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Six reasons why mama cats move their kittens

Sometimes you see feral kittens in different locations. Especially you see this in a place where there are many feral cats, like where I live, and especially during kitten season, which around here is in fall and spring, fall especially. But then it may be different in other climates. Here are six reasons why some mother cats move their kittens around.

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A mother cat may sense the place she’d put her kittens is dangerous. Maybe she had to defend her kittens against a dog or a fox. Or maybe she just senses them around, their smell and sounds. That’s why mother cats move their babies around.

Cold or heat

If the kittens’ place is too hot, mother cat may take her kittens to a cooler place, like in the shadow of a bush. And if it’s too cold, mother cat will take her babies to a place that’s protected from the wind.


Cats are clean animals, and mother cat will move her kittens around if the place she’d put them in is dirty.

Noise and lack of privacy

When kids show too much interst in the new kittens, or there’s too much noise from cars horns or loud music, or if too many people walk by, mother cat will move her kittens somewhere quieter and more secluded. Cats are afraid of noise, and they’re solitary animals.

A better offer somewher else

If mother cat finds a better place for her kittens, a safer, warmer, and more comfortable place, she’ll remove them there. My Princessa, a feral cat, had brought her four kittens to my house and had settled in the laundry room in a cardboard box with them.

If mother cat finds a heated cats house in winter, she’s very likely to move her kittens inside.

Closer to food

If a feral mother cat finds a food source somewhere far from her kittens, like in garbage cans or being fed by a nice cats feeder, she’ll want her kittens not too far away. That’s why some stray cats move their kittens around, so they can keep an eye on their kittens while they eat, or at least not be too far from them.

Where do stray mother cats move their kittens?

Mother cats will move their kittens to a safe hiding place. Under bushes is a good place. I knew a cat who lived under a curling bush in the yard adjoining to mine. Cats like hiding their kittens for safety reasons.

Cats will move their kittens to a warm, safe, and comfortable place, or what they consider safe and comfortable. I knew a cat who hid her kittens in the electricity closet in my building, right outside my apartment’s door. Untill she moved them away.

A favorite person’s house will do. If you feed a mother cat, and she trusts you, she may take her kittens to your house, especially if you live on the first floor, and it’s easy to access your window.

A cats’ house will do, espeically a heated cats’ house.

Someplace soft for the kittens to sleep on, like a pile of clothes or a mattress that someone had thrown out.

How far do mother cats move their kittens?

Probably not far. Cats don’t like to stray far from their territory, and a mother cat won’t risk putting her kittens in an unfamiliar place. A stray mother cat may move her kittens to other places in the yard, maybe the adjoining yard. Usually not farther than that.

How often do mother cats move their kittens?

Pretty often. I’ve seen this happen more than once. Stray cats live in pretty unsafe conditions, and the chances of a run in with a fox, coyote, or a dog are high. Also, in urban areas, curious kids hanging around newborn kittens is not unusual. And mother cats are very protective of their kittens.

Do mother cats leave their newborn kittens alone?

They have to if they want to survive. Feral cats have to go get their food and water, or they’ll die, and then there will be no one to care for the kittens.

Mother cats try not to leave their kittens alone too much. When my Princessa was living on the streets and showing up for mealtimes, she had her babies and didn’t show up for weeks. She didn’t want to leave them. They were probably what she considered too far from my apartment, and therefore too far from her to go to. That’s before she became a permanent resident in my house.

Why does mom cat move one kitten?

If one kitten is sick, mother cat doesn’t want it to infect the others.

Or maybe, if the hiding place is very small, or if mother cat has many kittens, there’s not enough space for all of them as they start growning bigger in size.

Or maybe one of the kittens seems smaller and more vulnerable than the other kittens, so the mother cat takes it to a safer place.

Why does my cat keep moving her kittens?

Why does your house cat keep moving her kittens? There are no predators or dangers in your house, but there are imagined ones. Maybe your dog insists on sniffing the kitttens, while getting too close for the mother cat’s taste, or maybe there’s too much noise in the room where you cat have placed her kittens.

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3 thoughts on “Six reasons why mama cats move their kittens

    1. You learn a lot when you have cats in your house, and I also used to feed feral cats when I was little. Still, I need to read online occasionally, sometimes just to confim something I already know.

      And we have a HUGE amount of feral cats here.

      Liked by 1 person

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