Guest post by Madeli Endrich of Raise ‘n Rescue
We were asked to assist with a cat that gave birth during late morning today. She is a very young fluffy ginger and white mommy cat and her carer took her in off the streets as she regularly came there for food. We named her Katniss. The first born kitten was a calico girl, but unfortunately she was deformed. The girl passed away shortly before they brought the mom to us. We decided to name her Primrose; even if she did not make it, everyone deserves to have a name. Primrose had no eyes that we could identify, her front left leg was completely missing, her bottom half of her face was completely misformed with what looked like a cleft palate too, and her back legs were also deformed.
We were told by the rescuer that she had given birth to 4 kittens, but when they arrived there are only 3 kittens, Primrose and her two brothers Finnick and Gale. Katniss ate her 4th kitten.
While this seems terribly upsetting to most, there is a very good natural reason for this and we are certain it happens often. Mother cats will sometimes eat their kittens when:
- they are stressed and believe that the kitten(s) will not be safe as she views everyone as a threat. Cats know there are many threats to their kitten’s survival; when they feel they cannot control these stresses, they will rather eat their kittens than allow predators to get to them.
the kitten(s) are not healthy or stillborn. Moms might instinctively know that a kitten or kittens are not healthy enough to survive and then she will eat them to get rid of the carcasses in the nest and she knows they will provide her with much needed nutrients.
added resources. The mother cat needs additional nutrients that her diet lacks due to her being homeless or not getting adequate food. She knows the kittens are a good source of sustainable food and that she has to produce milk to provide for the remaining kittens.
she is simply an inexperienced mom and too young to breed so she will eat the kitten(s).
These reasons, as well as other health risks that mom cats may be exposed to when giving birth or after, are enough motivation for us to abort pregnancies in cats. We understand that there are people arguing against it, but we see the bigger picture and we believe that mothers’ health is a higher priority. Those who are born and survive deserve a chance. We will sterilise any pregnant cat irrespective of how far the pregnancy is, after all, very few can determine how far a cat’s gestation is.
Please sterilise your cat and if you rescue a pregnant cat that needs to be sterilised, please do so soonest. Her life is priority. Luckily Katniss has a kind carer who will keep her.
We will introduce Katniss and her two boys once she has survived her traumatic birth and the boys survive. Rest in peace dear Primrose and unknown sibling.