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Why Does My Cat Keep Moving Her Kittens?

David Fields
Last Updated on
by David Fields

In this article, we will explain why cats often move their kittens around.

It is common to find cats tucking their young ones to a different place and moving them more than once. Instinctively, cats want to see the tidiest and cleanest place to lay their kittens as they become accustomed to surviving outside the womb.

A cat playing with its kittens
Cat Playing with Kittens

Why Do Cats Move Their Kittens?

Here are possible reasons why cats move their kittens:

1. Seeking Quietness

Just like many mammals, mother cats yearn for a quiet place to settle down with kittens as they become used to life outside the womb. Distractions like blaring music, a noisy street below, or even humans causing a raucous in the home are not the best environment for a new mother cat.

For this reason, a postpartum cat might find the strangest places to hide her kittens, such as the pantry. Utility closets and unoccupied rooms are popular too. If you live in close quarters, keep noise to a minimum and actively make room for the kittens to ease their mother’s anxiety.

2. For Safety of The Kittens

Apart from loud noises from appliances, the garage, and household members, security is another cause for concern for a cat recuperating from bearing down a bunch of kittens. If she gave birth in the closet or other designated area, she might relocate her brood to a presumptuously safer place.

The original site could pose a threat for one reason or another, even when the reality is not valid. And stress can make the cat anxious and overly aggressive, thereby taking attention away from their nursing duties which are vehemently crucial for the survival of her kittens.

3. To Provide Clean Nest

After giving birth in one area, the mother cat may not like the look and feel of her surroundings. You will find that your cat keeps moving kittens to a cleaner area just out of instinct. For example, having her babies in a smelly closet or abandoned space where mold is present is dangerous for new kittens.

Even normal odors that were not bothersome before giving birth may become worrisome after the kittens arrive. The mother cat will keep finding new places to hide her offspring until she is satisfied with the hygiene standards.

4. To Fend off Predators

Similar to what transpires in the greater animal kingdom, the feline world is not too different. There are many predators for kittens and their parents, some lurking in homes while others are out in nature. Coyotes, for instance, are found all over North America and are notorious for attacking pet cats and dogs.

Ensure your cat and her kittens are indoors during the night and don’t leave any pet food, or any food remains lying around the compound as this will attract coyotes savaging for food at night.

Other potential predators that worry mother cats include venomous snakes, raccoons, groundhogs, skunks, etc. If a nursing cat suspects that such predators may be close by, she will keep moving her kittens to throw them off the scent of her newborns.

5. A Warmer Place

Having new kittens over the holidays sounds like the perfect plan, but the new mother may dislike the cold weather and its effects on her kittens. If the house is not generally warm, the cat will move her litter to a more hospitable place away from open windows, hard flooring, and open doorways.

If you want to know how to stop cat from moving kittens, start with keeping the house warm during winter. This decision will provide enough friendly places for her kittens to thrive.

6. To Explore Surroundings

Newborn cats will be ready to start socializing within three to four weeks postpartum. The kittens start wandering around to understand their environment better but never straying too far from their mother. The mother may decide to move them to find a better location for her kittens to socialize.

The mother cat may leave the kittens for a while, searching for a better nesting place and looking for food. Leaving kittens is common practice in the feline world, so don’t be alarmed unless the mother cat fails to return for her offspring for longer than usual.

During this formative stage, the queen will train her offspring to use the litter box. Within four weeks, the kittens will be steady on their feet, exploring the area with confidence jumping and climbing atop furniture and other things.

7. Maternal Aggression

Maternal aggression is bound to kick in soon enough, no matter how safe or clean the cat’s environs are. Hormonal fluctuations postpartum can turn an otherwise friendly cat into an aggressive feline. If anyone or other animal attempts to attack, they’ll pounce.

Mother cats usually give off a nasty hiss if anyone interacts with the young kittens, no matter their motives. If cats feel threatened, they will keep relocating until they find a suitable low-traffic spot even away from your kids.

The overarching goal here is to fulfil her nursing duties without constantly needing to become aggressive.

8. Flat Surfaces

Not many households make the necessary preparations for a cat to birth her offspring. She may have her kittens in an area that quickly becomes uncomfortable with raising her litter.

The mother cat will walk around the home searching for a better place to nurse her kittens, such as under a bunk bed or a corner obscured from everyone else.

Why Do Cats Move Their Kittens?

So why do cats move their kittens? We have discussed many possibilities as to why cats keep moving their litter. If you have a busy household with several growing kids and adults, the new kittens may have too many guardians watching over them.

The excitement of holding new kittens and seeing them grow is uncontainable, but it could be triggering significant anxiety for the cat mother. If her hissy fits don’t quell this curiosity, she may opt to move her beloved kittens elsewhere. These felines tend to move their young as frequently as they deem appropriate and human interventions may not yield much.

About David Fields
David Fields
David Fields is a long-time animal lover and has been blessed to share his life with many companions. A short list includes ragdoll cats, siberian husky and greyhound dogs, an African Grey parrot, many fish of all sorts, and a pandemonium of parakeet. He writes most of the articles on iPetCompanion and is regularly featured on other popular websites on the Internet.
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