So, why does your cat keep laying on her kittens? Mother cats lay on their kittens for one of three reasons. They may be inexperienced with dealing with kittens, are actually trying to protect them, or lack the space in their nursing area to have a corner to themselves.
If you see that the mother ignores certain kittens, refusing to allow them to nurse, she is rejecting those kittens. Another sign of rejection is when a mother moves one or more of the kittens to a different location from the nest to isolate them. She also may hiss at the kittens or try to bite them.
Don’t introduce other animals.
Mama cats can be fiercely protective of their young, and may attack an animal who gets too close. Her kittens will also have fragile immune systems and should be quarantined from other animals to protect the health of all.
The mother cat will initiate feeding during the first two weeks, and the kittens should appear to have full, plump bellies after nursing. If the kittens are not nursing every 1–2 hours, they’re likely not getting enough nutrition.
It Might Be Instinct to Protect Her Kittens
In the wild, cats will move their kittens to a hidden and secure location to keep them safe from predators. This instinct didn’t go away just because your cat is domesticated. She might feel that her kittens are threatened and will move them, one at a time.
If mom returns and the area is relatively safe, leave the kittens alone with mom until they are weaned. You can offer a shelter and regular food to mom, but keep the food and shelter at a distance from each other.
Kittens Are Becoming More Independent
Kittens don’t stay little very long. Mothers know when it’s time to back off and allow their little ones to develop some independence. You might see the mom leaving just a few weeks after the kittens were born. That’s perfectly normal and expected behavior.
A newborn kitten can only survive for 12 hours without a mother’s milk. A little grown-up kitten can survive up to 4 days without food. In such cases, keep the alternative of milk which contains almost all the nutrients. A milk replacement formula is one such option.
The ASPCA also noted you don’t want to wait longer than two weeks before starting to handle the kittens. Pick a kitten up, hold him for a minute or two, gently stroking him, and then return him to his mom. It’s important not to keep young kittens away from their mom for more than a few minutes at a time.
If the male cat is neutered or the baby’s father, it is fine to allow him near the kittens. A male cat that hasn’t been neutered is too unpredictable and might attack kittens, so it’s better to keep them away. A neutered male cat will not have the desire to harm the kittens and will give them little attention.
It is a common misconception that a mother cat will not care for her kittens if they are touched, but don’t worry she doesn’t mind. However, don’t be surprised if they’re moved the next time you check on them! If you find neonatal kittens the best thing to do is leave them alone! Mom will most likely come back.
Can male cats recognize their own kittens? Most likely not, since in feral colonies cats will breed repeatedly and can end up with a litter from more than one father. This can make it difficult for tomcats to recognize their kittens, but some can recognize their offspring through scent.
The best way to determine if your cat is producing milk is by observing the kittens. Newborns spend long hours nursing - up to 8 hours per day - with sessions lasting up to 45 minutes. When the mother’s milk is being let down, the kittens will each latch onto a preferred nipple and stay there.
Still, you can know that milk is being produced if the kittens are nuzzling up to their mother’s belly and suckling on her nipples. Kittens intuitively know how to suck. They will spend their time either suckling or sleeping. When there is no problem in the mother’s lactation, the kittens will be quiet and sedate.
Should newborn kittens be kept in the dark? Kittens are born blind and don’t open their eyes until somewhere between 7-14 days. They won’t need to stay in a dark room, but it’s best to keep them away from bright lights.
Sometimes its behind the couch, under my bed and even in my boys toy box. Why would she be doing this? She is trying to find a safe and quiet place to take care of them. I would suggest providing her with a box in a dark area of the home with little to no traffic.
If the mother cat is residing with you for a long time she is familiar with your scent, and she may allow you to touch and handle her kittens. It is still advised not to interfere in the little cat family until they are a week older.
Kittens less than two weeks of age require feedings every two to four hours. Kittens two to four weeks of age need feedings every four to six hours. Weaning, as described below, should begin at three to four weeks of age.
The First Week. When kittens are first born, they are helplessthey cannot see, hear, keep themselves warm, or eliminate waste on their own. They fit in the palm of your hand and weigh 3-5 ounces.
Vets recommend not touching kittens unless you have to while their eyes are still closed. You can check on them to make sure they’re healthy and gaining weight, but try to limit direct physical contact. The kitten’s mother will also let you know how comfortable she is with you handling her babies.
How soon after birth can my cat go outside again? Newborn kittens need to feed every two to three hours, so it’s likely your cat won’t want to leave them for the first week or so. They also rely on her for protection and warmth, so she’ll need to stay close to them.
One common thread among mother cats is that they are likely to move their kittens around quite a bit in the immediate days after birth. The Kitten Care website says that mother cats will move their kittens if there is too much light where they are located, or if the mother cat does not feel safe for whatever reason.
A: You can leave a kitten home alone for short periods of time. Kittens younger than four months of age should not be left alone for more than a couple of hours. Over four months, they can handle up to five hours. When they turn six months, they should be able to handle your 8-hour workday.
Your new kitten is hungry
It turns out that kitten babies and human babies actually might have more in common than you might think. Kittens cry out if they’re hungry or if they feel it has been too long in between their feeding times.
Orphaned kittens and puppies cannot pee and poop by themselves until they are 3-4 weeks old. Usually, the mother stimulates her litter to pee and poop until that time.