Our Cat Ate Her Kittens!

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Karen, Sep 30, 2004.

  1. Karen

    Karen Well-Known Member Supporter

    Apr 17, 2002
    Beautiful SW Mountains of Virginia
    We are totally tramatized tonight!!! One of our barn cats had her kittens. They were a little early but all 4 were moving around, active, and breathing fine. It seemed kind of odd at first because the cat brought the kittens to the porch and just layed them there and took off. We figured maybe she was going to get a drink or something and come back and nurse the kittens or was getting something for bedding, etc. We really wasn't sure what she was doing. She was the best mother in the world previously.

    Anyway, we were in the process of find a box and bedding to put the kittens in because it was getting dark and we were thinking she might not be considering making a bed for them. We went back out and 2 were gone! We first thought she took them somewhere but there she sat, just looking at us. She then went over to the 3rd one and we thought she was licking it but instead proceeded to bite off it's legs and then eat the entire kitten in just a few gulps!!! We tried to get the one left but she was growling and scratching for us to stay away from it. She then went over and did in the other one.

    I've been around cats all my life and never saw this type of behavior before. She is fine now and just seems very sad. Is it because they were premature and she was just taking care of business knowing they wouldn't make it??? I've got a little boy who will have nightmare's tonight! Although I'm not so sure he's going to be the only one!!! We just weren't expecting anything like this and it happened so sudden!
  2. sancraft

    sancraft Well-Known Member

    Jun 7, 2002
    Somrtimes our pets have a way of showing us that no matter how much we personify them, they are not human. Her kittens were probably not viable and in the wild would have been a liability. She did what she needed to do to "save" herself. After all, self preservation is the first law of nature. My now deceased poodle Peanut, was a wonderful mother. She even taught her daughters how to care for their puppies. In one litter, she had a pup that was smaller, but seemed okay. She kept throwing it out of the whelping box. We kept putting it back. Finally she bite the puppy's head off, threw it out of the box and gave me a "now what" look. I got the picture. Something was wrong with that puppy and she wasn't going to risk her other pups lives feeding it only for it to die or be sickly later.

  3. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

    Aug 4, 2003
    Zone Unknown
    Ooooooh, this is one reason i don't have cats!

    I've never had a cat eat her own kittens :waa: , but I've had a couple who went insane. ! Really! And all of the ones I've had who went insane were female cats.

    I wish I could be more helpful, but I really have seen some of the craziest behavior from cats --- dogs, to me at least, are so much more predictable and stable.

    I'm sorry this happened. :(
  4. Gayle in KY

    Gayle in KY Gadabout

    May 13, 2002
    Sancraft is right. There was something wrong with the kittens. Animals can sense things we don't know or understand.
  5. vegascowgirl

    vegascowgirl Try Me

    Sep 19, 2004
    somewhere, and No where
    How many other barn cats do you have? sometimes an animals will eat/kill it's young in order to cut down on future competition for their food supply. However you stated that they were early, as many have said, it is most likely that these premature kittens had something wrong with them.
  6. John_in_Houston

    John_in_Houston Well-Known Member

    Nov 26, 2003
    Sometimes animals do that...


    I'm going to test my psychic ability by predicting that joan will make an abortion-related post in this thread :haha:
  7. moopups

    moopups In Remembrance

    May 12, 2002
    In beautiful downtown Sticks, near Belleview, Fl.
    I have seen this before in a milk fever related situtation. The mother cat apparently thinks she can allways have more kittens; this happens in elephants also when there is not enought water for all to survive.
  8. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

    Jul 27, 2004
    Major bummer from a kid point of view though, no matter why she did it. I would probably take positive action at this point, capture that cat and have her spayed. It gives a child something to hang their hat on, so to speak, and if, as some of the posters have suggested, it is an issue with overcrowding, it will cut down on that issue. If it is that the cat simply is getting older and her kittens are less viable, it will put an end to that as well.
  9. MelissaW

    MelissaW Well-Known Member

    Jun 18, 2003
    NE Ohio
    Was it her first litter? I have had this happen with both cats and rabbits. I agree that animals know when something is not right with their young. It seems like it usually happens with a first litter, or when the mother is very young. It's never an easy thing to see though!
  10. bethlaf

    bethlaf Homegrown Family

    May 26, 2004
    ok , one of many things, the kittens were premature, and therefore a liability, perhaps theres not enough food around or maybe a new tom cat in the area,who seems a healthier sire for her kittens
    perhaps chlamydia(yes many cats have it too)
    perhaps shes not the top cat on the farm and wasnt "supposed" to have kittens
    perhaps mother herself is old, and instinctively knew she couldnt feed them ,
    i know that doesnt make it any easier to explain to your child , but , well, thats life, and its a hard lesson for a child to learn . i sympathize with you, we lost one of our family pets on new years eve of last year, he was 12 years old, hes moved with me from state to state, even lasting through my ex husband shooting him when i left him behind, it was a terrible decision, and one i regret to this day , but thankfully i got my kitty back and he was loved and pampered till his death ..
    my daughter is 4 , and she still comes to me and askes me about Moonkitty, and hwere he is, and his body, and if hes in jesus's lap .... and its hard !
    darn it , life and death are the hardest things for a child to learn .
  11. Jan Doling

    Jan Doling Well-Known Member

    May 21, 2004
    Zone 9b
    "Major bummer from a kid point of view though"

    When I was a kid, my cousin's cat ate a kitten. I ran home to my dad and blurted out "I went to Dona's house and her cat had kittens and she ate one". My father deadpanned "Wow...why would Donna want to eat a kitten?". I still remember the laughter rather than the trauma.
  12. tallpines

    tallpines Well-Known Member

    Apr 9, 2003
    A woods in Wisconsin
    We've experienced this in both cats and rabbits, also. Seems to occur when the animal is exposed to extra stress.
    Hard to deal with, especially with younger children------I have no solutions---other than strive to give the animal peace and quiet during the birthing process, and even then it is unpredictable-------seems to be part of the natural selection process.
  13. ginnie5

    ginnie5 wife,mom,taxi driver,cook Supporter

    Jul 15, 2003
    Near Charlotte NC
    it happens. We had a siamese who was crazy. She had previously been a great mom. Had another litter, nursed them, cleaned them the whole 9 yards. Once they were big enough to crawl she killed ever single one of them. She ate only parts of them too.Left the rest for me to clean up. She got fixed after that. Shortly after we ended up giving her away. The kids never could stand being around her after that. They were afraid she would start chewing on them during the night.
  14. mysticokra

    mysticokra Well-Known Member

    Feb 5, 2003
    Estillfork, Alabama
    Maybe she met some "teenage" cats and decided to save herself some grief.
  15. BamaSuzy

    BamaSuzy Well-Known Member

    May 10, 2002
    I know this happens sometimes in rabbits (THANK GOODNESS none of mine have ever done that!!!!) but haven't experienced with kittens and cats either....

    All our cats are either spayed or neutered so we down have that to worry about....and we have FIVE inside cats!

    I know with rabbits, the "experts" tell you that if you've had one whose eaten their litter before to give them a piece of raw bacon right before they kindle. It may be some sort of vitamin deficiency or something....but I am SO SORRY that it was traumatic to you and your children!!!!

    (My husband says I'm probably the only person inthe U.S. who cries when one of my chickens dies!---but I can't help it!)
  16. torade

    torade Well-Known Member

    Jun 17, 2004
    Iron Range
    Yumm, does she have any recipes?