Cats are usually good mothers who would give their lives to protect their kittens. Every once in a while, you see small kittens that have been abandoned. There are reasons why mother cats abandon their babies.
When the kittens are sick
Why do cats abandon one kitten? Well, mother cat doesn’t know about vets or antibiotics. If she sees one of her kittens is sick, she believes they’ll die. Maybe she wants to save her milk and energy for her other kittens, who have a better chance of survival, or maybe she can’t stand to watch her young die. So feral cats abandon their sick kitten as an act of desperation.
If the mother is dead
Sometimes it looks as if the mother has abandoned her kittens, when in fact mother cat was hit by a car or died from sickness. It can happen. Roads are a death trap for cats at night. Orphaned kittens have a better chance of survival than abandoned kittens, because the orphans aren’t necessarily sick.
The mother could be displaced after being trapped for spaying. There are programs for neutering stray cats where I live.
Not a motherly cat
Every cat has a different personality. I knew one cat who left her kittens when they were almost as large as she was, and she still visited regularly. She was a very nurturing and motherly cat. Just like she was more nurturing than the average cat, some cats are less nurturing. A mother cat who’s not loving toward her kittens will reject and abandon them. It’s unusual, of course.
The mother isn’t far
Sometimes the mother searches for food and leaves the kittens alone, so it seems as if the kittens are abandoned, but they’re not. If you wait a long time, and the mother isn’t back yet, perhaps that isn’t the case.
At what age do cats abandon their kittens?
Mother cats usually abandon their kittens when they’re old enough to fend for themselves, otherwise, they’ll have dozens of cats following them around and taking their food and their energy, so they really don’t have a choice. They get pregnant twice a year or so and have four kittens in a litter each time on average. That’s eight kittens a year. And in a few years… do the math. That’s really too much for anyone.
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