Some people believe that raising a cat is easy. After all, cats don’t require daily walks, and they’re easily trained to use litter boxes. But if we’re being honest here, cats can be quite a handful to deal with.
They get cranky, walk away when you want to cuddle, and accidentally —or not-so-accidentally— scratch you while you’re playing.
These are all behaviors we’re pretty used to when living with cats. The same can’t be said about a mother cat biting and kicking its kittens. For cat owners who have not experienced their cat giving birth before, this can come as a rather shocking experience.
In this article, we’re going to discuss why your mother cat is behaving this way and how you can help deal with it.
Table of Contents
Mother Cat Biting And Kicking Kittens: A Summary
A mother cat might start biting and kicking her kittens because she’s either training them how to survive or showing them she’s in charge. As long as she’s not causing a serious injury and there’s no blood, you have nothing to worry about. If damage does occur, keep them separated from each other.
Why Your Cat Is Biting And Kicking Her Kittens
There are multiple reasons your cat might be acting a tad bit aggressive towards her newly born kittens. While it is entirely normal most of the time, there are other times when it can get a little out of hand—knowing when you need to interfere and when not to is essential as their owner.
The main reason you’ll see a mother cat act roughly towards her kittens is that she’s trying to show them the skills needed to survive in the real world. She’s likely demonstrating how to act, fight, and hunt for whatever situation they may encounter away from the safe comfort of their home.
She might also be trying to make them understand that she’s the one in charge as long as they’re in the house.
Usually, you won’t need to interfere here as the mother is not doing any real damage to her kittens. However, This is not always the case. Here are all the reasons why your mother cat is rough towards her kittens and what you can do to help them.
Young Cats With No Maternal Knowledge
There are cases where the mother cat is still a kitten herself. Being a few months old, young cats usually don’t know how to deal with their newly acquired responsibilities.
They’re often confused, so they either look for help from you, or they’ll unknowingly play a little too hard with their kittens. Of course, this might cause the kittens some distress from the rough treatment.
Usually, cats like this will carry their kittens around a lot, accidentally sit or sleep on them, kick them multiple times while playing, and not give the kittens the attention they need.
Related: How can I help a kitten that is trying to nurse on a spayed cat?
Cats Get Jealous Too!
Another reason why your cat is being violent towards her kittens is jealousy. While pregnant, cats are usually showered with love and care by their owners. Getting cuddled whenever they needed, provided with the best food quality, and seeing their bowl full without them needing to demand a refill.
Throughout this period, your cat gets used to this undivided attention.
However, once they give birth, they might feel like you’re focusing a little too much on the new family additions and neglecting them.
Even if you aren’t necessarily ignoring the mother, her being used to your complete attention before all of this ordeal will cause her to get jealous of her kittens. And in return, act aggressively or ignore them.
Sick Or Deformed Kitten
Most of the previous cases were on the mild end of the spectrum, with your mother cat simply being rough with her kittens but not causing any actual damage.
This, unfortunately, is not always the case. There are situations in which your cat will take it too far and seriously injure her kitten, or in a worst-case scenario, kill it.
Cats tend to do that when there’s something wrong with the kitten —It can either be a type of deformity or sickness—sometimes, there’s nothing wrong at all, but you’ll notice that your cat is still hurting the kitten or completely neglecting it.
How You Can Help Your Cat When This Happens
The best thing to do when you notice your cat hurting her kitten to the point of injury or bleeding is to separate them. Make sure to keep the mother away from the little one as much as possible. Only allow interaction when you’re there to supervise them, so you can intervene if anything dangerous occurs.
In cases like this, the kitten is usually too young and still requires maternal care, so be sure to keep her warm as much as possible, help her when it’s time to use the litter box, and provide her with the needed nutrition to eat.
If it’s too soon to feed her normal food to replace her mother’s milk, you can feed her kitten formula specially made for baby cats.
Try to avoid giving her regular cow milk or milk intended for human babies as much as possible because they might cause her to become sick later on.
Make sure to arrange an appointment with your vet and take both the mother and all her kittens to check for any abnormalities and for tips on how to deal with them.
Recommended: I can see my cat’s heart beating, is that normal?
When To Return The Kitten To the Mother
Only return the kitten back once it’s grown, and you notice the mother accepting and getting used to its presence. You can also ask your vet for the appropriate time to make sure you don’t return it too soon or wait too long.
In this article, we discussed the multiple reasons why a mother cat is biting and kicking kittens and how you can help them get through this phase. Hopefully, after close supervision and, of course, love and care towards both parties, the mother and kitten can return to each other’s side.
And you can finally spoil the little feline family as much as you were looking forward to!
I’ve been living with cats since 2008 and I can confidently say I have more feline friends than humans lol. I currently live with 5 cats in different life stages; two of them are less than one year old, one is 2-ish years old and the oldest two are 9-ish years old. I’ve developed a strong bond with cats over the years and I’m eager to share my experience through this blog. You can learn more about my cats here.