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Here's a strange one: stillborn kitten missing!

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
My daughter's little female just had a little of kittens--not her first--and out of the 6 she gave birth to, one was stillborn. My husband, hurrying off to work, peeked in at them and noticed one was off to the side while the mother nursed the others. When my daughter stopped home in between jobs (I was working a 12 hour shift so I wasn't home), she noticed the kitten over to one side also but was late and didn't have time to dispose of it until she got off work later in the evening. I got home before her and checked in on them. All I counted was 5. The stillborn was missing! When my daughter got home, we checked all through the blankets in the whelping box and all we found was a severed tail. I am horrified! I know that our other 3 cats are not allowed in my daughter's living quarters so the only conclusion we've all drawn is that she consumed her dead kitten! Has anyone heard of such a thing happening?? The other babies are just fine and mommy is very attentive. I'd love to hear some feedback! Thanks so much!
post #2 of 5
Sadly it does happen. If the mom wanted it away from the litter in order to protect the litter from predators ( I know, there aren't any predators in the house) but momcat doesn't know that. When the kitten became a threat to the well-being of the family, she did something about it.

It is also possible she put the kitten somewhere in the room, and in tugging it around, might have dislodged the tail- don't dismiss that possibility.
post #3 of 5
I am sure one of the breeders will be able to respond to this better, but it seems to me that I have heard of this happening. In many ways, it makes sense, although it does seem somewhat 'out there' to our human sensibilities.

In the wild a mother cat needs to ensure the safety of her kittens and their nest. She does everything in her means to protect them which includes moving them when the smell of their occupancy could attract a predator. When she stimulates them to go to the bathroom, she often eats what they express, again to remove any smell that could draw a predator.

After birth on her own, the mother cat will eat the placenta again to remove anything that could put her kittens at risk while they are so young. A stillborn kitten, especially if it was still there after several hours, would pose a potential risk to the safety of the remaining kittens, so, even though your cat is 'domesticated' her survival instincts kick in and she takes care of the matter herself.

You need have no concerns for the remaining kittens. It sounds like she is a very good mother and has all of her instincts - albeit somewhat gruesome - intact. As I said earlier, I am sure a breeder will be able to provide you with more information.

post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
Oh, that makes sense! I never thought of the predator factor and mommy wanting to protect the litter. Thanks for that info!
post #5 of 5
Yep she ate it. When I took my queen to the vet we had an xray done and there was an obviouly deformed dead one in there. The vet said that most likely she would eat it and I wouldn't even see it if I wasn't there for the birth. She didn't eat it though I didn't give her a chance I removed it promptly after she had it. It's just what needs to be done and if your a cat there aren't many more options.
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