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Mother Cat Crying For Kittens – Should I Be Worried?

If you have noticed your mother cat crying for her kittens you may be wondering if this is normal and if it is a cause for concern…

Why is my mother cat crying for her kittens?

While it seems like your kitty is suffering from the disappearance of her kittens, this may not be the case. Typically, within a period of 1 to 4 weeks, the momma-kitty can go right back into heat! During this time, she is going to be very vocal and it’s easy to mistake this for the sentiment.

If you don’t want more kittens, then you might consider spaying your kitty very soon or at the very least, keeping an eye on her.

If you go with the spaying, then you won’t have to worry anymore about kittens or heat cycles (at least at their current intensity) and it also lowers the chances of certain cancers, so it’s something to consider now that she has already had kittens.

What should I do if my cat is crying for its kittens?

A white cat outdoors on a wooden fence.

A white cat is outdoors on a wooden fence.

That depends on the scenario. If the kittens are still in the house, but currently being handled, then you should simply return them. Until they are 2 weeks of age, kittens shouldn’t be handled at all, or the very least not longer than a minute or two.

They are feeding every 2 – 4 hours and mom is likely to be quite protective at this time. If mom is crying because the kittens are no longer in the house, then she is probably in heat, and this might be a good time to consider spaying.

While mother cats love their kittens, cats are very independent, and if the kittens are already 8 weeks of age then they are ready to leave. Mom is instinctually wired to let them go and any sadness from this shouldn’t last more than a day or two.

Do cats usually miss their kittens when they are gone?

No, cats don’t usually miss their kittens. While they certainly love their young and are extremely attentive and protective of them, once the kittens leave their mom at around 8 weeks of age, she is instinctually driven to let them move on.

How do you know if your cat is feeling depressed?

Depression will typically show in several ways. Your cat may become lethargic, for instance, moving slowly or even napping longer than usual. Sometimes they won’t eat as much or might even go off eating altogether.

If your cat has gone off eating for 24 hours, it’s best to go ahead and get veterinary assistance.

While it could be depression, several other health conditions will present with lethargy and loss of appetite, so it’s good to get a professional opinion before these behavioral changes can make your cat’s health much worse.

How do you comfort a mother cat who lost her kittens?

A gray furry cat indoors and staring.

A gray furry cat is indoors and staring.

If your cat seems truly sad, then it’s time for you to step up the attention. Make room for your cat to sit close to you and coax them over with a treat, if needed. After that, a little petting, some favorite treats, and maybe even some play with a laser pointer are all good ideas.

Be patient with the process and make what extra time you can for her and within 2-3 days if she doesn’t ‘perk up’ then a checkup with the veterinarian is a good plan. Moms love their kittens, but felines are ‘programmed’ by instinct to let them go relatively easily.

If she’s still depressed after 2-3 days, then a health issue might be at play and you’ll want to determine this and begin treatment quickly if this is the case.

Do mother cats know when a kitten is missing?

Provided that the kitten is under 8 weeks of age, then yes, the mom will know if the kitten is missing for a long period and may attempt to try to find it. After 8 weeks, however, mom will typically let them go with little fuss – this is just the way that cats are at an instinctual level.

Sometimes mom will abandon a kitten, however, so if you keep finding one or two kittens being separated from the rest, then you should check with the veterinary clinic. Likely you will need to nurse the kittens, and depending on their age, they might need to feed every 2 to 4 hours.

Check with your veterinarian to be sure that this is the case, however, as sometimes you simply have one or two very curious kittens that are wandering off on their own!

How long will a mother cat cry for her kittens?

She’s probably not crying for her kittens, but rather for a visit from a nearby tom! Within 1 to 4 weeks of giving birth, momma-kitty is likely to go back into heat, and as this is very vocal then it’s easy to assume that she is grieving.

On rare occasions (especially if a kitten is given away before they are 8 weeks of age), the mom might well be missing her kitten, and may even do odd things like stealing stuffed animals and putting them in her nest.

If this happens, give her lots of extra attention – typically she’ll come around in a few days. While they are fierce and loving parents, once the kittens are ‘filed away’ mentally as being on their own, the mother cat’s instincts will help her to forget them or at least quickly move on.

Do cat dads know their kittens?

Typically, no. While cats can tell a lot about each other by sniffing (and this does include some information about relations), in feral cat colonies males are mostly driven to mate and then move on. As such, they won’t recognize their young by sight and may even act aggressively.

If you are keeping one of the kittens, it’s best to supervise all visits until you can accurately gauge dad’s response. Just treat the scenario as if the kitten was a stranger and be patient with the process.

How long do kittens miss their mom?

While mom will usually stop missing her kittens after a few days, it’s a little different with kittens, and it might be a week before they calmed down and accepted that they are now on their own. During this time, try to be friendly, just don’t overdo it.

Right now they are scared, so try to distract them with a little yarn or a laser pointer, and don’t be stingy with treats. Within 3 days to perhaps a week, your kitten should come around, and you’ll notice the change in attitude!

What happens to mother cat milk when kittens are taken away?

Mom actually should stop or significantly slow lactation about 8 weeks after birthing her kittens. This is normal, as by this age they are already sampling solid foods and are ready to make the switch. By the 10th week, lactation should stop completely, as the kittens will all be fully adjusted to solids at this time.

Lindsey Browlingdon