Your best bet is to keep mom and
her kittens where they are and not create too much noise or
distractions. The children should look at the kittens but should
not yet handle them or make any noise near them. Mom needs to
care for them free of worry. Simba
Missy’s kittens are 2-weeks-old today. I have her and her
kittens in a quiet room. She gave birth in a Lazypet Cat Pen that
we bought for her. It is a cloth-lined soft box with two holes in
it…nice, private but small. She is starting to move the
kittens. Today she took one out and hid in a closet with it. She
left the other kittens where they were. I moved the kitten back
and closed the closet. She went back took the kitten out and
placed it by the closed closet door and left it there. I moved it
back. Thinking the cloth box was too small, I got another box
lined it with towels and moved all the kittens into that box.
That seemed to upset her because she kept walking around the room
meowing and walking in and out of the small cloth box. I put the
kittens back in the cloth box and she was fine. I guess
she wants to do the moving.
I fear she will move one and forget the others. Is it good for
her to be moving them around so much? Should I close the door and
keep her confined to the room? I am afraid she will place
one somewhere and neglect it. I am also worried that, as the
kittens grow, the box will be too small for everyone. What do you
suggest? John K
Dear John K,
It is natural for mother cats to move recently born kittens.
Mother cats do this a few days after birth so as to throw
potential predators off the scent, thus ensuring that they do not
become some other animal’s dinner. Anxious first-time
mothers do this more frequently. Missy will not forget about her
kittens. She will move them one-by-one to their new location
where she feels they will be safe.
As for what you can do. Give her freedom to choose where to
move her kittens, you do not need to do it for her.A nice big
box lined with cloth may be an attractive place for moving her
kittens. Again, place it in the room or in the closet and let her
go from there. As for her movements around the home, it does not
matter too much if she leaves for a few minutes at a time. The
biggest threat lies in children or pets getting in the room and
handling/mishandling the kittens.
Also, have momma cat spayed as soon as the kittens are
weaned...will help ensure no further 'accidents' and will
make for a healthier momma cat. Your Pal, Simba
Mother Cat Not Attentive to Kittens
My cat just had kittens. She does not seem like she is going to be a good mother. She leaves them alone a lot. She also sits and lays on top of them. I am worried about them. She does not want them to get any attention from us. How do I know if they are
feeding and getting the attention they need? She has already had
one litter of 3 but they all died, because she did the same
things she is doing now. Help me. After these kitten are big
enough to leave home I am going to have her spayed. How old do
the kittens have to be to be out of danger? Worried
Dear Worried Kitten Lover -
It is normal for a mother cat to not want people near her
kittens.It is her instinct to protect them from people and
However, if you are worried about the mother not
taking care of the kittens, such as her leaving them alone for
prolonged periods of time, not nursing them or her playing rough
with them and crushing them (not simply keeping them warm and
near her), you may want to remove them from that environment.
However, only do so if you are sure they are in danger.
One way to ensure they are receiving the attention they need is
to see them growing quickly. Watch for their increasing in size.
You may want to weigh them periodically to ensure they are
growing (see Feeding &
and Feeding Kittens
for more information). The age that kittens can leave the home is
dependent on how dangerous it is for them to remain at home.
Usually, you do not want to separate kittens from their mother
until they are at least 5-weeks-old, however, you may want to
accelerate that if you think they are in danger. Also, it is
super that you are having her spayed. Keep me posted. Simba
Check out the Pre & Post Natal
section to learn more about the mother's
Mother Cat Rejects Kittens
Is it true, or just an old wives tale, that if baby kittens are
handled by people too soon that they will die (or that the mother
will no longer care for them)? Please answer quickly. Love, The
Dear Smith Family,
You ask a good question. Mother cats reject kittens that have
either a health problem or anatomical defect. They do this
because kittens born with health problems have a very low
survival rate even under the most intensive care. By passing on
these unhealthy kittens, mother cats are able to focus and better
care for those kittens that have the best shot at making it
As a general rule, you should handle kittens under 4 weeks of
age, only under the mother cat’s supervision.
Otherwise, you run the risk of removing mom’s scent from
the kitten in which case momma cat will have greater difficulty
identifying the kitten. This then makes the kitten different than
the others and, in turn kicks in the rejection instinct. Be sure
to make the interactions brief (10-15 minutes at a time) and do
not allow kids to play with the kittens without adult (human)
How to Wean Nursing Kittens
We have 4 kittens that are 8-weeks-old. We have started
weaning them about 2-3 weeks ago with Gerber baby food and kitten
formulas. While they show interest in solid foods, but they would
rather nurse than eat solid foods. We are having problems
making the transition. The mother cat is starting to show signs
of exhaustion and she is losing weight from supporting them.
We want to find the kittens good homes, but we need to find a way
to wean them effectively. Richard
Many times, weaning is the mother cat's responsibility. When
the kittens are 4-5 weeks of age, mom will begin to refuse
nursing. This encourages the kittens to eat solid foods. As part
of the process, mom will resume nursing them periodically. In a
few weeks, the kittens should be completely weaned.
It is understandable that your kittens want to resist weaning.
Try placing warm kitten formula alone, in a dish for them. Slowly
place foods that add texture, progressing to tuna. Kittens and
cats all love tuna and I have found this to be one of the more
effective foods in weaning. As a final step you may want to
physically separate the kittens from mom cat. This will not only
give mom a break but will also help break the kittens'
dependence. Keep an eye on mom and take her to the vet if become
concerned for her health. Let me know how things go. Simba