Pregnancy Issues: mother cat "mourns" after kittens given away

by Kandy
(Graham, NC )

Hi, Dr. Neely,

We have a 2 year old cat. The first litter consisted of 4 kittens, but they all died. We were not home when she gave birth, but she brought them to us later to show us.

We had prepared a box with a soft towel in the corner of a garage where it was quiet and dark, but she chose to give birth out in the back of my husband's truck, where it was cold and raining. Anyway, the kittens all died. For a while, she would go to the back of the truck and look for them and whine. After a while, she stopped.

Since then, she has given birth again. All 4 kittens are healthy and doing GREAT!! We have given all the kittens away but one.

My question is this: do mother cats "mourn" after their kittens??? She seems to be very agitated. She wants to go outside, she wants to come in. She seems very restless. This goes on all during the day and night. She just can't seem to get herself situated. She meows constantly. She scratches at the door constantly wanting to get out, but then she wants to come right back in.

What in the world is going on with my cat??????????

Hi, Kandy,

I believe cats do, in fact, mourn the departure of their kittens, but not to a great extent. They, in fact, start to get somewhat irritated with their kittens as they get older and approach weaning age.

I believe what may be bothering your kitty more than the loss of her kittens is the urge to go out and perhaps the urge to mate again. Cats can go into heat very soon after giving birth. I would advise you have her spayed since there are so many homeless cats in the world and so many being euthanized at shelters.

Thank you for writing,

Dr. Neely

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