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Why does my cat keep taking one kitten away?

Why does my cat keep taking one kitten away?

August 18, 2023

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Why does my cat keep taking one kitten away? This is a common question that many cat owners ask themselves when they notice their feline companion repeatedly moving one particular kitten to a different location. While it may seem puzzling and even concerning, this behavior is actually quite natural for cats, and understanding the reasons behind it can help owners provide the best care for their furry family members.

The Instinctual Behavior of Mother Cats

Why does my cat keep taking one kitten away?

Mother cats have strong maternal instincts that drive them to protect and care for their kittens. Moving kittens to different locations is a behavior deeply rooted in their evolutionary history. In the wild, mother cats would often move their kittens to safer places to protect them from predators or other potential dangers.

This behavior is known as “translocation,” and it serves several purposes. First, it helps prevent predators from discovering the location of the entire litter. By moving one kitten at a time, the mother cat minimizes the risk of attracting attention to the entire group. Second, translocation helps prevent parasites and diseases from spreading among the kittens. By frequently changing their den site, mother cats reduce the chances of pathogens accumulating in one area.

Understanding Your Cat’s Motivations

While your domesticated cat may not face the same threats as her wild ancestors, she still retains these instinctual behaviors. The act of moving one kitten away can be triggered by various factors:

  • Perceived Threat: If your cat feels that there is a potential threat nearby, she may try to relocate one kitten to a safer place.
  • Environmental Factors: Changes in temperature or humidity can prompt a mother cat to move her kittens to a more comfortable location.
  • Stress or Anxiety: Cats are sensitive creatures, and if they feel stressed or anxious, they may attempt to find a more secure spot for their kittens.

Managing the Behavior

While it is natural for mother cats to move their kittens, there are steps you can take as an owner to manage this behavior and ensure the well-being of both the mother and her kittens.

Create a Safe and Comfortable Environment

Providing a secure and cozy space for your cat and her kittens is essential. Make sure the nesting area is secluded from noise and activity. Consider using a large box or a designated area in a quiet room where the mother cat can feel protected.

Ensure that the temperature in the nesting area is appropriate for newborn kittens. A warm and draft-free environment is crucial for their well-being. You can use heating pads designed specifically for pets, but be cautious not to make it too hot.

Minimize Stressors

Cats are sensitive to changes in their environment, so try to minimize any potential stressors. Keep loud noises, unfamiliar smells, and excessive handling to a minimum during the early weeks of the kittens’ lives.

If you have other pets in the household, it’s important to introduce them gradually and under close supervision. Allow your cat to become comfortable with their presence before giving them full access to the nesting area.

Observe from a Distance

Resist the temptation to constantly check on the kittens or handle them excessively. Mother cats are highly attuned to their young, and too much interference can cause stress and disrupt their natural caregiving instincts.

Instead, observe from a distance to ensure that all kittens are being cared for and are thriving. Monitor their weight gain, overall health, and the mother cat’s behavior to ensure everything is progressing as it should.

When to Seek Professional Help

In most cases, a mother cat moving one kitten away is a normal behavior that does not require intervention. However, there are situations where seeking professional help is necessary:

  • If the mother cat shows signs of aggression towards the kittens or fails to provide adequate care.
  • If a kitten appears weak, sick, or is consistently left behind by the mother.
  • If the mother cat continuously moves the kittens without settling in one location for an extended period.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s crucial to consult with a veterinarian or an experienced animal behaviorist who can assess the situation and provide appropriate guidance.


Understanding why your cat keeps taking one kitten away can help alleviate concerns and ensure the well-being of both the mother and her offspring. Remember that this behavior is deeply ingrained in cats’ instincts and serves a purpose in protecting their young. By creating a safe environment, minimizing stressors, and observing from a distance, you can support your cat through this natural process. If any concerns arise, do not hesitate to seek professional help. With patience and proper care, you can help your cat raise healthy and happy kittens.

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