Deciphering a cat’s behavior is not a piece of cake. As no two kitties are the same, you can never know for sure what your feline is thinking. If your female cat is pregnant, you might be finding a comfortable and secure place for her to have kittens.
However, your feline might have some different ideas. Cats have both hunting and survival instincts. Before giving birth to kittens, a cat finds its own safe spot, often out of reach. These felines are quite intelligent. They also establish a backup place, just in case the original spot has been compromised.
In some cases, cats also like to hide their kittens outside. In this article, you will learn why cats hide their kittens outside and how to find them.
Does Mother Cat Hide Her Kittens from Humans?
If a mother cat hides her babies, you don’t have to feel bad. Cats do this because they believe it is in the best interest of their kittens. They hide their offspring to protect them. If a female cat is not secure in a place, it will surely find a safer ground for her kittens.
Cats prefer a comfortable, secure, and quiet place – especially if they have given birth to new kittens. It’s worth taking into note that your feline cannot move, hear or see for a few weeks after giving birth to kittens. So, to protect herself and the kittens, she will try to find a hiding spot.
Why Do Cats Hide Their Kittens Outside?
Most of us think cats are aloof. However, this couldn’t be any far from the truth. In reality, cats are quite intelligent. They have survival instincts that help them adopt protective behaviors. Plus, there are numerous factors that can alter a cat’s behavior, including surroundings, babies, age, and more.
So, if your cat is hiding her kittens outside, there are several reasons that can cause this decision, including:
We all know cats love their privacy. It seems like your little furball has some dark secrets that he/she wants to protect. If your feline is too secretive, she will find a secure spot for her newborn kittens. As there is a lot of movement inside a house, your cat will prefer an outdoor spot that does not have many visitors.
Furthermore, if the current location is too bright or too noisy, she will try to find a more secluded spot that won’t disturb her or her kittens. Most of the time, a domestic cat will hide her kittens in a kitchen cabinet, behind a sofa, under a dresser drawer, a bed or a closet.
Stray cats and feral cats hide their offspring to protect them from predators. Just like puppies, newborn cats are usually deaf and blind. So, it’s their mother’s duty to protect them from uncertainties, including intruders and hunters.
Dogs, eagles, hawks, and even coyotes are a danger to young kitties. Therefore, cats require a safe, comfortable, and secluded spot to protect their babies.
Compared to dogs, cats feature more deeply entrenched instinctive behaviors. Even the domestic and friendliest cats tend to be secretive. If your little furball is also secretive, it will:
- Be fiercely territorial
- Bury or hide food
- Prefer cozy, small spaces
These behaviors in cats are not that rare. So, it’s a possibility that your cat is hiding her kittens outside because of its natural instincts.
Where Do Cats Hide Their Kittens?
Now, the real question is, where do cats hide their kittens outside? Domestic cats are more socialized. They won’t usually hide their offspring outside because they are more comfortable inside. The feral cats and the stray ones might prefer the outdoors as a hiding spot.
Before going any further, you should know the difference between a feral and a stray cat. Stray cats are the ones that have a family. They know how to be socialized and are mostly lost/missing felines. On the other hand, the feral ones were never adopted by humans.
Feral cats are not socialized, and they feel more threatened by humans. They are more wild and insecure than the stray ones.
Where do stray cats hide their kittens outside? As mentioned earlier, stray cats feel more comfortable around humans. So, they won’t hide their kittens far away. Just look at high places or in the sheds, bushes, or under the decks. Anything that is dry and comfortable can be a hiding spot for a stray cat.
Where do feral cats hide their kittens outside? Now, finding the kittens of a feral cat is not an easy task. Feral cats were never socialized, but they have extraordinary survival instincts. They will try to find spaces that are pretty impossible to find.
A feral cat won’t leave her kittens until they get at least five weeks old. In this period, a female cat will hide kittens in abandoned buildings, under homes, under porches and in barns.
When Will a Mother Cat Bring Her Kittens Out?
No two mother cats are the same. A feline will hide her kittens as long as she thinks it is necessary. As newborn kittens are usually blind, deaf, and vulnerable, the mother cat will protect them for at least 5 weeks. However, that does not mean the kittens don’t need their mother anymore.
Most people think that they can separate a feline from her kittens as early as eight weeks. However, that is not true. If you separate kittens from their mother earlier, it can increase the risk of health, social, and development issues. It would be best not to separate a kitten from its mother until they are 14 weeks old.
How to Tell If a Cat Lost Her Kittens?
Cats are not famous because of their memory. Even though the short-term memory of a cat is better than most animals, they can still lose their kittens. So, how can you determine whether your cat has hidden her kittens or she has lost them?
If your cat has lost her kittens, it will start to mourn. There are several signs that indicate your cat is mourning, such as:
- She will hide under the bed
- She will sleep more than usual
- She will lose her appetite
- She will become listless and depressed
Cats Abandoning Their Kittens – Reasons
If your cat is not showing signs of mourning, it is a possibility that she has abandoned her kittens. Cats abandoning her kittens is not that rare. It might be a sad reality, but cats sometimes reject their own kittens. numerous reasons can lead to this decision, such as:
If you have found a kitten alone, you should not immediately imagine that it has been rejected. There is a possibility that its mother is hunting and finding something to eat. Female cats do have to find food to survive. So, if the kitten is meowing or its nest is tidy, it is possible that its mother is around finding something to eat.
Furthermore, most female cats choose multiple hiding spots to reduce the risk of a predator killing the whole brood. If it is the case, the mother cat will abandon one kitten to check on the other one. In any case, the cat will be back in no time.
A female cat can give birth to up to 12 kittens at a time. So, if the litter size is too big, the mother cat might reject some kittens. This is because newborn kittens require milk to survive. If the mother cat cannot produce enough milk, it will abandon some kittens to save milk for the rest.
Usually, most cat owners have observed this behavior within the first twenty-four hours of giving birth.
Cats usually reach their sexual maturity from around four months of age. However, if your cat gets pregnant that early, she might not have what it takes to be a mother. Young cats who haven’t developed maternal skills might act disinterested or confused.
While some cats spend time with their kittens and learn these skills, others might not get them. So, a disinterested young cat who was also traumatized while giving birth to kittens might reject her own babies and run away.
Cats can get traumatized during labor due to several reasons, including physical difficulty or risky places.
Not a Motherly Cat
No two cat breeds are the same. While one breed features a certain characteristic, the other one might not have it. For instance, while some cats have a thick and shiny coat, others are completely hairless. The same goes for personality.
Different cats have different behavioral instincts and personalities. While some mother felines are more nurturing, others are not that caring. Even though this scenario is quite rare, some cats do abandon their kittens because they are just not that motherly.
As discussed earlier, feral cats are not that socialized. They don’t know anything about antibiotics or veterinarians. So, if a kitten is ill or sick, the mother believes that they are going to die no matter what.
If that’s the case, the mother cat will abandon the sick kittens to save energy and milk for the rest, who are stronger and can survive. It’s also a possibility that the female cat cannot bear the thought of her kitten dying. So, she leaves the sick kitten in desperation.
Where to Find Stray Kittens Near Me?
If your cat has lost its kitten, you should know where to find them. Otherwise, it can lead to several problems. For instance, the kitten might die because of starvation and illness. Furthermore, the mother cat can also get depressed and severely ill due to the separation.
Unfortunately, felines are quite good at hiding their kittens. So, you have to rely on the mother and follow the following strategies:
Keep a Track
First of all, observe the behavior of your cat. If you think your feline is too young, keep a sharp eye on her. As there is a chance that a young mother will abandon her kittens, you should keep track of her behavior.
Plus, if a mother cat does not trust you, she will keep her kitten away from you. Additionally, she will never take you to her babies. So, instead of kittens, you will need to look for the mother cat. Find the hiding spots of your cat and look for the kittens in the most peaceful and secluded place.
Follow Her Secretly
A cat abandoning her kittens due to selfish reasons is not that rare. Most mothers leave their kittens in desperation, whether due to illness or lack of milk. So, if that’s the case, simply follow your cat. If your cat does not trust you and hides her kittens from you, you will need to gain her trust.
For this purpose, show her that you care for her and her kittens. Cats usually follow their stomach. So, you can give her treats and snacks to gain their trust. With this approach, your feline will hopefully take you to her kittens.
If your cat is moving just one kitten to another location, it’s possible that that certain kitten is ill and suffering from a disease. Cats can detect numerous diseases, including cancer. Their sense of smell is quite extraordinary. They can detect the foul smell of dead cells decomposing.
Remember that in the animal kingdom, only the strong one survives. So, your cat might kill her sick kitten to save others. In that case, just take that kitten to a vet and ask for his/her professional assistance.
We hope you have understood where cats hide their kittens outside. If a cat does not feel comfortable and secure indoors, she will hide her kitten outdoors. The common outdoor hiding spots of a cat include under the decks, in the sheds, in the bushes, on the roof, and so on.
As a cat’s short-term memory is not that impressive, you should keep track of her movement to protect the newborn kittens!