Mother Cat Behavior – Moving Kittens:
Most cats make extremely good mothers and adore their kittens. Kittens cannot see or hear when they are born, so they are totally helpless and depend on their mother to protect and nurture them.
Maternal aggression towards people and other animals is a very normal mother cat behavior, and it will subside as the kittens grow. In the meantime, it is best for the mother cat to have a quiet, low stress environment with a minimum of visitors.
It is important for the first few days to allow the mother cat most of the time to be alone with her kittens as it is a vital bonding time. A new or inexperienced mother cat can be distracted form her babies if there is too much going on around her.
If your mother cat behavior is displaying aggression, then please make sure she is safe, comfortable, is fed and watered and then leave her alone.
Handle the Kittens A Little as Possible
Avoid handling either the mother or her new litter unless it is totally necessary – if you are are greeted with maternal aggression. Kittens should only be handle in the first couple of weeks when necessary to check their health and weight etc.
Mother cats often like to move their kittens around in the first few weeks of their life. There a a few reasons for this, including:
- Instinctively the kittens will be moved in the first days following the birth so as to throw off any potential predators
- Mommy wants a cleaner nest for her kittens
- She wants a safer place for them
- It may be just to find a more suitable spot, with less noise and light.
Moving kittens is a very normal mother cat behavior, even though it can be very unnerving for us humans to see a mother carrying baby kittens in her teeth. If your cat is doing this with her kittens, and it is causing problems, you should try to make her happier with the spot she is in. Keep it very quite, drape some fabric to close out the light and stop people and other pets hanging around her.
Most often, mommy will look to move her kittens at day two or day three after birth, a necessary step in the wild to throw predators off the scent. The odor of a recent delivery will be apparent and of course Mommy and kittens are very vulnerable. Even thought she may be safe and sound inside your home, sometimes it can be very difficult to go against ingrained instinct.
If your mother cat seems to be quite frantic about it, then it is best to let her find a better spot and make her more comfortable there. In this situation if the mother cat behavior is extreme, then there is certainly a danger that she may inadvertently hurt her kittens. So allow her to move if possible. You can let her take the first kitten and follow her with the rest yourself.
However, the best thing is to keep the mother cat and her new litter where they are. You must make sure that her nest and bedding is immaculately clean, as this is one of the more common reasons for cats wanting to move their kittens – they cannot wash the bedding themselves!
So the mother cat behavior of moving kittens is normal, but can be stopped by careful understanding of – and catering to – her needs.