Eating Babies - How Often?

The Goodbye Bird

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How often have you experienced a queen killing and/or eating her young?

One of the places I've reserved a foundation cat from, I was eyeing a nice litter of newborns whose parents were both just what I'm looking for as far as type and ear set. Queen killed some of them. There are barely any left now.

I've raised mice and I know it's quite common. I've known people who raised pigs and they're high on the list of savaging offspring as well.

But cats? I admit I don't really expect it. In fact if the queen just ate one, and many were left, I would trust her judgment that there was probably something wrong with that one.

Have you ever experienced queens killing whole litters or most of their litters?

If so, are there bad apples who repeat offend or is it something you mainly see in first-timers?
 

cataholic07

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This is what i read
"In addition to eating dead or sick kittens (to keep the living area and other kittens free from disease and infections) mother cats will occasionally (rarely) kill and sometimes eat healthy kittens due to stress.

This can occur in young mothers, who are more prone to rejecting their kittens, and in older mothers with hormonal imbalances that cause them to reject their young. Basically, a cat sometimes won't bond with her kittens, and won't recognise them as her own, and in her confused and stressed state she will see them as prey or a threat and attack them.

Cats (and dogs) will also kill their young if they feel stressed and unsafe. This sometimes occurs when humans try to move animals who have just given birth to a more convenient and safer place in the home - the animal chose the place they gave birth because that's where they felt safe, so humans moving them to a place they didn't choose (no matter how comfortable or safe that place is) can stress a mother animal out and cause her to kill her young.

This can also happen if the mother and babies are disturbed too much. Mother wants babies to be safely 'hidden' from everyone but the people and animals she trusts, so if the owners start allowing lots of visitors to come and see the new kittens (or puppies) then the mother can get very stressed and kill her own offspring if she cannot move them somewhere she feels safer."

Not sure if she was a first time mom, if the kittens were sick or super stressed but yes sadly it does happen. Most tend to just reject the sick ones or ones with defects rather then eating or killing them though.
 

lutece

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This is not a common occurrence in cats. I have never had it happen with one of my own cats... I've heard of it happening once with a friend's litter; a mother cat killed and partially ate two of her newborns. It was not the cat's first litter, and it was impossible to tell if anything had been wrong with the newborns. That's the only time I have ever heard of this happening in practice.

I suppose it's possible that it happens more in Oriental Shorthairs? I have never raised any of the slinky breeds, so I don't know. Did the breeder say this is something they've seen before?
 
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The Goodbye Bird

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Did the breeder say this is something they've seen before?
No but they have convenient links to every litter they ever had and it seems this is the only time it ever happened.

I do know that slinkies are higher-energy and perhaps even more nervous than other breeds. A lot of videos I've watched of them have them doing what I consider to be compulsively licking, and my gut tells me this is a seed of the same sort of behaviour that baby-eating is.

Still gross though. I really hope I never have to go through it.

I'll tough it out but I will probably puke my guts out if I have to dispose of a half-eaten kitten.

Geez. What would one even do with that? I wouldn't want to just bag it up and throw it away.
 

lutece

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Although it's not common to have mother cats kill their kittens, you should expect to have occasional kitten losses for other reasons (stillbirths and early neonatal deaths). It is sad when a kitten doesn't make it, but I don't find it any more gross or puke-inducing than cleaning up everyday cat messes. Since you asked how to dispose of it, if I ever have a stillborn kitten that I'm not planning to necropsy, I wrap it in a paper towel and put it in the compost... it's the same thing I do with uneaten placentas. It's more appropriate in my opinion than putting it in the trash and sending it to the landfill. We have city compost bins (picked up weekly and processed by the city).
 
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The Goodbye Bird

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I don't find it any more gross or puke-inducing than cleaning up everyday cat messes.
So when I say half-eaten, I'm thinking about what I had to deal with concerning the mice.

Never, ever, ever watch this video. There are babies half (and more) eaten, and still alive. The only reason it's not as big a deal to me is that they're born so embryonic that it's not really (to me, anyway) an individual yet, with its own personality and consciousness. It would be a bigger deal with a kitten because 1) each kitten is objectively a bigger deal; it takes more time and resources to make a kitten than a pinky and 2) they're born more well-developed... still blind and deaf, but more well-developed than a pinky.

;

I wrap it in a paper towel and put it in the compost... it's the same thing I do with uneaten placentas. It's more appropriate in my opinion than putting it in the trash and sending it to the landfill.
By leaps and bounds. +1
 
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GoldyCat

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This is not a common occurrence in cats. I have never had it happen with one of my own cats... I've heard of it happening once with a friend's litter; a mother cat killed and partially ate two of her newborns. It was not the cat's first litter, and it was impossible to tell if anything had been wrong with the newborns. That's the only time I have ever heard of this happening in practice.

I suppose it's possible that it happens more in Oriental Shorthairs? I have never raised any of the slinky breeds, so I don't know. Did the breeder say this is something they've seen before?
A friend of mine who breeds Oriental Shorthairs had a queen who killed her first litter. She had the cat spayed immediately assuming that she would never be a good mother. This is the only instance I know of personally although I've heard that it does happen occasionally.
 

Krienze

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When I was a kid, my neighbor had a cat that had kittens. She hid the kittens and let them die by ignoring them, but didn't eat them. My neighbor found them whole, I guess, is how she knew. My mother thought maybe the kittens had been sick, but we can't say for sure.

Our kitten, K.C, was also ignored by his mother. Him we took in and bottle fed and he survived for about a year before passing to cancer that he had apparently had since birth. So maybe there is some weight to that theory.

That's all I know though :3

As for disposing... when Sadie gave birth to Sammy, before him, she had a stillborn kitten. My mother simply boxed the kitten up in a old shoe box and buried him in our yard =/
 
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The Goodbye Bird

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A friend of mine who breeds Oriental Shorthairs had a queen who killed her first litter. She had the cat spayed immediately assuming that she would never be a good mother.
I think I would wait to see if it happened again. But if I gave her another chance and she betrayed me, I would absolutely amputate her uterus, and I'm someone who feels particularly bad about doing this. I still know it's necessary in most instances.

It's sad when any animal, let alone an outstanding specimen of a pure breed, simply can't pass on its genes. A lot of behaviours have a strong genetic basis though, so not spaying in this instance would give you short-term gains (a litter of kittens, provided you bottlefeed them) at the expense of the whole breed. It would be little better than having a dog with food aggression and deciding to breed it.
 
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