Normally, a kitten should stay with its mother until it is 8 to 10 weeks old, until it is fully weaned. But it can happen that the latter rejects them before this date, or even from their birth. In this case, it will be particularly irritated, even aggressive in front of their little one. It will refuse to breastfeed them, to wash them and will do everything to keep them away from them. But what could push them to act like this?
1. The kitten is too weak
In order to avoid contaminating her other young, a cat can push away a sick kitten. Likewise if the kitten is too small or has a physical malformation. If it thinks it has no chance of survival, it won’t hesitate to reject them in order to focus their attention on the healthy kittens.
Thus, it is recommended to immediately remove from the family nest a kitten rejected by its mother, otherwise the latter will start to reject all the other kittens in the litter.
2. The span is too big
If the cat has given birth to a large litter, it may reject some of their smaller kittens so that it can reserve their milk and care for others. Indeed, it knows that there will not be enough milk for everyone. It must therefore make this difficult choice within 24 hours of the birth.
Remember that female cats can only nurse eight kittens at a time!
3. The cat is sick
If, at the time of their birth, the cat is sick, it can decide to reject their young. In fact, not only does it not want to transmit their disease to them, but it also does not have the strength to take care of it.
In addition, some cats develop mastitis, which is an infection of the mammary gland. The nipples then become swollen, hard and warm to the touch. In this case, breastfeeding will be a source of excruciating pain for the mother. It will then have the reflex to reject their young to put an end to their ordeal.
4. The cat lacks maternal instincts
A cat that is too young, too stressed, traumatized during childbirth or who simply does not have maternal instincts may tend to lose interest completely in their kittens.
However, it is possible to try to help their understand their new role as a mother by immediately showing their how to take care of their kittens. For example, place a kitten close to their nipples, in the correct suckling position, to teach their how to breastfeed.
5. Pussy is neglected
A malnourished cat will not be able to provide all the milk their young need, leading to rejection of the litter. The same if it does not have a space where it can feel safe with their kittens.
6. The cat does not recognize their kittens
At the time of birth, the cat produces maternity hormones that allow them to recognize their kittens as their own. However, it sometimes happens that it does not have time to produce these hormones, especially in the event of a caesarean section. In this case, it does not recognize their young as theirs and rejects them.