A mother cat is committed to helping her kittens.
She will try to reach them whenever they’re in need. Once she recognizes that her kittens are sick or hurt, she will show them to her.
She will then either feed her kittens or bottle-feed them. So, what does a mother cat do with a dead kitten?
A mother cat will often hide a dead kitten to keep her kittens safe. She might place it in a closet, under a bed, or somewhere else her kittens can’t reach.
The mother cat might later move the kitten to a new spot so her kittens don’t find it. If the mother cat can’t find anywhere to hide the kitten, she might just leave it behind.
However, the mother cat may come back from time to time to remove the kitten’s body so she doesn’t have to smell it or see it. A mother cat might also leave the kitten somewhere the kittens can find it when they’re older.
If a mother cat finds a dead kitten outside, she might just leave it there or take it to a garbage can so predators don’t find it.
Do Mother Cats Eat Their Dead Kittens?
When a mother cat finally loses up hope in saving one of her babies, she will eat it for nourishment and sustenance for the others.
One possibility is that the mother cat may have eaten the dead puppy as a last effort to save the living puppies.
It might also be that the mother thought eating the dead puppy would somehow make the living puppies stronger.
Another explanation is that the mother simply couldn’t take the sight or the stench of the dead puppy anymore and so she ate it to alleviate the pain and the disgust she was feeling at the situation.
When a mother cat believes her baby is going to die, she will eat the kitten to prevent her from starving to death.
The primary motive is to nurse and protect the kittens, but secondary motives are to prevent them from dying of starvation or disease, and to prevent other cats from stealing them.
A mother cat will re-absorb the nutrients she has ingested after nursing her kittens.
These nutrients will be absorbed in her body and will nourish the other puppies, especially when they are sick. The nutrients will also be consumed when she regurgitates milk for her other babies to drink from.
Another reason cats do this is out of instinct.
Mother cats have a nurturing instinct that compels them to do whatever it takes to keep their babies alive and healthy. This is the main reason why they tend to consume their dead puppies when their babies are in danger of dying of starvation.
Sometimes, a mother might have no alternative but to eat a stillborn baby so that the remaining puppies can still have milk to drink from.
These reasons also apply to those mothers who give birth to weak or deformed kittens too, as they need the nutrients to survive until their kittens grow up to be healthy animals themselves.
Domestic cats that feel comfortable in their own home s are generally the ones that eat their own litters.
What Does A Mother Cat Do With A Dead Kitten?
Bury the Kitten Into the Ground
A mother cat may sometimes dig a hole to bury her dead puppy under so that it stays out of sight from the other puppies and the household pets.
Burying the puppy in the ground also prevents other animals from digging up the body and eating it too.
Once buried, the cat mom often licks the body repeatedly to clean it of any dirt and filth before burying it again.
It will then coat the body with urine to protect it from the insects and other predators that might attack it.
Once the coat dries, the cat mom may put another layer on to protect the body even more.
The urine may also mask the smell of the corpse so the surviving siblings do not become too alarmed by the sight of their mother licking a dead puppy.
The mother’s constant licking also helps to keep the scent of the dead body away from the other pets in the house, protecting them from the danger of being attracted to the corpse and starting to eat it too.
Bring It to the Pet’s Owner.
Cats often bring dead mice to their owner after hunting them for food.
They do this because they know the owner will dispose of the mouse safely for them so they can continue hunting.
The same logic applies to bringing a dead animal to the pet owner when a cat is faced with the problem of what to do with a deceased littermate.
This is usually the case if the littermate was sick, weak, or simply did not survive long enough to make it to adulthood.
This is an expression of gratitude and respect from the cat to its littermates, a way of paying honor to the deceased companion who has done so much for the cat during its early development period.
Eat the Kittens
It may seem disgusting, but this is a behavior that most mothers exhibit when their litters are in danger of starving to death.
In certain cases, this might be the only way to save the rest of the litters from starving to death too.
Eating their deceased babies will supply nutrients to the surviving cats and provide them with the energy they need to survive until they are old enough to fend for themselves.
This tactic is more common among feral cats who don’t have any owners to take care of them, as they have no other means to find food for themselves other than by hunting and killing small animals in the wild.
Licks the kitten
The mother cat’s innate response may be to feed her remaining baby while licking the dead one, but this will only prolong the inevitable tragedy.
She should instead allow nature to take its course by eating the remains of the dead kitten herself.
It will lick it clean of any dirt or bacteria and then dispose of it in a hygienic manner.
It will also hide the smell so the other living siblings are not scared away by the smell or by the sight of their mother eating the remains of a dead sibling.
Licking the kittens accelerates their respiration, aids in the circulation of blood, and helps speed up the digestion process so that the essential nutrients can be absorbed faster by the other living siblings.
Grooming may seem harsh and cruel at first, but it serves several purposes that are beneficial to the cat and her offspring in the long run.
The grooming process helps the mother remove any dirt or fleas that may have settled on the body of the kitten, and also stimulates blood circulation in the corpse to help it decompose faster, thus preventing it from smelling bad for too long.
Reproduce After Death The act of breeding after death is something that happens naturally in all mammals, including humans.
Also Read: Can Kittens Live in a Garage?
Cats are not only beautiful creatures with sharp claws and pointy teeth, but they are also amazing hunters who are extremely intelligent and can hunt alone.
A mother cat will go to any length to ensure that her kittens survive, even if it means using her own body as bait to trap the prey for her hungry babies.
If they are born dead or injured, the mother will nurse them herself or take them to a safe place where they can get nursed back to health by their father or another mother cat.
Instead, she will do her best to ensure their survival by feeding them whatever she can catch.
When she loses hope, she will abandon her litter to die of starvation.