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-   -   Why are my two mother cats eating their kittens? (https://www.askmehelpdesk.com/cats/why-two-mother-cats-eating-their-kittens-98253.html)

  • Jun 3, 2007, 06:30 PM
    victornsandy
    Why are my two mother cats eating their kittens?
    We have had these two female barn cats which have had a few litters. We noticed a couple missing yesterday and today my husband found the mothers had moved them and were eating them. We thankfully saved the rest but I am really confused as to why they would do this. They are healthy one litter is 4 weeks old and the other litter is 5 weeks old. This has me just sick. I have tried looking it up online and can't find nothing they just say the male usually will if kittens are sick. Please help! :(
  • Jun 3, 2007, 09:23 PM
    Skell
    Sorry I don't have the answer to your question but reading that also made me sick. Im sure if you give it a little time someone will answer your question and hopefully resolve your problem.

    How horrible.
  • Jun 4, 2007, 12:31 AM
    DocWill
    You know when your are with all your friends and someone makes a joke and says yeah Its just like in the movie,. and you can't for the life of you remember the name of the movie. Well that's me right now,. I know a little why this happens but I can't remember what text book I read it from. I know just enough about it to piss you off is all. I can tell you its hormonal and territorial and most common in younger mothers competing for range. I will keep looking when its not so busy around here, there is a name for it and its driving me mad that I can't remember where I read it. I do remember I said OMG who would believe that, so I didn't pay a lot of attention to who taught it, (text book). See Ya!
  • Jun 4, 2007, 04:16 AM
    bushg
    The owner of my company's daschund did this, in this case only one had babies and the motherless dog ate one of the babies, she was trying to get the other one when the owner came home.. weird, the mother did not even try to protect her baby. My sister has barn cats... everyone drops their cats off at her barn. I will ask her if she has seen this particular behavior. She has said that the male will eat the babies so that the female will come back in heat sooner. ( I'm not sure if this is true or not). I sometimes rescue cat's and I have a neutered male that has never tried this,newborn kittens he will look at them and go away but the bigger they are he hiss'es and tries to slap at them. I know that you probably face the same issue as my sister, but it would be so great if you could have some of your females spayed.
  • Jun 4, 2007, 04:32 AM
    shygrneyzs
    Did you or any member of your family handle the kittens after they were born? If you did, this could a reason the mama cat ate her kittens - the strange smell to the mama. She could also kill them if she believes they are sick or if she knows they cannot survive, because her milk would not be enough for them all.

    I learned that from my Grandmother, who always had a barn cat in the farm yard.
  • Jun 4, 2007, 11:10 AM
    DocWill
    It has to do with a female nesting space and territory. Ironic how this doesn't happen in homes with one mother cat. Hmmmmmmmm I don't know the exact name of it why I can't find my text book is the reason I don't elaborate on it much more than that, I don't want to give incorrect or misleading info to sound good. So its driving me nuts that's I can't find it either. The hunt continues, lol
  • Jun 4, 2007, 03:29 PM
    victornsandy
    UPDATE!Thank you all for your time and trying to help me. Well DOCWILL you seem to be right. I had to have the one hurt kitten put down this morning and I asked the vet. That was the answer he gave. They will do it for territorial reasons and if they feel something is going to kill them they will do it first. It was a very terrible thing to have to go through! I had the wild mom cat put down with the kitten this morning and the friendly mom cat I am getting fixed I will make sure I will never have to go through this again. Also out of the six kittens that are left I will be keeping the males. (since the mom will be fixed)
  • Jun 6, 2007, 04:29 AM
    Ben H
    Rite no one nos for sure what triggers this in mom cats but we can that ;if you moved them from where dey wer born to some where else the mom won't like that, if you or any person in the house has made mom uncomfortable, handling the kittens, slapping mom, change in food, new family member(pet or person),wel good look
  • Jun 6, 2007, 04:34 AM
    catsandkittensandmittens
    How sad I did not know the cats did this maybe I need to do research before I get a cat/kitten.
  • Jun 6, 2007, 04:38 AM
    Capuchin
    I had a quick look around for you and found savaging

    Savaging - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    It's most prevalent in pigs but can be present in other animals. Aggressive behavior may be due to fear, discomfort, and unsanitary conditions. It seems like it may be genetic so she will probably do it again if she has more kittens.

    It just seems that you are unlucky with the cat that you have. I'm glad you managed to save most of the kittens.

    Please ensure that you're feeding her right and that she's comfortable, they seem to be the contributing factors.
  • Jun 6, 2007, 05:21 AM
    catsandkittensandmittens
    victornsandy, I don't understand were the momma's eating their own kittens or were the momma's fighting and eating each others kittens. Yucky, How mean
  • Jun 10, 2007, 11:43 PM
    Capuchin
    CATS THAT KILL KITTENS

    I found this article. It lists these reasons:

    * Mother can't "switch off" hunting behavior
    * Mother thinks kitten is defective
    * Mother thinks kittens have poor chance of survival anyway (due to food shortage or external threat)
    * Handling by others obscures mother's scent on kittens, so she doesn't recognize them as her own
    * (Rare) Excessively enthusiastic grooming of the kittens kills them

    It's important to remember that the mother has expended a lot of energy in the pregnancy and birth, so making an easy meal of a kitten can be a very advantageous behavior.
  • Jun 12, 2007, 06:03 PM
    newlablover
    I tried to do search to find the exact name but nobody has it posted on any other site that has asked the same question. Sorry.
  • Dec 13, 2008, 07:10 PM
    catsman_123
    Your two kittens are probably very sick. Being a cat person myself, I own many cats and kittens. I have never had female cats try to eat their kittens, but in males it is common if the cats are sick. You should take your kittens to the vet, if they are not sick, then do not worry, because it most likely will not happen again. Good luck.
  • Jul 4, 2010, 03:07 AM
    cutyvill
    The mother feels that she will have one or two in her belly just if her babies died or went missing she will think that she still have a couple of kittens inside of her...
  • Jul 4, 2010, 03:07 AM
    cutyvill
    The mother feels that she will have one or two in her belly just if her babies died or went missing she will think that she still have a couple of kittens inside of her...

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