milk she needs lots of fluids. Do not give her dry food.

    In view of what has happened (her eating a kitten) it is essential she is not allowed to breed again (as the possibility of harming her babies could be inherited behaviour and her kittens may in turn be allowed to breed and harm their babies) So it is a good thing you will be getting mum cat spayed.

    PLEASE NOTE : she can get pregnant again right away even while nursing her kittens, so be absolutely sure she cannot get out of the house until after she is spayed. .

    A good time to have her spayed would be when the kittens are aged about 6 wks old and partly weaned onto solids but also topping up with milk from mum as a comfort.

    In your place I think I would go back to sleeping in the room with the mum and kits for a while, in case mum cat needs reassurance from your closeness.
    #2 chillminx, Jul 13, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2017
    StaceyBayliss likes this.
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