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Why Won’t My Cat Stay With Her Newborn Kittens?

If you have noticed that your cat will not stay with its newborn kittens this may seem odd, concern you,, and make you wonder why it’s happening…

Why Won’t My Cat Stay With Her Newborn Kittens?

There are health conditions that can cause this type of behavior. Mastitis, for instance, is an inflammation of the breast tissue which can cause a mother not to be able to nurse her kittens.

If mom is showing signs of physical discomfort and labored breathing, she might even have a kitten stuck in her birth canal!

If you see signs of discomfort or if the mom continues to stay away from the kittens, then it’s best to call your vet for the next steps – something is wrong.

Is it normal for a cat to not stay with newborns?

A brown cat licking a gray cat by the window.

A brown cat licking a gray cat by the window.

The occasional trip away from the kittens is perfectly normal. Mom is very stressed and sometimes she is going to need a little break to stretch and to catch a few moments of peace and quiet. As long as she is coming back to the kittens, then it is likely just fine.

Mom should be feeding her kittens every 2 to 4 hours, so as long as this is happening, then you won’t need to worry. Sometimes mom just needs a little space!

What should I do if my cat won’t attend to her newborn kittens?

If momma kitty is not taking care of her babies, then you want to get the vet involved right away. Kittens are very fragile, requiring feedings every 2 to 4 hours. Mom is going to be very delicate and stressed at this time, so you should call your vet first instead of simply bringing her and the kittens in.

Your vet may advise you to bring them in any way or might recommend some formula that you can use with the kittens until mom can focus properly again on her young. Just make sure to call first, as moving them all right now is going to add a lot of stress to an already stressful situation.

How do you know if your cat is rejecting her kittens?

Kittens need regular feedings, especially when they are newborns, at which time bi-hourly feedings should be the norm. When mom rejects her kittens, usually it will be with one or two of them, and mom will typically move them away from the rest.

This is sometimes accompanied by hissing or even biting at the isolated kittens when they attempt to push and crawl toward their mom. If you see this sort of behavior, something could be wrong with the kittens, or the mom might simply be stressed.

You must contact your Vet immediately as you will likely need to nurse these kittens on your own to give them a chance at survival.

How long will a mother cat stay with her kittens?

Two kittens outdoors next to each other staring.

Two kittens outdoors next to each other staring.

Mom is going to wean her kittens at around 6 weeks of age; however, they are still going to be too fragile and uncoordinated to function well on their own. As such, expect mom to stay with them until they are at least 10 weeks of age.

By this time, they will be much less clumsy and better prepared to take care of themselves.

Can you touch newborn kittens?

That will depend on what the mother allows, but veterinarians don’t recommend touching kittens while they still have their eyes closed. At this point in their development, these little ones are quite fragile, and mom will be grooming and feeding them quite regularly.

Let mom tend to them for now – this time is vital to their overall health and development, so it’s best to wait until the kittens open their eyes before trying to pick up and handle them.

Why is my cat laying on top of her kittens?

If the mom is laying on top of the kittens, then this is typically for one of 3 reasons. First off, your kitty might not simply have enough space. If her birthing nest seems a bit crowded, then put some comfortable bedding into a cardboard box to give mom a nice place with a little more room.

First-time moms may also do this, simply out of inexperience, but if you have another pet or if the room is occasionally loud, then mom may be stressed and cover the kittens to protect them. Make a comfy space, as previously described, and try to ensure that you put it somewhere quiet and peaceful.

This will give mom room to move around and she will feel much less stressed.

How do I know if my mother cat is feeding her kittens?

You’ll be able to see the kittens nursing if the mom is feeding them. Feeding sessions take up to 45 minutes at a time, so you should be able to spot one as it is occurring. When they are young, the kittens should be feeding every 2 hours, so with a little patience, you should be able to confirm feeding visually.

You can also simply check one of the kittens. Their little bellies should be plump and full after feeding and usually, after each session, they will take a long nap to digest and for their bodies to make use of the milk.

Feel their bellies and if it seems like they are NOT feeding, then call your vet right away for the next steps!

How can I get my cat to accept her kittens?

The best thing to do is to provide a comfortable, warm nesting box that is located somewhere isolated, such as your bedroom or another quiet room. If you have a dog in the house, as well, you can keep them out of the area by placing a plastic ‘baby barrier’ gate in the doorway.

Once your cat has a quiet, comfortable place where she can be alone with her kittens, her maternal instincts should do the rest. If she still seems to be staying away, however, then call your vet – something might well be amiss!

Can I move my cat and her kittens?

You can, but only if you absolutely MUST. If the mom has a clean, comfortable, and quiet nesting area and seems to be feeding her babies regularly, then you should leave her alone. If, however, mom is leaving frequently and the babies have just recently been born, then the nesting area might be loud and mom is stressed.

In such a case, you can make a new nesting box and put it somewhere quiet and move the kittens if mom will allow. If she brings them back to the original spot, then let her, then leave them alone, but otherwise, she might accede to being relocated and will be less stressed with the new location.

Lindsey Browlingdon