I’ve Got/found A Cat In Labour What Should I Do
If you’ve found a pregnant cat who you think is in labour, please give her plenty of space to avoid disturbing her. The best way to help is to try and locate the cat’s owner. Please post on local social media groups or speak to neighbours to see if anybody knows her.
You can also help by placing a shallow bowl of water nearby for her to use – this really needs to be done with minimal disturbance though so still keep a good distance. Also, depending upon the weather, placing some shelter nearby could help keep her shaded from the sun and sheltered from cold winds.
Please do keep an eye on mum to check she’s doing ok. If you can’t find the owner please call a local animal rescue centre for advice on what to do when the kittens arrive. It’s always best to avoid disturbing the mum which could cause unnecessary problems for the kittens. Many cats give birth without needing any help at all but signs she may be having difficulty include:
- If between 30 and 60 minutes of intense straining she doesn’t produce a kitten or a kitten seems to be stuck.
- The mother seems to be noticeably distressed.
- If she seems lethargic or has passed an unpleasant discharge or is bleeding heavily from her vulva.
- Although green/brown/red discharge, while the kittens are being born, is normal.
If you see any of these signs or if mum is at risk because she is near a busy road or building then please call a local vet, animal rescue or call our advice line but never put yourself in danger.
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How To Tell If A Kitten Is Abandoned
A few key indicators tell if the kittens are indeed abandoned or if their mother is simply away at the time. If the kittens are clean or are peacefully sleeping in a nest, odds are that the mother is simply away at that time. Most scenarios where the kittens appear to be well kept and are grouped in a nest indicate that they are being cared for.
However, if the kittens are dirty, have crusty eyes, are crying uncontrollably, appear malnourished, and the mother has not been observed for several hours or days. They may have been abandoned or may have lost their mother in a tragic incident before she returned to them. If its been observed that the kittens have not been moved at all for some time, it is also possible that no mother is caring for them.
To be sure, one can scatter some flour around the box and wait to see if any adult paw prints appear since this could indicate a mothers presence. However, it should be noted that there are many cases of abandoned kittens that do necessitate intervention. Kittens found alone, either roaming or placed in a bag or box, are unlikely to be feral but should be rescued since a human likely abandoned these kittens.
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She Wants To Put Her Kittens In A Safe Place
A mama cat will usually move her kittens away from the place where she originally gave birth after a few days. She does this because there may be something that she noticed that may pose as a threat to her kittens safety. It could be something as trivial as loud noises or other activity in that area.;
What To Do If You Have This In Place
If youve already made the commitment and fed a cat, theyre essentially your responsibility. You have a couple of things that youre going to have to do, and they are as follows:
- Sterilize them
- Create a feeding station
If youve already been threatened by animal control, the best thing to do is to discreetly give them some food. You can do a few things, including the following:
- Move it to a discreet location
- Feed in the morning or the late afternoon
- Pick up the food once theyre done, or when the sun is down
- Feed the cats on either leaves;or even some flour tortillas, because the tortillas will be bird food
- Make sure never to leave a mess, and instead keep it neat, discreet, and clean
- Keep the animal control in good rapport with you
With spaying and neutering, if you have a colony, you need to make sure that theyre all sterilized. This is a definite need, and youll want to prevent it if you have other mouths to feed.
Some use TNR, which is a trap, sterilize, and then release, and its a humane method of managing this. If you do this, you need to take responsibility, and you should definitely make sure that if you have a big enough colony, and never let it get overpopulated.
You should always make sure that you do other actions too, and they are:
Remember, youre the caretaker, so if you do feed them, remember that youre the one responsible for them.
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Why Do Feral Cats Leave Their Kittens
The act of rescuing too soon may result in kittens being taken from their mothers without necessary cause, which can even lead to some of these kittens death. Most cases of a feral cat mothering a litter are characterized by the litter being left alone for several hours at a time, which can often cause onlookers to assume that they have been abandoned.
However, feral cat mothers need to leave their kittens at some point to find food and nourishment for them, after which she would return and care for them. This is particularly because feral cats survive off of rodents, birds, edible rubbish, and carcass remains, which necessitates hunting to acquire.
Sadly there are some situations where it is clear that feral kittens have no mother caring for them, which is not always due to mothers abandoning their young. While there are some cases of cats abandoning their kittens, this is not normal for feral cats, and there may be circumstances that result in the mothers inability to return to her young. This can be due to various situations, such as the mother feral cat being injured, attacked, or hit by a car.
In some cases, the kittens may be witnessed as dwelling alone, but the mother may even be scared off by the presence of concerned humans since feral cats are not accustomed to humans as domesticated cats are.
You may wonder if feral cats need a water source.; Check out my article on if feral cats need water:;
How Do Feral Cats Care For Their Kittens
Feral cats care for their kittens much as house cats do.
- They find a secure place to give birth.
- They create a warm nest for their babies.
- They give birth, cleaning off their litter as they come.
- They nurse the blind and deaf babies for two weeks.
- They continue to nurse for the following two to three weeks.
- They start to wean the kittens off.
- They encourage their babies to explore and build strength.
Of course, if a domestic cat is having kittens, she might stay with her babies for longer until they are adopted out of the home. The kittens of a feral cat will begin to wander farther and farther as they gain autonomy and eventually stop returning to the last den they shared with their brothers and sisters.
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Reasons Why A Mother Cat Rejects Her Kittens
Are you worried that your mother cat is rejecting her kittens or that the mother is spending too much time away from her little ones?
Usually, cats are excellent mothers and will even raise kittens that arent theirs.
However, some first-time mothers have a rough time.;
So, today were going to talk about 7 common reasons why a mother cat rejects her kittens.
How To Use Kittens To Trap A Mother Cat And Vice Versa
These instructions are for moms with kittens that are old enough to walk. Younger kittens can be scooped up and used to attract mom, but not vice versa.
On your first attempt at trapping a cat family, always set out at least one baited trap for every cat and kitten in the family . Several kittens will often run into a trap together. DO NOT try and separate them on your own.
If you dont trap mom in the first round, she will soon hear, see, and smell her kittens in the trap and want to get close to them, providing the perfect incentive for her to enter a trap herself.
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Have You Found A Stray Cat Or Litter Of Kittens Here Are Some Resources That May Help
Stray and Feral Kittens are an Epidemic: Between the months of March and September, every shelter in the region will be overrun with kittens, both orphaned litters and those with a mother. Many of these litters are either strays or ferals. Neither one has a legal owner; however, the difference between a stray cat or a feral cat is that a stray cat is accustomed to people and a feral cat has lived in the wild and has been self-sufficient with little to no contact with people. For more information on caring for neonatal kittens,
Stray cats can often be socialized and then adopted. Feral cats generally cannot be easily socialized and adopted. However, kittens under four-months old can often be socialized and adopted even if born to feral cats.
Handle The Kittens As Little As Possible
While it can be incredibly exciting to have newborn kittens in the house, resist the urge to pick them up and cuddle them. Your mother cat should be doing a great job of looking after her kittens, and as long as she has a clean nest and access to food, water, and her litter tray, she needs minimal supervision.
If many people are coming to meet the kittens and even pick them up, the mother cat will start to feel threatened. Her scent may start to be lost as the kittens are constantly handled, leaving her feeling confused. In this case, she may decide to move the kittens to a place where shes less likely to be disturbed.
Keep human contact to a minimum until the kittens are at least 4 weeks old, and dont allow visitors until theyre about 8 weeks old. As the kittens start moving around and exploring on their own, the mother cat will become more relaxed and accepting of people visiting her babies.
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Do Male Feral Cats Stay With Their Kittens
Male feral cats do not play a large role in their kittens lives. Many feral kittens wont ever meet their fathers. The male feral cats will mate with the females and then leave them to care for the brood she may or may not have become pregnant with after their interaction.
Most feral cats are independent and live their lives solo. However, some feral cats can come to create colonies, which loosely resemble lion prides. In this case, the males in the colony can sometimes care for the kittens of the group. They arent necessarily directly involved in the kittens lives that they have sired, but they may look after any kittens in the group, defending them from predators and breaking up kitten-fights.
Why Do Cats Move Their Kittens Around
To understand why a cat moves her kittens around, we need to consider her instincts. Although they have been domesticated for millennia, cats still retain some instinctive habits akin to their wild relatives. While enjoying the comfort, care and security living with humans provides, a domestic cat still needs to rely on innate instinct to take care of their young. For example, when a kitten is born, the mother knows to break open its amniotic sac with their teeth, otherwise the kitten would suffocate.
In nature, when a wild cat senses the delivery is soon approaching, they will look for a hiding place or shelter. This is a place which is calm and provides security from potential dangers. The specific criteria of what makes a good nest or den is not always easy to discern. You may provide a comfortable place for the cat to give birth, but they may still end up choosing somewhere else.
However, even postpartum, the cat will be sensitive to their environment. They will be alert to any threat which might threaten their newborn offspring. This comes to the main reason why cats move their kittens: they perceive a threat.
For domestic cats, this can seem strange. You may have provided everything they need, but yet they still want to move their kittens. However, just because we can’t see a threat, doesn’t mean the mother cat does not. Whether or not there is an actual danger, the mother cat may move her kittens to somewhere they deem more secure.
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The Importance Of Sterilization
Now you know why cats move their young and have learned more about what it takes to care for kittens, you know there is a lot to consider. Even if the cats are born healthy and their weaning processes goes smoothly, the kittens will have to be provided a safe environment.
Unfortunately, there are already many cats which are struggling to find a secure home. Animal shelters have too much strain on them as it is and struggle to find homes even for healthy cats. This is why sterilization is so important. We have an overpopulation of domestic cats which leads to having many abandoned or turned feral. We also don’t have enough people willing to take in and care for cats.
Sterilization not only helps to reduce feline overpopulation, but it has benefits for the cat. For more information, take a look at our article everything you need to know about neutering a cat.
If you want to read similar articles to Why do Cats Move Their Kittens?, we recommend you visit our Gestation category.
At What Age Do Cats Leave Their Young
There is no exact moment when a mother cat will leave her young. Firstly, it is important to know when a cat moves her kittens, they are not necessarily abandoning them. When a cat decides to abandon her kittens, she will just leave them and will stop caring for them.
A cat will have a genuine reason to leave her kittens when she has finished providing proper care. This means when the cat has weaned them onto solid food. This is a gradual process which will differ on the individual circumstances. In general, however, a kitten should stay with their mother for a minimum of 8 weeks, but best to have at least 12.
After this time, the mother cat will start to ignore her kittens. She will stop them from feeding from her nipples and may even seem to aggressively shun them by hissing at them. This is normal behavior and is designed to stop the young cats being dependent. Before this happens, she will have taught them how to care for themselves and interacting with their environment.
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What If I Trap A Lactating Cat
If a lactating cat is trapped, do not release the cat before having her spayed as she may become suspicious of the trap and difficult to re-trap. If you know the kittens are less than 5 weeks old and not eating on their own, get the mom spayed and then return her to where you trapped her the same day. If the kittens are eating on their own, it is fine to keep mom confined overnight before releasing her. While the mother cat is being spayed keep the kittens warm in a confined area. Although a nursing female cat will continue to feed her kittens after surgery, it is a good idea to have Kitten Replacement Milk on hand and to be ready to bottle-feed the kittens for a couple of days. If the kittens are younger than 4 weeks old, you will need to be prepared to feed them KMR while the mother is having surgery. It is important to get the mother cat back to her kittens as quickly as you can.