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Can A Mother Hurt Her Kittens By Carrying Them?

If you have a mother cat that keeps carrying her kittens around, you may be wondering what, if any, damage this can cause…

Can A Mother Cat Hurt Her Kittens By Carrying Them?

Mother cats won’t intentionally hurt her kittens by carrying them. Often, she is moving them to a more suitable location that is warm or is bringing her kittens to safety. She will use her mouth to carry them, but she’s not biting them or sinking her teeth into her kittens when she is doing so. 

Sometimes, it might look as though she is hurting her kittens because they might be wiggling around. She might have accidentally grabbed them by the wrong part of their neck or throat, though she wouldn’t do this intentionally.

How Do Mother Cats Carry Their Kittens?

Three kittens of different colors staring.

Three kittens of different colors staring.

The proper way cats carry their kittens is by grabbing the scruff of their neck using their mouths. There is a specific spot of extra skin and fat that is located at the back of a cat’s neck for this specific purpose.

Often, when mother cats grab the right part, kittens will instantly relax and let mom do her thing. This reflex is inherent in kittens, but it’s a temporary reflex.

Do Mother Cats Bite Into A Kitten When They Carry Them?

Mother cats do use their teeth when carrying their kittens, but they don’t bite down on their kittens in a way that would hurt them. The extra skin at the back of a cat’s neck, referred to as their scruff, ensures that mother cats aren’t going to bite into a sensitive part of a kitten and harm them.

Your mother cat can sense when she has used enough pressure from her teeth to appropriately lift and carry her kitten, so she can avoid using too much pressure and accidentally biting her babies.

Why do Do Mother Cats need To Carry Their Kittens?

Mother cats will carry their kittens because they want to move them to a place that they feel is safe, and warm, and will provide all the necessities of life. Before cats were domesticated, mothers would often move their kittens from the nesting area to a place where no predators could find them or where they could be safe and warm.

She might also move her kittens if the area they are in is too loud or if they are trying to keep their kittens away from humans. Sometimes, mother cats can be protective when their kittens are still very young even if she trusts you completely.

Is It Cruel For A Human To Carry A Kitten By Its Scruff?

Humans should never carry kittens or cats by their scruff. The scruff is present for the sole purpose of mothers being able to transport their young kittens. It can not only hurt kittens to be carried by their scruff with human hands, but we don’t have to carry any kitten or cat this way.

Do Mother Cats Know If They Are Hurting Their Kittens?

Mother cats will never intentionally hurt their kittens, and if they make a mistake and try to carry their cat to the wrong spot, they will usually notice and put the kitten down. A first-time mom, for example, is still learning how to mother her kittens, and she will not be perfect every time despite how much she will try.

If your mother cat happens to pick her kitten up incorrectly, the kitten will usually make some noise or try to get away. Mothers will often understand she’s accidentally hurt her kitten and will adjust accordingly.

Should I Let My Cats Move Her Kittens?

You should support your cat in the way she wants to keep her kittens safe and healthy. She knows what she is doing. While you should ensure everyone is eating, has water, and has a clean place to sleep, you don’t want to linger over everyone too much.

How Long After A Cat Has Kittens Can You Touch Them?

You shouldn’t try to handle newborn kittens, despite how tempting it might be. Not only are newborn kittens fragile, but your mother cat may not be too happy if you try to handle her babies. You will have to wait a few weeks and/or until your mother cat doesn’t seem to mind when you’re around for an extended period.

Some experts disagree that waiting a few weeks to handle newborn kittens is what’s best for their development. You might have to adjust when you handle the kittens depending on their health, the health of the mother, and what the mother allows you to do.

Why Does My Cat Let Me Touch Their Kittens?

A newborn orange kitten being held by a person.

A newborn orange kitten is being held by a person.

Some mother cats won’t mind if you pet their newborn kittens shortly after they are born. If you have the type of relationship with the mother cat that she trusts you to be around her kittens, it won’t harm them should you give them some attention and affection.

It’s a huge compliment for a mother cat to see you as a safe presence in her kitten’s life.

Can A Male Cat Be Around Newborn Kittens?

If a male cat or the father of the kittens happens to be in the home, they don’t need to be around newborn kittens. Furthermore, it may not be the safest option to allow male cats around newborn kittens or moms. It’s not often that male cats have paternal instincts, and they might even be a threat to both mom and the kittens.

Mom cat will protect her kittens, which could cause a fight between mom and the male cat. That said, a male cat may simply play with the kittens. Some male cats have been known to assist females in grooming and caring for kittens.

However, this is not a common occurrence, and trying to make this happen can be more trouble than it’s worth.

If you happen to have a male cat, keep mom and her kittens in a separate room that is set up properly for them, and keep the male cat away from that room for as long as needed.

Lindsey Browlingdon