Do Cats Eat Their Kittens

Do Cats Eat Their Kittens?

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Last Updated on May 23, 2023 by Pauline G. Carter

Yes, but it’s rare. Most cats are protective of their kittens and will not eat them.

However, there are a few circumstances where a mother cat may eat her kittens, such as if they are stillborn or sickly. This behavior may also occur if a mother cat is extremely stressed or malnourished. In general, it’s unusual for a cat to eat her kittens and if you suspect this behavior, it’s important to seek veterinary assistance immediately.

Understanding cat behavior can sometimes be challenging, but knowing what to expect as a pet parent helps you take better care of your furry family. In this article, we’ll explore the reasons why a cat might eat her kittens, how to prevent this behavior, and what to do if it occurs.

Do Cats Eat Their Kittens?


Understanding The Concept Of Cannibalism In Felines:

Definition Of Cannibalism In Cats

Cannibalism in cats refers to the act of a feline eating another feline, either partially or entirely. While this act is not common in felines, it can occur in some situations.

Overview Of Cannibalistic Tendencies In Felines

Cannibalism comes as a natural instinct in cats, as is the case with many other animals. Although it is not a common occurrence, it can happen regardless of the fact that cats are domesticated. Kittens are particularly vulnerable, especially when they are unable to fend for themselves, making them an easy target for other cats, including their siblings, mother, and even other adult felines.

Causes Of Cannibalism In Cats

The most common causes of cannibalism in cats include:

  • Lack of food: When there is a shortage of food, adult felines may resort to killing and eating their kittens to provide sustenance that would help them survive.
  • Illness and disease: A sick mother or kitten may become weak and vulnerable to being attacked and eaten by other cats. Also, infection can cause abnormal behaviour in felines.
  • Lack of space: In overcrowded locations, felines may become defensive of their territory, leading to aggression toward other cats and their kittens.

Is Cannibalism Common In Cats?

Cannibalism is not a common behaviour in cats. Domesticated cats that are well-fed, healthy, and in a comfortable environment are unlikely to engage in this behaviour. However, it is essential to take caution with newborn kittens and keep them away from other cats until they are strong enough to fend for themselves.

We can say that while cannibalism in cats is not a common occurrence, it can happen in some situations. It is crucial to keep a close eye on newborn kittens and provide them with a safe and secure environment to avoid such aggressive behaviour.

Do Cats Eat Their Own Kittens?

Investigating The Question – Do Cats Eat Their Kittens?

Cats are known for their love and affection towards their kittens. However, some instances of maternal aggression and infanticide may occur in feline colonies. In this blog post, we will investigate whether cats eat their kittens and explore the reasons behind such behavior.

Instances Where Cats Eat Their Own Kittens

There are several reasons why a cat may choose to eat its own offspring. In some cases, kittens may be stillborn or born with severe health issues, and the mother may choose to eat them to prevent the spread of disease or to save the rest of her litter.

Additionally, maternal aggression and overcrowding in colonies may cause a mother cat to attack and eat her kittens.

Reasons Why A Cat Would Eat Its Own Kittens

The instinctual behavior of a mother cat is to protect and care for her kittens. However, in situations where resources are scarce or there are threats to the survival of her litter, the mother may choose to eat her own kittens.

Some reasons include:

  • Malnutrition or starvation
  • Fear of predators
  • Health issues in the kittens
  • Overcrowding in colonies
  • Maternal aggression
  • The instinct to protect the litter by consuming dead offspring.

Is It Normal For Cats To Eat Their Own Kittens?

While it is not normal for a cat to eat its own kittens, it is a behavior that can occur in certain circumstances. However, it is more common in feral cats or those living in overcrowded colonies. It is important to note that this behavior is not typical and should be monitored in domestic cats.

While cats are generally loving and devoted mothers, instances of infanticide and maternal aggression can occur. It is crucial to understand the motivations behind such behavior and to monitor the health and safety of mother cats and their kittens.

What To Do If You Suspect Your Cat Might Eat Its Kittens?

Cats are known for their maternal instincts, but in some circumstances, a mother cat may eat her kittens. This behavior can occur for various reasons, including stress, illness, or a lack of resources. If you suspect that your cat may eat her young, it’s crucial to take immediate action to ensure her and her kittens’ safety.

In this section, we’ll explore some essential guidelines to follow if you suspect your cat might eat its kittens.

Observing And Monitoring Your Cat’S Behavior

Observing your cat’s behavior is crucial to prevent her from eating her kittens. If you notice any worrying signs, you need to act immediately. Here are some behaviors to watch out for:

  • Aggression towards her kittens
  • Constant meowing or vocalization
  • Refusal to nurse her kittens
  • Lethargy or lack of interest in her litter
  • Constant pacing or restlessness

Ensuring The Cat Has A Stress-Free Environment

A stress-free environment is vital to ensure the safety of your cat and her kittens. Here are some things you can do to keep her calm:

  • Provide a quiet and secure place for the cat and her litter
  • Limit human interaction with the mother and kittens
  • Avoid any sudden or loud noises around the mother and her kittens

Providing The Cat With Adequate Resources

Providing adequate resources is crucial to prevent the cat from eating her kittens due to a lack of resources. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Ensure that the mother cat has access to quality food and clean water
  • Provide a clean litter box for the mother cat
  • Give her enough space to move freely

Intervening In Case Of Medical Issues

If your cat is exhibiting unusual behavior, it may be due to underlying health issues. Here’s what you can do:

  • If you notice any worrying symptoms, consult with a veterinarian immediately
  • Follow your veterinarian’s advice for the care of your cat and her kittens

Essential Do’S And Don’Ts When Dealing With A Mother Cat Consuming Her Offspring

Here are some do’s and don’ts you should follow when dealing with a mother cat that may eat her kittens:


  • Observe your cat closely and act immediately if you notice any unusual behavior
  • Provide a stress-free environment and adequate resources for your cat
  • Seek medical help if you suspect any underlying health issues in your cat
  • Find a suitable care home for the kittens if necessary


  • Never punish your cat for eating her kittens
  • Don’t try to force the cat to nurse her kittens if she is refusing
  • Avoid handling the kittens too much, as this may cause stress to the mother
  • Don’t leave the mother cat and her kittens unattended for extended periods

By following these guidelines, you can help ensure your cat and her kittens’ safety. Remember that this behavior can occur due to various underlying issues, so it’s essential to seek professional help if necessary.

Exploring The Causes And Frequency Of Kittens Consumption By Their Own Mothers.

Exploring The Causes And Frequency Of Kittens Consumption By Their Own Mothers

Cats are known for being adorable, playful, and loving pets. However, there are some instances where cat mothers eat their newborn kittens. While this may seem appalling to cat lovers, there are several reasons why this happens. Here, we will explore the causes and frequency of kittens consumption by their own mothers.

Reasons Why Cats Eat Their Kittens

  • The mother’s instinct: In the wild, cats hunt for food to provide for their young ones. However, if the mother is unable to find food, she may resort to cannibalism as a survival instinct.
  • Infection: If the kitten dies due to an infection, the mother may consume it to protect the remaining litter from contracting the disease.
  • Kittens born with malformations and defects: In some cases, kittens are born with malformations and defects that make it difficult for them to survive. The mother may eat them to preserve resources and ensure the survival of the remaining litter.
  • Stress and anxiety: If the mother is under stress and anxiety, she may consume her young ones. This could happen due to environmental factors, such as an overcrowded living situation or loud noises.

Frequency Of Kittens Consumption By Cat Mothers

Kittens consumption by cat mothers is not a common occurrence. However, it does happen in some cases. Studies have shown that cannibalism is more likely to occur in first-time mothers than in experienced ones. Additionally, cats that are in stressful situations or have nutritional deficiencies are more likely to eat their young ones.

How To Prevent Kittens Consumption By Cat Mothers

As a cat owner, there are several things you can do to prevent the mother from eating her young ones. These include:

  • Providing a comfortable and safe environment for the mother and her newborn kittens.
  • Ensuring that the mother gets enough nutrition during and after pregnancy.
  • Monitoring the mother’s behavior to detect any signs of stress or anxiety.
  • Seeking veterinary care if you suspect that the mother may have an infection or underlying medical condition.

Final Thoughts

While cats eating their young ones may seem barbaric, it is an instinctual behavior that can happen in certain circumstances. As a cat owner, it is essential to understand the reasons why this happens and take preventive measures to ensure the health and safety of the mother and her litter.

Remember, providing a safe and nurturing environment for your cat is the best way to prevent such instances.

Frequently Asked Questions For Do Cats Eat Their Kittens?

Do Cats Eat Their Kittens Out Of Hunger?

No, most cats do not eat their kittens out of hunger. They may do so due to stress, illness, or other reasons.

What Should You Do If A Cat Eats Its Kittens?

If a cat eats its kittens, it is important to seek help from a veterinarian as soon as possible. They can help determine the cause and provide proper treatment.

Can Cats Be Prevented From Eating Their Kittens?

Yes, cats can be prevented from eating their kittens by providing a stress-free environment, proper nutrition, and regular check-ups with a veterinarian.

How Common Is It For Cats To Eat Their Kittens?

It is not very common for cats to eat their kittens, but it can happen due to a variety of reasons, such as stress, illness, or inexperience.

How Can You Tell If A Cat Will Eat Its Kittens?

There is no surefire way to tell if a cat will eat its kittens. However, paying attention to their behavior and providing a stress-free environment can help prevent it.


The question “do cats eat their kittens? ” is a difficult one to answer. While it may seem alarming or even cruel, the reality is that there are many reasons why a mother cat may resort to such behavior. It is important to remember that cats are instinctive animals, and their actions are governed by natural biological processes.

While it is rare for a mother cat to eat her own kittens, it can happen and is often a sign of underlying health problems or stress. As responsible pet owners, it is our duty to ensure the health and well-being of our cats and their offspring.

This means regularly monitoring their behavior, providing adequate care and nutrition, and seeking veterinary care if necessary. With the right care and attention, your cat and her kittens can thrive and live a happy and fulfilling life together.

About Author (Pauline G. Carter)

Pauline G. Carter

Pauline G. Carter is a well-known pet blogger who has written about the world of pets for several years. She is passionate about pets, from cats and dogs to birds, reptiles, and poultry. Her blog, which is updated regularly, is filled with articles and guides on pet care, nutrition, and training. She also shares her experiences and observations on pet ownership, making her blog relatable and informative for pet lovers. She is a true animal advocate and is dedicated to promoting responsible pet ownership. Let’s Go …

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