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Why does my cat reject its young?

By nature, cats are very good mothers, even when they have the first litter. It is part of their natural instinct of cats, so it is normal that they know how to deal perfectly with their puppies without the help of human hands.

However, there are times when the mother refuses to take care of one of her puppies or the entire litter, and you ask Why does my cat reject its young? This situation can be exasperating for those who have cats at home.

To help you understand this situation, this article offers you, where you will discover what factors may be motivating this situation.

Is my cat a bad mother?

Many people, when they notice that a cat has rejected their young, interpret it as a bad mother, that the cat does not want to take care of her litter on a whim or lack of love.

However, although felines are capable of developing a deep love, we must not forget that they are animals that govern their behavior according to instinct, and that it is possible that there are factors that lead a newly born female cat to reject its young. These factors have to do with:

  • Litter health
  • Health of the mother
  • Ability to care for puppies
  • Stress

Problems with the health of one or more kittens

In animals, the most important thing is survival instinct, and felines are no exception. With this instinct, the mother is able to detect if any of the kittens, or even the whole litter (rare, but possible), has been born with an infection or disease.

When this happens, it is normal for the mother to refuse to waste care and milk in a litter that she thinks will not survive or, when it comes to only one of the kittens, it distances it from the rest for both prevent it from spreading to the litter healthy as for manage your milk only for the kittens that are more likely to survive.

Maybe this sounds cruel to you, but in this way the animal world works, it is not possible to risk the health of a complete litter for a sick puppy with little chance of living. However, as a human master it is possible that you can do something. If you suspect that the kitten that is rejected is sick, go to your veterinarian so he can give a diagnosis and offer you guidelines to feed the newborn kitten rejected by his mother.

The health of the mother

It is possible that the cat is sick or feels like she is about to die, either due to complications during delivery (some races may have problems during this phase), or because they suffer something else. When this is the case, the cat will get away from the minimum, both for the discomfort she feels and for prevent them from getting infected Of his sickness.

If you observe the weak or sickly parent, it will be essential that you go immediately to the veterinarian to ensure their health, as well as that of the children.

Ability to attend the litter

Although most cats have the instinct to take care of their litter, there are some cases in which the cat does not know how to take care of them, how to feed them or how to clean them, so they will choose to abandon them.

If this happens, you can try to show her what to do by bringing them closer so that they can suck or clean them near her so she can observe how to do it. You must have a lot of patience.

As well It can happen that the litter is very large (5 or 6 kittens more or less) and that the cat feels that it can not take care of all or that it does not have enough milk for so many puppies, so it will leave out the one that seems weaker to attend to those who are more likely to grow up

In these last two cases, the feline instinct tells the mother that she must bet to save all the food, heat and space necessary only for the fittest kittens, even if that means letting the less strong ones die.


The cat knows that it will give birth, so it is normal that before the birth try to get a space that seems ideal to care for their puppies, away from anything that could harm them.

As happens with humans, the last days the cat will be a little nervous, and if you start to overwhelm it with caresses, pampering and attention that you do not want, or if you try to change the site you have chosen as a nest, it is possible that your stress levels increase and decide not to take care of the pussycat when they are born.

You must respect the nest you have chosen and place some blankets in the place so you can be more comfortable. Consider moving around only if you think the cat family might be at risk there, and allow your cat to feel comfortable with the new place.

The ideal is to be aware of the mother but allowing her to be calm. Similarly, once the litter is born, it is not recommended to touch them much during the first weeks, because the smell of a stranger (even if it is their human master) can make the cat reject the puppies. If so, you should inform yourself to know how to care for newborn cats without a mother and go to the specialist to guide you in your doubts.

We hope that these tips have helped you better understand this situation. If you notice that your cat rejects one of its kittens or its entire litter, do not hesitate go immediately to the vet. If the kittens are healthy, you must assume the responsibility of becoming their surrogate mother during the first weeks.

This article is merely informative, in .com we do not have the faculty to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any kind of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian in case of any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Why does my cat reject its young?, we recommend you to enter in our section of Pregnancy problems.

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