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Why Do Cats Move Their Kittens? 5 Reasons for This Behavior

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove


Feral cat carrying kitten in her mouth

Is your feline friend the proud new mother of a litter of cute and cuddly kittens? Congrats! It can be an exciting and fulfilling experience to have new fur babies in your home. However, it might be a bit daunting as well.

Is the new mama carrying her bundle of babies from room to room? You might be wondering why she’s decided to relocate.

Here are five reasons why your cat is moving her kittens.

The 5 Reasons Cats Move Their Kittens

1. Do Not Disturb

In the thralls of all your excitement over the new kittens, you might be lavishing your pet with too much unwanted attention. While you may want to gently pet the kittens’ precious little faces and fawn over them, their mom wants you to do the complete opposite. If she feels like her litter is in danger of being disturbed, your cat will move her kids to a quieter location. While it’s perfectly okay to still pay your pets a visit, be sure to also give them their space.

tabby kitten sleeping
Image Credit: DarkmoonArt_de, Pixabay

2. They’ve Outgrown the Nest

Another reason why your cat decided to change location was simply because her kittens have grown too big for their former space. If the kittens were in a cozy little basket, their mom will move them to a larger area for better accommodations. Wild feline mothers will move their youngsters to their favorite hunting grounds to teach them how to hunt. So, your cat may be trying to do this by moving her kittens closer to her food bowl.

3. She’s Still in Labor

After your cat has given birth to three kittens but she’s still howling, she may still be in labor. Did you know that kitties have three stages of labor? Your pet may be moving around to get comfortable or to find a nest for her new family. This stage may last for up to 24 hours and your cat may cry more because, as any mother will tell you, giving birth really, really hurts.

a street cat breastfeeding her newborn kittens
Image Credit: hemro, Shutterstock

4. Too Much Stimulation

Newborn kittens can spend up to the first 2 weeks of their lives blind and deaf. Once they start to see and hear, their senses can be assaulted with too much stimulation. Your kitty may move her litter to keep them comfortable. To keep things quiet, give the new babies a room of their own far away from noisy TVs, stereos, and other animals.

5. Too Much Dirt

Cats are creatures of cleanliness. If your pet thinks the area where her kittens are is too soiled, she’ll move them.

mother cat protecting her kitten
Image Credit: chddima, Pixabay


I Can’t Find the Kittens

Occasionally, a mama cat might lose a kitten during a move. This is her version of “baby brain.” Lack of sleep, a constant feeding schedule, and a huge litter will make any lady a bit scatterbrained.

Your pet would become distressed if she misplaced her kitten. Help reunite the family right away. The longer the lost kitten is alone, the more danger it will be in.

Stop the Move

Here are some tips to try to stop your cat from moving her kittens:
  • Keep the litter in a safe, quiet space
  • Avoid handling the kittens
  • Keep food and water dishes close by
  • Ensure the bed or basket is large enough to accommodate the growing babies
  • Keep the space clean

Final Thoughts

Like any new mother, your cat only wants the best for her babies. Keep the kittens in a warm, clean, safe, and quiet environment. Keep a vigilant eye on both the tots and the mother to ensure everyone is healthy. And be sure to enjoy your growing family!

See Also: Will a Mother Cat Abandon Her Kittens If Touched by Humans? Facts & FAQ

Featured Image Credit: Biamillah Jaya, Shutterstock

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