Do cats eat kittens

Both male and female cats can kill and eat kittens. This gross behavior though is more common in female cats. Mother cats are known to eat their kittens.

Marauding tomcats are usually the killer and eater of kittens. As such it is not uncommon for mother cats to hide the litter from these male cats. Tom cats would kill kittens sired by other tom cats although it would not be unheard of if they do kill and eat the kittens they have fathered.

The kittens can be considered as prey by the tom cats. Tom cats can kill kittens fathered by another tom so that the queen would soon be in heat again and they will have the chance to father the next litter.

Kitten killing and eating though is more commonly done by mother cats. What can be the reason for this behaviour? In the feline world, caring for the young is solely the responsibility of the female cat.

Cats are solitary animals. Cats only look for other cats during the mating season.

do cats eat kittens

Tom cats would go on their own way after mating with the female cats. The rearing of the kittens will be assumed by the mother cat. Mother cats would not only supply the nutritional needs of the litter but will also make sure that the kittens are protected.

Mother cats would look for a secure place, one where the kittens would be safe from the threat of predators. And when danger is perceived, the mother cat would painstakingly transfer the kittens one by one to another safe place.

Unfortunately, not all mother cats have maternal instinct…not all mother cats are mother material. Although not very common, some mother cats would kill and eat her kittens.

do cats eat kittens

Pregnancy and birthing hormones should develop the maternal instinct of mother cats. However, there are cases wherein the mother cat has not developed maternal instinct so that it would not know what to do during birthing. Hormonal imbalance would also cause a mother cat to see the kittens as prey. Cats are predators. The sight of the defenceless kittens would trigger the hunting instinct of the mother cat.

A mother cat would kill and eat a kitten that has a poor chance of surviving. Humans may not detect the abnormalities of a kitten but a mother would already know that the kitten would not thrive.

The kitten will be eaten as it would be a good source of nutrition.Do you want to know why do male cats kill kittens? Why do male cats eat kittens? Even, sometimes, mother mom cats kill and eat their kittens babies.

If you do own cats then you might have gone through the situations where your cat killed you kittens, right? You would have thought Why did my cat kill her kittens… In this post, we will be covering all that you need to know about your cats and their safety.

You will get to know at what age are kittens safe from tomcats. Why do cats eat their kittens after birth? Cats are considered to be solitary animals domestically and in the feral situation.

Cats are usually organized in groups just like the other cat family lions pride. Cat family groups are usually matriarchal and dominated by a female while the males only get to be available when one of the females is available for mating or is on the heat. Though it is uncommon to have some groups that have a resident male cat as the leader. Tomcats usually establish their territory and control it, this may be groups of female cats that he has control over and repels other male cats from coming to this territory.

This establishment of territory may include killing any kittens which may have been fathered by another male cat and have the genetic complements of the rival male. This happens to many other social animals too, few of the males will use their energy to raise the offspring of another male that is their rival. Cats have a great sense of scent that helps them to determine any intruders in their territory. If a tomcat gets scent markings of a rival tomcat he decides that the kittens that get born belong to the visiting tomcat.

This may cause him to kill all the kittens that may be born so that the females will not raise kittens that belong to his rival tomcats. This ensures that the females also come to heat much faster and he can sure of mating them again to ensure that the kittens that will come forth are his. When a tomcat takes over a new territory that was originally owned by another tomcat that may be dead or non-competitive, the new tomcat may be driven to kill the kittens that are in the new territory so that he may bring forth kittens that are his own.

Tomcats are behaviorally like lions and any itinerant tomcats are not always certain if the kittens belong to them or were brought by some other tomcat especially in an area where they are competing over the females there. This makes the mothers to have the responsibility of hiding the kittens at that stage when they are still vulnerable to the attack of the tomcat. Though there are some situations where the males kill their own kittens they sired, this could be limiting to them as they may not be able to pass their genes to the next offspring.

There are some tomcats that are benevolent in their approach and are considered to lack the instinctive nature or it may not have been developed well. This could be as a result of lack of other tomcats around that are that may result in it being less reactive.

There are instances when some breeders raise kittens with both the male and female are around and they tend to develop benevolence because of their hormonal state that makes them to tolerate kittens from another male and only drive them away by fighting as the kittens develop sexually.

Tomcats do not usually contribute to the raising of kittens but there are a few instances when some toms tend for the young ones, supply for their food and are willing to play with the kitten.

do cats eat kittens

Few toms would take up the responsibility of mothering kittens and the duties that come with it. Most toms do not know how to change these modes and when the play mode goes overboard, they would be highly aroused and become violent and their hunting instincts come live and they may attempt to kill the kittens. Toms like most other animals of prey have strong hunting instinct and once is active it may be hard to be switched off and this may be the reason why they may end up eating the kitten.

Cats usually exhibit neck biting behaviors especially when the mothers are lifting the kitten to move them from one place to another. Neck biting is also exhibited when the cats are mating and in showing dominance. At some points, a tomcat may try to assert its dominance over the kitten especially the unruly ones that keep on disturbing it. It asserting their dominance, they may end up breaking the neck of the kitten. In some other occasions, when a tomcat is attracted to a female cat that is nursing its young ones when her hormonal state makes her to invite sexual advances from tomcats but she is not ready to mate and repelled off the tomcat.

This could cause the tomcat to be frustrated and attempt to mount on her kittens and his force and energy may break the neck of the kitten. The size and the sound that is produced by the kitten is similar to that produced by prey. They are both small in size and also produce high pitched sounds and make fast movements that are similar to that of prey. These characteristics trigger tomcats to their hunting instincts and they end up eating the kittens just the same way they would treat prey.Birth is a miracle, but are you ready for what comes afterward?

Queens are mother cats, and most females have a natural nurturing instinct to love and care for their babies. According to Reference WebsiteSometimes, a mother cat does the complete opposite.

5 Real Reasons Mother Cats Eat their Babies

She might eat one or more of her kittens. Yes, it is normal behavior. Some cats will eat one kitten. Others will consume their entire litter.

Science remains uncertain why a cat or another species will do what we consider barbaric. The video below offers some hypothesizes researchers believe could explain the behavior.

Remember, it has no bearing on you as an owner. You can, however, try to understand why and take some steps to prevent it. Success will largely depend on why your mother cat would eat her kittens. It does provide her with nutrients that she passes through her milk to the surviving kittens. Remember, not all mothers will consume their kittens with birth defects. Some will choose to ignore them, which means not letting them feed.

If she does this, you can remove the kitten and hand-feed it. Merciful reasons are the easiest to prevent.


Ensure your cat has a safe area for her birth and while kittens still require her for survival. Another side of mercy is she will ensure she can produce enough milk for her litter. Your cat has a built-in instinct, much like the hamsters on the video. If her litter is too large, she might eat a few kittens to make sure she can provide enough milk for the remainder. Limit other animals from access, including other pets your mother cat might be comfortable with already.

Also, she can view other people as a threat. Once the kittens reach weaning age, you can typically introduce them to other household pets and other people. Do so gradually as to not overwhelm or endanger the kittens. We see this more with strays than household cats that receive a well-balanced diet before, during, and after their pregnancy. Pregnant cats require more nutrients, much like humans do. If your cat is finicky and refuses kitten food, speak with your vet about ways you can increase her fat, protein, and calorie intake.

Approach her nest with caution. Leave the food where you know she will find it. Once the kittens wean, you should consider capturing and spaying or neutering her and her litter. Your mother cat might move her kittens frequently.What could be more exciting for a cat lover than having kittens? You give your cat the best of everything during her pregnancy as you anxiously await the arrival of her babies. You even prepare a special place so she can have privacy when her kittens come.

You want to do everything you can to help your cat be the best mother possible! Most female cats have a strong maternal instinct. The majority of female cats end up raising happy, healthy babies.

But unfortunately, Mother Nature can be brutal, and for a few cats, having kittens results in tragedy. The events that will trigger a mother cat, also called a queen, to kill one or more of her kittens occur more often in feral cat populations than with pet cats. As strange as it seems, the likelihood of a feral queen to kill her kittens is sometimes related to the time of the year when her kittens are born.

For cats living in the wild, late fall, winter, and early spring are the toughest times of year to find adequate supplies of food. If a feral queen is struggling to find enough sustenance, she may feel that she cannot hunt enough prey to nourish a litter of kittens.

Do Male Cats kill Kittens? Why Do Male Cats Eat Kittens?

In those cases, sometimes feral cats will kill their kittens so they do not have to expend valuable energy raising the babies. The birth of several litters of kittens in one cat colony can also give rise to episodes of kitten abduction and killing. Typically, the more dominant female cat is the culprit.

There are many possible motivations for such disturbing behaviors. One cause is when a dominant queen wants to improve the survival chances of her own litter. Kitten killing is a more prevalent behavior in female cats than males, primarily because the social structure of a group of cats does not include the consistent presence of adult males among kittens and their mothers.

However, in some very specific situations, a tomcat will kill and even eat kittens. Occasionally, an unneutered tomcat will become involved in the kitten-rearing process.

Particularly when a litter of kittens is orphaned or has an incompetent mother, a tomcat will assume some of the mothering duties. If the tomcat becomes overwhelmed by his hunting instinct, he will inadvertently view the kittens as his prey. At that point he may dismember or even eat the kittens. Another problematic situation can arise when a tomcat attempts to assert dominance over an unruly kitten. Neck biting is one way that cats express their dominance.

The problem is that the automatic response of a kitten being held by the neck is to go limp. Kitten killing occurs most often with highly stressed and inexperienced mothers. Sadly, sometimes a queen will kill her kittens as a result of a frustrated protection instinct.One of the horrors of living with a nursing cat is coming home to find she gobbled up one, or two, of her own. You are not alone, lots of pet parents have witnessed this […].

You are not alone, lots of pet parents have witnessed this supposed cruelty, leaving them puzzled with the question, why do mother cats eat their kittens? A mother cat would eat one or all of her kittens if she perceives they are in danger. Also, a cat would eat a kitten or two if she is unable to produce enough milk for all her litter. You must provide enough cat to the mother cat during her nursing period. As absurd as it sounds, a mother cat eats her kittens out of love. It is a hard sacrifice she makes to ensure the survival of her litter.

Most females have a natural nurturing instinct to love and care for their babies. But sometimes, in this nurturing journey, a mother cat needs to make some tough choices. She will eat one or two of her kittens for the following reasons.

Sadly, stillbirths also happen in the feline world. When one of the kittens is born dead, the mum will immediately eat her.

This is done for several reasons. So, do not be too hard on your cat if she eats her stillborn babies. She is ensuring the survival and continuity of her litter.

In the remaining litter, some of them may be born with defects. Some of the congenital defects that affect newborn kittens include. Female cats are born with a strong maternal instinct that identifies the defective kittens in a litter. Defects can be both internal and external. Female cats are very territorial when they are expecting a litter. They will search for the hardest to find spots to give birth and nurture their kittens.

If they perceive their environment is under threat, they will take drastic measures. One is to move all kittens to other locations. If the danger is still imminent, the mother cat will have no choice but to eat her kittens.

She sees this as an act of mercy and love to her kittens- a more honorable death compared to being mauled by predators. Nursing cats interpret human interference as a threat to the litter. The cat will likely move the litter or eat the kittens in the process. A queen cat may also eat her kittens to reduce the litter to a more manageable size. It is easier to move two kittens to safety as opposed to six of them. In extreme cases, the cat may eat her entire litter. During the pregnancy period, a lot of mother cats lose their appetite.

Once the litter is born, they will want to compensate for lost nutrients. The first course is to eat the placenta to provide nutrients to the kittens through nursing milk.

Do mother cats eat their kittens?

The mother cat may also eat one or two kittens for nutrients. Stray cats suffer malnutrition more than domesticated felines.Cats are obligate carnivores which means they must have meat in their diet in order to survive.

Their primary ancestors lived on a diet of small rodents and birds. Cats require a high protein diet with a variety of different nutrients such as taurinearginine, calcium, niacin vitamin B3pyridoxine vitamin B6 and thiamine vitamin B1to name a few. Many of these nutrients are found in animals only, making a vegetarian diet impossible for cats. Dietary requirements will change during the different life stages.

There are two choices when feeding your cat, a commercially prepared dietor homemade. These can be further divided into the following:. A lot of pet owners choose a combination of the above. I personally prefer a combination of commercially prepared food AND some raw food, including uncooked bones to help keep the teeth in good condition.

Feline nutrition is such a complex science which I feel I do not understand enough for me to attempt a raw diet with my own cats.

Most pet shops and supermarkets sell raw, dry, canned and special diets. Brands available in the supermarket must meet the nutritional requirements of cats, however, the cheaper products often contain more fillers.

What Do Cats Eat? – What To Feed a Cat

These come in the form of carbohydrates, usually corn. Special diets are becoming increasingly popular. They cater to the following:. Manufacturers want to build brand loyalty and encourage pet owners to choose one brand, or type of food and stick with it. However much research goes into the production of cat food, I still prefer to feed a variety of foods for a number of reasons.

Developing fussy habits : If cats become accustomed to one type of food, problems can occur down the track if the food becomes unavailable, either temporary or permanent, or if the cat needs to switch to a prescription diet to manage a disease.

It is common for cats to go on hunger strike if they are not fed the food they have become used to which can be potentially life-threatening as cats who do not eat are at risk of developing hepatic lipidisos.

Pros and cons of different types of cat food: Each type of food has its pros and cons. My own four cats have a varied diet which consists dry food to graze on, canned or raw food twice a day, and chicken necks for dental health.

In some cases, your cat may be required to go on a prescription dietwhich is only available from your veterinarian. These diets help to manage a number of medical conditions. Including the following:. This depends on the age of the cat and underlying medical problems. Many pet owners prefer to leave dry food out for their cat all day for their cat to graze on.

Others prefer to put food down at set times. For my own adult cats, I put moist food out for my cats at breakfast and dinner time and leave a bowl of dry food for them to graze on. If you are feeding raw or canned food, remove any uneaten food after 30 minutes, particularly in warmer months. If you are routinely discarding food, it might be worth reducing the amount given. The list of what you should not feed your cat is too long to add to this article, but some big ones include:.

Most cats are lactose which are sugars in milk intolerant and drinking milk may result in an upset tummy and cause diarrhea.

If you want to give your cat milk, there are special cat milk available from your supermarket or pet store.When it comes to your cat, you want to make sure she has the best kind of cat food for her nutritional needs.

From time to time, you may be tempted to give her table scraps and special treats, but bear in mind that certain foods can be poisonous to her. These foods are typically poisonous when eaten in large quantities, but exposure to concentrated forms of onion or garlic, such as onion soup mix or garlic powder, can also be toxic.

Cats with symptoms of lethargy, weakness, reduced appetite, pale gums, and orange to dark red urine should be taken to the vet immediately. Just like humans, consumption of raw eggs or raw meat can lead to salmonella or E. Symptoms of the illness vary but can include vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. Salmonella and E. Raw eggs also contain an enzyme that can lead to skin and coat problems. Keep your cat from eating raw bones as well—she could choke on them, injure her digestive tract, or damage her teeth.

Chocolate contains substances called methylxanthines, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea, high body temperature, muscle tremors, abnormal heart rhythm, abdominal discomfort, increased thirst, and seizures. Methylxanthines are also found in caffeinated beverages and should be avoided. See your vet if your cat experiences any of these symptoms.

As a general rule of thumb, darker chocolates are more dangerous than milk and white chocolate. Alcoholic beverages and foods that contain alcohol can be dangerous for your cat. Ingestion can cause vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, disorientation, trouble breathing, coma, and even death. Raw dough causes expansion in the stomach, or creates alcohol in the stomach. If you think your cat has ingested even a small amount of alcohol, take her to the vet immediately.

Cats have trouble digesting the lactose in milk, which can cause an upset stomach or diarrhea. Most cats are only exposed to lactose from their mother's milk when they are kittens. Even a small amount of grapes and raisins can cause your cat to become ill — they can even lead to rapid development of kidney failure.

Within 12 hours of ingestion, vomiting sometimes occurs. Other signs that can show up within 24 hours include lethargy, diarrhea, reduced appetite, abdominal pain, decreased urination and abdominal pain.

Although it isn't clear why, grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in cats, and even a small amount can make a cat ill. Repeated vomiting and hyperactivity are early signs.

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