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Mum cat keeps biting her 3 day old kittens.

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Dear All,

My cat Neve gave birth to 4 of the most beautiful kittens 3 days ago, she seems to be a great mother, she wont leave their side and is constantly feeding and cleaning them.

My first concern is, is it normal for a mother to lick the kitties bottoms so often, she seems to be doing it constantly, to the point where the kittens actually start crying,

my second most important issue is that just out of the blue for no reason at all she will start biting one of the kittens, it looks like she is actually chewing on them, its gotten so bad that I stay near them constantly and if I hear the kitties crying I will run over and reprimand Neve, this seems to help as she stops and looks at me as if saying, What? What did I do? Is this normal? Can anyone explain this behaviour to me and advise?

Neve is only a baby herself, she is 1 years old, and got pregnant within a month after we adopted her. We live in China and bought her at a bird market where she was kept in a tiny bird cage. She has a very playful nature, she loves to bite and chew on everything, she is not really a cuddly cat, she hates to be handled, if you stroke her she starts biting, I thought maybe her playful nature was the reason why she keeps biting the little angels, but that being said, after the birth I can pet her as much as I like and she loves it. I think that we have developed a stronger bond since the birth, she was in labour the entire night and kept me up until about 5am, she wouldnt let me leave her side until she had delivered the first 3, at that time she seemed to have settled down and my boyfriend sat and delivered the last little one as I needed to take my 6 year old to school. She seemed to only be able to push out the next one when she was being comforted, I think this is so amazing, Cats are awesome, I feel like a new mummy all over again.
post #2 of 23
She is awfully young to give birth and perhaps feels overwhelmed. I would get her spayed after the kittens are weaned, and keep a close eye out on her mothering tendencies. Give her a break from them about 20 minutes a day by taking her in another room when they are sleeping. If you do decide to take them from her (if you fear she will hurt them) then it is up to you to make sure they either nurse off her every two hours, or you bottle feed them every two hours and keep them warm in the meantime. It is quite a responsibility to bottle feed, so you may just want to watch them to be sure they are safe.
post #3 of 23
As far as her licking the kittens bottom, she is stimulating them to go to the bathroom, and that is quite normal.

I have only dealt with this situation once, where a first time Queen didn't get her milk in and because she couldn't console her babies, she became nervous and agitated and began biting the newborns in an aggressive manner. If the kittens are crying, I would assume that something may be wrong, such as not getting enough food, or not being stimulated enough to urinate or deficate. If you take a cotton ball, and stimulate the kittens to urinate, you can see the color of urine. If it is dark yellow, they may not be getting enough to eat.
Are the kittens latching on to a nipple easily? If any are having difficulty try helping them to latch.
Other things that came to mind, if she did seem agitated was a possible kitten or placenta left inside. Does she have a fever?
Keep a close eye, and hopefully as she continues learning to take care of her kittens and settles down, this behavior will stop.
post #4 of 23
Licking the bottoms is what she is supposed to do. Baby kittens cannot pee or poo without the Mom licking them. (This ensures the nest stays clean, so predators can't smell them and find them.)

With the biting-is she biting the same kitten each time? If so, it is possible she thinks that one is ill...cats will kill their kittens if they think they are sick.

Do the kittens bellies all look round and full? Are they mostly sleeping, while attached to Mom and nursing?
post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beckiboo
Licking the bottoms is what she is supposed to do. Baby kittens cannot pee or poo without the Mom licking them. (This ensures the nest stays clean, so predators can't smell them and find them.)

With the biting-is she biting the same kitten each time? If so, it is possible she thinks that one is ill...cats will kill their kittens if they think they are sick.

Do the kittens bellies all look round and full? Are they mostly sleeping, while attached to Mom and nursing?
Perhaps I wasnt to clear in my explanation.... I am aware of the fact that the mother is suppose to lick them down there, I am worried that she is doing it too much, she licks them constantly while she is nursing and when they are sleeping, the babies actually start crying, so I was wondering if it is possible for a mummy cat to lick too much??? (seeing that her tongue is so rough)

The babies are fat and healthy and have grown a lot in the last 3 days, and no she doesnt just pick on one, she just randomly starts chewing on one.

The babies suckle fine and sleep a lot, I doubt that this is a health problem, I really think it is to do with the mother? The mother is a long haired cat and summer is kicking in over here, is it possible that she feels hot and bothered?
post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShanghaiC
Perhaps I wasnt to clear in my explanation.... I am aware of the fact that the mother is suppose to lick them down there, I am worried that she is doing it too much, she licks them constantly while she is nursing and when they are sleeping, the babies actually start crying, so I was wondering if it is possible for a mummy cat to lick too much??? (seeing that her tongue is so rough)

The babies are fat and healthy and have grown a lot in the last 3 days, and no she doesnt just pick on one, she just randomly starts chewing on one.

The babies suckle fine and sleep a lot, I doubt that this is a health problem, I really think it is to do with the mother? The mother is a long haired cat and summer is kicking in over here, is it possible that she feels hot and bothered?
OK, thanks for explaining more. I wonder if she is just a little nervous, and overdoing things? If they are nursing well, and have nice round bellies...I suppose you will just have to try to keep intervening when she seems rough with them. I wouldn't worry so much about the overcleaning of the bottoms...but the biting is a concern. Maybe change how you are "reprimanding" her? Maybe just distracting her with yummy treats so she steps out of the box when she is getting overly rough with them.

Also, do you have any friends or neighbors who are cat people? Maybe having an experienced catperson over to observe Neve could give you some more advice.

P.S. Welcome to TCS! It is always fun to meet new people from all over the world!
post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hissy
She is awfully young to give birth and perhaps feels overwhelmed. I would get her spayed after the kittens are weaned, and keep a close eye out on her mothering tendencies. Give her a break from them about 20 minutes a day by taking her in another room when they are sleeping. If you do decide to take them from her (if you fear she will hurt them) then it is up to you to make sure they either nurse off her every two hours, or you bottle feed them every two hours and keep them warm in the meantime. It is quite a responsibility to bottle feed, so you may just want to watch them to be sure they are safe.
Thank you Hissy, I think you are probably right, maybe she is feeling a bit overwhelmed.... I have not even considered taking the babies away from her, she is very overprotective of them... She usually gets out of the box and lays on the floor near the babies but would jump right back in if one of them makes a peep, that is why I am so confused as to why she bites them like that... I have noticed that she hasnt made a #2 since the birth is this normal?
post #8 of 23
Thread Starter 
My neigbors are all Chinese, they would probably only advise the best methods to cook her.

This happens late at night so for me to jump out of bed every time I hear the kitties cry will probably send me down the deep end, by reprprimanding her I usually just say her name loudly to distract her.. this seems to work pretty well, but I will try your method to see if it helps, but I wonder if giving her treats will help, I dont want her to feel like she has done a good thing... (basing my experience on child behaviour)
post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShanghaiC
My neigbors are all Chinese, they would probably only advise the best methods to cook her.
thats so sad, but i guess things are very different in different parts of the world right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShanghaiC
I wonder if giving her treats will help, I dont want her to feel like she has done a good thing... (basing my experience on child behaviour)
That is why it was suggested to call her away from the litter to give the treat to her.
post #10 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShanghaiC
Thank you Hissy, I think you are probably right, maybe she is feeling a bit overwhelmed.... I have not even considered taking the babies away from her, she is very overprotective of them... She usually gets out of the box and lays on the floor near the babies but would jump right back in if one of them makes a peep, that is why I am so confused as to why she bites them like that... I have noticed that she hasnt made a #2 since the birth is this normal?
I would also like to welcome you to TCS....there is a good chance that she is reacting the way she is because she is stressed out. Where do you have her and her kittens?? Best thing is to keep her and her kittens in a quiet room that doesn't have a lot of traffic. She should be kept away from other animals and her litter box and food and water should be within reach. She also needs to be kept strictly indoors, right now she can get pregnant again within a few days of giving birth so she needs to be kept indoors only and away from intact males so she does not become pregnant again.

Katie
post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 
It is 8am here now, and I was up all night with the cats, the biting has become severe and excessive. She mainly goes for the throut area and wraps herself around the little ones, I cant get her away from them, I actually have to stick my hand in her mouth so she can stop biting them, this seems to make her angrier. I had to lock her out of the room this morning, I let her back in just to feed, but I do not trust her alone with them.

I am really worried, I doubt that I will be able to find the ingredients to hand rear them..... Just waiting until 9am so I can call my vet....

She stays in my bedroom with the little ones, her food and litter box is right there, it is quiet and no one to disturb them....
post #12 of 23
If you got her off the street, she has had a stressful life. I would be inclined to take the kittens from her at this point, but you say that you don't know if you can find the right stuff to feed them? I would put them with her every two hours to nurse, and I would watch over the litter as they nurse, or if you can get goat's milk and small nursing bottles you can start hand-feeding them.
post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShanghaiC
It is 8am here now, and I was up all night with the cats, the biting has become severe and excessive. She mainly goes for the throut area and wraps herself around the little ones, I cant get her away from them, I actually have to stick my hand in her mouth so she can stop biting them, this seems to make her angrier. I had to lock her out of the room this morning, I let her back in just to feed, but I do not trust her alone with them.

I am really worried, I doubt that I will be able to find the ingredients to hand rear them..... Just waiting until 9am so I can call my vet....

She stays in my bedroom with the little ones, her food and litter box is right there, it is quiet and no one to disturb them....
Perhaps your vet has someone who can foster the kittens and spay the mom cat. Good Luck.

Katie
post #14 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TNR1
I would also like to welcome you to TCS....there is a good chance that she is reacting the way she is because she is stressed out. Where do you have her and her kittens?? Best thing is to keep her and her kittens in a quiet room that doesn't have a lot of traffic. She should be kept away from other animals and her litter box and food and water should be within reach. She also needs to be kept strictly indoors, right now she can get pregnant again within a few days of giving birth so she needs to be kept indoors only and away from intact males so she does not become pregnant again.

Katie
OH NO! I let her out this morning to get some exercise, she is a ball of energy and really needs to run around and pounce, she was crying to go out, I think this helps her relieve the stress because she went in and took care of her babies without any problems.

She seems to be most aggresive at night and early mornings.
post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hissy
If you got her off the street, she has had a stressful life. I would be inclined to take the kittens from her at this point, but you say that you don't know if you can find the right stuff to feed them? I would put them with her every two hours to nurse, and I would watch over the litter as they nurse, or if you can get goat's milk and small nursing bottles you can start hand-feeding them.
Thank you Hissy. I kind of feel like I`m over reacting and should just leave her to take care of them, but we have had so many cats in the past who never behaved like this, so I am just completely blown away. It seems that she has had enough of parenthood.

She is with them now, she is feeding and cleaning them OK.

If I had to remove them from her, what else do I need to know apart from assisting them with #1 and # 2 and feeding???
post #16 of 23
I would keep her inside, she will become pregnant again if you let her outdoors. Give her a break from the kitten for about 20 minutes in another area of your home, and then put her back with the kittens. If you fear for them (their safety) www.kitten-rescue.com will guide you as to what to do. It is always best to leave the kittens with mom if possible, because she can take care of them so much better than we can.
post #17 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hissy
I would keep her inside, she will become pregnant again if you let her outdoors. Give her a break from the kitten for about 20 minutes in another area of your home, and then put her back with the kittens. If you fear for them (their safety) www.kitten-rescue.com will guide you as to what to do. It is always best to leave the kittens with mom if possible, because she can take care of them so much better than we can.
Thank you for all your advise I really appreciate it, and its given me a better perspective of what I need to do. I will follow your advice and see how that works.

Ive been sitting with her for the last hour watching her carefully and it seems that this problem only occurs at night and early mornings, do you think it has something to do with her not being able to be active and hunt at night? Im sorry Im asking too many stupid questions but I am really trying to understand this behaviour.... Do mummy cats sometimes play with their new born kittens?
post #18 of 23
My cat played a little with her kittens within the first week but she never hurt them or took it to the point where I was worried about them. They are 4 weeks old now and she has gotten more aggressive in her "play" with them and I was told that she was discipining them. But when she was doing it when they were little it looked more like she was pretending they were her prey. But, like I said, she never did it to the extreme it sounds like yours is. Sorry I'm no help.
post #19 of 23
Thread Starter 
I just spoke to the vet and he told me that this is normal, some mummies do tend to eat their babies and that I shouldnt interfere, I should just leave them and if they make it they make it and if they dont they dont..... He also said that I shouldnt take them away from her because they will almost definately die...... I want to cry, I just cant accept this, I helped bring them into this world, they are as much my babies as they are hers......

Thank you all so much for your advise, I think I prefer to follow suggestions given by you and give mummy as much time away from the kittens as possible and I am trying the snack thing......

Thank you again so much, you guys are awesome , this site is awesome... It makes me cry atleast once a day.
post #20 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momof3Cats&Kids
My cat played a little with her kittens within the first week but she never hurt them or took it to the point where I was worried about them. They are 4 weeks old now and she has gotten more aggressive in her "play" with them and I was told that she was discipining them. But when she was doing it when they were little it looked more like she was pretending they were her prey. But, like I said, she never did it to the extreme it sounds like yours is. Sorry I'm no help.
Can you describe how she played with them? At first I thought she was just playing but she is very rough, although I have checked them for marks and there are none....
post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShanghaiC
OH NO! I let her out this morning to get some exercise, she is a ball of energy and really needs to run around and pounce, she was crying to go out, I think this helps her relieve the stress because she went in and took care of her babies without any problems.

She seems to be most aggresive at night and early mornings.
I would not let her outside again until she has been spayed.

Katie
post #22 of 23
Thread Starter 
GOOD NEWS!!!!! We had a really good night last night. Its the first in 2 days that Neve (Neh+ Vee) did not bite her kittens at all, Im crossing my fingers that she has calmed down and will no longer hurt the little ones. I have been locking her out of the room for approx and hour and a half in the mornings when she got too rough, I suppose this helped? She seems to have taken a little interest in her toys again so I scattered them all over my room and the living room so she could take a break from the kittens, I also moved her litter box and her wet food out of the room so she could take longer breaks from the little ones. My vets advice scared the hell out of me and made me more determined to keep my little darlings out of harms way. Unfortunately for me, we can not keep any of them, but I really want to enjoy them for as long as I can, they have brought so much joy into my life since they were born, I couldnt bare to lose one just yet.

They are a week old today, their eyes have not opened yet and they still sleep a lot, when do they start getting more active, I cant wait to start playing and cuddling with them as I have such a short time with them?

I would like to thank all of you for your advice and support it really helped a lot, if I didnt come here first my darlings would probably not be here.

Charmaine
post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShanghaiC
GOOD NEWS!!!!! We had a really good night last night. Its the first in 2 days that Neve (Neh+ Vee) did not bite her kittens at all,
What great news! Neve is lucky to have such a loving Meowmie!
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