Why is my mother cat crying when her kitten leaves her or hides?

  • Mother cries a lot whenever kitten leaves her or hides. Also concerned about kitten eating now (almost six weeks) but not using her little litter box.

  • Hi Martha,

    There are a few possibilities why Mom cat is crying a lot: 

    - It could be separation anxiety from any other kittens from this litter, who have since been removed from her. Typically, kittens should remain with their mother until they reach the age of 12 weeks. 

    - She may have gone back into heat. It's quite common for a female cat to do so, anywhere from 1 to 7 weeks after giving birth. If you believe this could be the cause, consider a trip to your veterinarian to discuss having her spayed. 

    - If she is already a somewhat frightened or timid cat, she may feel more at ease with her kitten by her side. As if she views her kitten as a kind of protection that she receives and the courage to provide. And when kitten leaves her, she may feel vulnerable and unsettled - until it's return. 

    - There could also be an underlying medical condition that has evolved, either from before, during the birthing process or since the kitten(s) arrived. 

    As for the kitten not using the litter box; this could be a result of Mom cat not teaching him/her. Instinctively, a mother cat will usually teach their offspring what to do in these necessary situations, but some mother cats have no desire to do so. 

    To help encourage: try picking kitten up and gently place her/him inside the litter box. Doing this throughout the day, wether kitten has to "go" or not will help the kitten to associate what the space is meant for. While you want to keep the litter box clean, be sure to allow for a bit of urine (from Mom cat) to remain in the litter box, at times, so the scent is present and will help speed up the realization. Treats and catnip can help with enticement. Just be sure to only provide a treat if there has been a successful outcome. That way, the kitten will know what she/he is being rewarded for. 


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