5 Reasons a mother cat might abandon her young


5 Reasons a mother cat might abandon her young

1. Watch the nest: First of all, many people come upon litters of kittens outdoors and assume they have been abandoned when in fact mom is nearby, probably hunting. Outdoor or stray moms sometimes scatter their kittens to avoid predation. If the kittens seem well fed, are in a safe place, and fall asleep after crying for a short while, mom is probably around.

2. Illness & Deformity: Sometimes a mom will reject a sick kitten to avoid spreading the illness to the others. It’s not always the “runt” who is ill, and a physically deformed kitten, such as a “Janus” cat, may also be rejected, even though, despite some physical difference, the kitten is perfectly healthy. 

3. Mastitis: Some nursing moms develop mastitis, an infection of the mammary gland. This can happen spontaneously, or from kittens scratching the tissue during nursing. The nipple becomes swollen, hard, and hot to the touch. So it may look like mom is rejecting her babies, when it’s actually just too painful to let them suckle.

4. Litter size: Too large a litter can also lead to rejection. If there is not enough milk for all her kittens, mom may reject a few to save milk for the others. A careful observer will probably notice this behavior within the first 24 hours of birth.

5. Premature mom: A very young mom who hasn’t developed maternal skills may act confused or disinterested. Some moms start out his way and then figure it out. Some don’t. A disinterested mom may also have been traumatized during the birth if she was, for example, not in a safe place, or had difficulty physically. Her hyper-vigilance and nervousness make it difficult for her to relax and lie down so the kittens can suckle.

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