What Should You Do If Your Cat Won’t Take Care of Her Kittens?

The birth of kittens is an exciting event that a lot of human moms and dads look forward to. However, not all people know what to do, if the mother ends up abandoning her kittens.

In case the female cat is not taking care of her children, you would be responsible for keeping the fluffy balls alive. Feed the kittens every 2 hours, keep them warm, and promote the discharge of waste; don’t forget to consult your vet and check if the mother is healthy.

What Should You Do If Your Cat Won’t Take Care of Her Kittens?

It is not uncommon for a mother cat to not be able to take care of her kittens. In such a case, you would have to bottle-feed the tiny creatures and even provide motherly care to them.

What Do You Do If Your Kitten Won’t Nurse?

The first thing that you would have to do is pay a visit to the vet or a local animal shelter – there, you might be able to find a foster mother that would feed the kitten. In any other case, you would have to take care of the feeding yourself.

Make sure to buy a special formula for kittens (cow milk or a formula for a human baby doesn’t have the necessary nutrients and can lead to serious health issues). Bear in mind that the little guys should be fed every 2 hours or so.

How Do You Keep Newborn Kittens Alive?

If you were unable to find a surrogate mother, then you would have to:

Our boy Coco 7
  • Feed the kittens every 2 hours
  • Keep the tiny friends warm with the help of bedding, heating pads, blankets, and so on
  • Promote the discharge of waste by gently stroking the bottom with a warm, moist cotton ball
  • Keep your vet updated on how the kittens are doing

Read: How Long Do Cats Tails Grow?

Why Isn’t My Cat Staying with Her Kittens?

A mother can not only refuse to nurse her kittens, but she can also abandon her children altogether. This can happen for a variety of reasons:

  • The mother is suffering from a health issue
  • The kittens are sick or deformed (if one particular little guy is ill, the mother might refuse to nurse that kitten)
  • The litter is too large and the mother might physically not be able to take care of all the kitties
  • The mother got pregnant at a very young age and she might be lacking the energy reserves needed

Is It Normal for a Mom Cat to Leave Her Kittens?

In an ideal situation, the mother shouldn’t be leaving her kittens alone for over a few minutes during the first couple of weeks. She might leave only to use the litter box or to feed herself.

How Long Can a Mother Leave Her Kittens?

Moms will start leaving the kittens for longer once they are about 3-4 weeks old. 

If you’re planning on adopting a kitten or giving the babies away to a loving family, make sure that the little guys have a chance to stay with their mother until they are at least 10 weeks old (ideally, 12-14 weeks). 

Read: Does Cat Need Bath After Swimming?

Why Does My Cat Bring Me Her Kittens?

  • The mother wants you to help keep the kittens safe
  • She might be admitting that she needs help (or a break)
  • The mother wants to introduce the new members of the family to you
  • She wants a new nesting place or it has become dirty and she wants you to clean it
  • Mom cat might be bringing you a kitten that is sick
  • The mother will also bring the kittens to you if she’s feeling sick and she understands that she is not able to take care of the kids at the moment

How to Tell If a Mother Cat Has Abandoned Her Kittens?

  1. Listen for cries – if a kitten has not been kept warm and has not been fed for quite a while, then it will start crying loudly in desperation
  2. If the kittens look dirty and have not been groomed, then it looks like the mother has abandoned them
  3. A mother that is intending on coming back will not leave the kittens on a hard surface or in a cold place

Read: Why Does My Cat Want So Much Attention in the Morning?

How Do You Know If Your Cat Is Rejecting Her Kittens?

Even though mothers should stay close to their kittens for the first few weeks, they can sometimes wander off to hunt or to have a few minutes alone.

If you have noticed that the little guys are alone, don’t immediately approach them. Keep an eye on the litter from around 35 feet and if the mother doesn’t return in a couple of hours, then she might have abandoned the kittens

Of course, you would have to take action earlier, if you notice that there is something in the environment that possesses a danger to the fluffy balls.

Will a Mother Cat Abandon Her Kittens If You Touch Them?

Normally, the mother will not reject her children, if you touch them (especially, if you are her favorite human). 

Do bear in mind, however, that you should not touch the kittens, if their eyes are still closed, and you shouldn’t be interacting with the tiny creatures for too long – the mother might become aggressive and/or stressed out by that.

People who don’t have a familiar smell (strangers) should not be touching the kittens.

Why Won’t My Mother Cat Feed Her Kittens?

It is normal for a mother cat to start to refuse to feed her kittens when they reach the age of 4 weeks (that’s when they will be weaned onto solid foods).

The mother might refuse to feed the kittens, if she’s ill, if there are too many kittens, if there is a sick kitten, or if she has abandoned the babies altogether.

Read: Why Cat Not Gaining Weight but Eating Well?

How to Tell If Mother Cat Is Feeding Kittens?

If the kittens are fed, they will have full bellies and they will be content and relaxed. The little guys would also be gaining a bit of weight every single day.

How to Know If Mom Cat Is Stimulating Kittens?

The main tell-tale sign is seeing kitten poop on the bedding (you would normally have to change it every few days or so).

You can try stimulating the kitten’s bottom with a warm damp cloth to see if any poop comes out, but mother cats usually instinctively know what to do.

Do Mother Cats Get Sad When Their Kittens Are Taken Away?

When the kittens are just taken away (especially, before they reach the age of 10 weeks), the mother might be a little upset.

With that being said, cats are programmed to leave their litter at one point, so it is highly unlikely for a mother to be grieving. 

How Do I Know If My Newborn Kitten Is Dying?

  • Low body temperature (feeling cool to the touch)
  • Low blood sugar
  • Labored breathing
  • Lethargy
  • Loud, pained cries

Read: Why Does My Cat Have a Bald Spot on His Neck?

Do Father Cats Take Care of Kittens?

If the father is around, he can occasionally spend some time with the kittens, but it is quite rare. Male cats are not known for their paternal instincts and some fathers might be aggressive towards their kittens, so it is better to keep the little guys away, just in case.