Every cat owner, at some point in their journey, may experience the delicate emotions and behaviors of a mother cat. Especially after birth, a mother cat exhibits a range of behaviors that revolve around her kittens. One such behavior that often raises concern among cat owners is when the mother cat seems to be crying or showing distress, calling out for her kittens. But should you be worried? Let’s delve deep into understanding this behavior.
Understanding Cat Behavior Post-Birth
Before jumping to conclusions, it’s essential to understand that feline behavior after birth can vary, just as with humans. The mother cat, often referred to as the ‘queen’, is under the influence of a cocktail of hormones post-delivery. These hormones not only help with milk production but also fortify the maternal instinct.
Why Does the Mother Cat Cry for Her Kittens?
There can be multiple reasons:
- Checking On Them: Sometimes, it’s merely a call to check on her kittens. Like how a human mother may call out to her child playing outside to ensure they’re okay, the queen might cry out to make sure her kittens respond, assuring her of their safety.
- Feeding Time: Mother cats often vocalize to gather their kittens for feeding. If you observe this behavior aligned with feeding patterns, it’s a routine call rather than a sign of distress.
- Distress or Anxiety: Just like humans, cats can experience postpartum anxiety. If she feels her kittens are in danger or if one of them isn’t responding, she might cry out in worry. Environmental stressors, like too much noise or unfamiliar scents, can exacerbate this.
- Physical Discomfort: Sometimes, the queen might be in pain or discomfort post-delivery. If she’s crying and it doesn’t seem directly related to her kittens, a vet check might be in order.
Should You Be Worried?
As with any behavioral concern, context is key. Consider these factors:
- Is the Behavior Consistent? If the mother cat occasionally calls out to her kittens but is otherwise acting normal, it’s likely just a routine check.
- Are the Kittens Responding? A healthy kitten will usually respond to the mother’s call, either by moving towards her or by vocalizing in return. If one or more kittens are not responding, it could be a sign that they are not well.
- Is Her Physical Health Compromised? Look for signs of physical discomfort in the queen. Discharge, refusal to eat, lethargy, or visible pain are all signs that a vet visit is necessary.
How to Support a Crying Mother Cat
- Provide a Safe Space: Ensure the mother cat and her kittens have a quiet, warm, and comfortable place away from household traffic and noise.
- Minimize Stress: Reduce sudden loud noises, unfamiliar people, or other pets from coming too close to the new family.
- Monitor Health: Keep an eye on the mother and kittens’ health. Ensure she has enough food and water and that the kittens are feeding regularly.
- Consult a Vet: If you’re ever in doubt, consult your vet. It’s always better to be safe and ensure the mother’s and her kittens’ well-being.
A mother cat calling out to her kittens is a common thread in the vast tapestry of feline behavior. While it’s usually a sign of her attentiveness and care, you should be observant as a responsible pet owner and provide the necessary support. A caring environment and regular vet checks will ensure a healthy upbringing for the newest furry members of your family.