Male cats aren’t the friendliest to newborn kittens, but no, they usually don’t eat kittens. Although, they may try to kill the kittens of a mama cat if they are not the father.
If you’ve seen any lion documentaries, you’ve probably heard how male lions devour their babies on occasion. Such a heinous act is not uncommon in the animal kingdom.
Is this something that exclusively happens with lions when it comes to felines, or do male cats also consume kittens?
It’s no secret that males aren’t as excellent parents as females in many domestic animal breeds. Pets aren’t recognized for having strong paternal instincts. Many male cats don’t even stay back after mating – they may not even recognize their kittens!
Killing or eating younglings, on the other hand, is the next degree of heinous action. Is there any truth to the rumors that cats make terrible parents? Is it true that male cats devour kittens, or is this simply a myth? Let us explore.
Will My Male Cat Kill My New Kitten?
Yes, there is a very high possibility that your male cat will attack your new kitten.
Things work differently for animals than they do for human beings. Especially in the feline world, male cats are often carrying a bad reputation for being harsh and murderous towards kittens. Sadly, it is true to a great extent.
Male cats have taken this primal behavior from their ancestors – they will kill the babies of the rival tomcats so that the rival genes do not go onto form the next generation. Instead, every tomcat wants his genes to be perpetuated.
It is also not uncommon to see a male cat try and attack a female cat while she tries to protect her litter. Male cats may even kill a new kitten introduced in the house if it doesn’t adapt to its scent.
However, it is also seen that domesticated male cats tend to be gentler towards a new litter of kittens. They may not exactly be friendly with the kittens, but they won’t attack the litter either.
Instead, they may resort to passive-aggressive ways of expressing anger, such as hissing, growling, or meowing aggressively towards them.
Although, in the wild, or even with newly rescued feral cats in shelters, the chances of a male cat killing a kitten are very high. This is mainly because of two reasons:
- The kitten doesn’t have a scent that the tomcat is familiar with, which means it is the baby of a “rival” of the said tomcat.
- Kittens make for easy prey. They are tiny, weak, and cannot protect themselves against a fully grown male cat who hasn’t been domesticated.
Can a Male Cat Be Around Kittens?
You should avoid letting a male cat come in contact with a litter of newborn kittens, as the male cat may try and injure, harm, or even kill the kittens!
In humans, when a newborn baby is first visited, we tend to get overwhelmed with love and affection for the infant baby. Everyone handles themselves cautiously around the baby to not cause any harm to it even accidentally.
Animals, however, have a whole different way of dealing with newborn babies of their species. In felines, particularly speaking, the mama cat gets fiercely protective of her litter of kittens to keep them safe from other cats, especially the male ones.
Male cats are territorial and dominant. When they mark any territory as theirs, they make sure that neither a rival tomcat nor its genes, will be allowed to stay in the territory. This means that even a litter of kittens of another tomcat is seen as a threat that has to be eliminated.
And even if the litter of kittens is of the same male cat, he will seldom be gentle with the kittens. Male cats tend to not bother too much about their kittens.
Most male cats don’t even stay back after mating. They are heavily driven by their hormones and lack the necessary parental instincts that are often seen in mama cats.
However, all hope is not lost – especially if you have a domesticated male cat as your pet.
While it is true that more often male cats tend to be murderously aggressive towards kittens, there are also instances where male cats have not only been affectionate towards kittens but also developed protective and parental instincts towards them.
What Are Some Things I Can Do So That My Male Cat Won’t Harm the New Kittens?
If you have a domesticated pet male cat at home, it is natural for you to start worrying about whether or not will it be safe to bring in a new kitten home. But rest assured that with indoor cats, it is easier to have the male cats adjust to the presence of kittens in the house.
Here are a few things you can do to ensure a smooth introduction of a new kitten in your home without stressing out your pet male cat:
1. Create a Separate Space For the Kittens
The first order of business when adopting a new cat is to give your kitty a secure haven. This area provides a sense of familiarity for your cat as well as a haven if the rest of the place becomes too much.
Choose a location that can be safely closed off from the rest of the house and your potentially curious feline-in-residence.
Include a litter box, food and water bowls, and enough accessories to keep your kitten entertained when you are not present. For ultimate comfort, you should also provide safe hiding and sleeping locations.
2. Introduce the Kittens to The Male Cat Slowly
Cats are extremely territorial. Your pet cat or cats are most likely convinced that they own your house. A new kitten might seem like a challenge to that ownership, which is why it’s critical to introduce them gradually.
Expect to keep the kitten isolated for at least a couple of days.
After a day or two, offer each of your cats an item with the fragrance of the other animal on it, such as a blanket, pillow, or cloth toy. Place this item in a location where your cat feels at ease. Avoid approaching any cat directly with a scented object, since this may appear to be a threat.
You may enable your cats to engage in restricted ways once they’ve gotten acclimated to each other’s odors. You could, for example, allow your cats to view each other through a baby gate or smell beneath the door of the other cat’s allotted area.
Allow your cat to meet the kittens only when they have learned to act properly in close proximity to one another.
3. For the First Few Days, Keep a Close Watch For Any Warning Signs
Change might be stressful for both of your kitties. Your incumbent cat may feel as if its space is being infringed upon, while your new kitten may struggle to adjust to a new home and a new sibling at the same time.
If either cat gets violent, re-introduce the cats by separating them. This strategy decreases the threat to your animals’ autonomy and safety.
Consult a veterinarian if one or both cats begin to exhibit severe indications of suffering. Inappropriate urine, excessive vocalization, and irregular grooming can all be signs of acute stress, which can be hazardous to your cat’s health.
4. Stay Patient Through the Introductions
Many cats can learn to coexist peacefully, but it is your responsibility to allow them time to adjust. You can expect the introduction procedure to take at least a week, but it might take considerably longer depending on the temperaments of your cats.
Before adopting a new kitten into your house, be sure you have the resources and time to handle the transition with love and attention. To ease the adjustment, you will also need to devote time to connect with both – the new kittens as well as your pet male cat.
5. Understand How to Respond to Your Male Cat’s Aggression
It is an undying fact that your male cat will show some aggression toward the new kittens that you introduce into the house. You need to understand that punishing your male cat won’t solve the problem, and may turn out to be very counterproductive.
Assertively, but with gentleness, you will need to correct your male cat every time it tries to bully the kitten or show any form of aggression towards it.
Should I Keep My Male Cat Away from the Kittens?
Cat behavior might be puzzling at times, and looking at their wild cousins can provide some insight into why cats have problems coexisting with their new-born.
To understand the reasoning of the male cats and their actions around a new pup, to narrow it down to why or should you keep make cats away from your kitten, let us understand the why the problem arises in the first place,
Wild cats are closely linked to domesticated house cats. Although there are considerable distinctions, these groupings share several qualities and instincts, such as how they interact with other cats.
Newborn kittens are frail animals, and their mothers ordinarily know precisely what to do to keep them safe and healthy. If human caregivers are available on the scene, they just need to be there to provide a hand if difficulties emerge.
Male cats aren’t always the best at raising kittens.
Although mom cats handle the most out of the labor in maintaining litters, father cats do spend time with their kittens on occasion, if they are there.
Tomcats not only engage in fun-loving play sessions with the young furballs, but they also assist in grooming them by licking them clean and healthy. These actions are highly rare, yet they are not unheard of.
Even though some father cats are perfectly harmless around their newborn kittens, it may be prudent to keep them away simply to be safe. To persuade the busy mother cats to focus on them, some tomcats have attacked and murdered their cubs, then gone back into estrus for mating reasons.
Tomcats also murder kittens with various dads from time to time as a manner of eradicating living proof of the competing fathers’ DNA. There is no need for the father cats — or any other male cats, for that matter — to be present because newborn kittens do not require paternal aid.
Male cats should be kept away from your cat and her kittens, if they have not been groomed and haven’t been taken care of how to dwell while the new pup is trying to make itself comfortable in a new environment.
Make space for her to feed and interact with her children. You might be able to handle the kittens with soothing words and modest incentives for her if she is hostile toward you. As the kittens grow older, their aggressive behavior will fade.
It’s critical to comprehend the fundamental essence of cats. Cats have a strong sense of belonging. For the time being, she and her kittens are residing in the same location.
Will Neutered Male Cats Hurt Kittens?
Male cats do not have the same maternal instincts as female cats. This means they will most likely treat kittens differently and maybe harsher than a female cat. Because they are affected by powerful hormones, if your male cat is not neutered, he is considerably more likely to be harsh with your kittens.
You might be wondering if a neutered male cat would harm kittens if you have one?
Yes, neutered male cats can hurt kittens. Neutering your cat takes away the chances that the attack will be sexually charged. But, there is still the possibility that your male cat will attack kittens for other reasons.
Let’s take a look at these reasons and ways to prevent attacks from happening.
1. Male Cats Could Harm Kittens for a Variety of Reasons
If your male cat is not neutered, the kittens you bring near them are likely to be harmed. These attacks are typically aimed at mounting or asserting dominance over kittens, although they may be rather severe.
Even if your male cat has been neutered, there are still various reasons why he can harm kittens, including:
2. Other Cats In the House Have Not Been Neutered or Spayed
If other cats in your home are not spayed or neutered, there may already be friction. Their hormones may be forcing them to act in a way that has harmed your male cat. Alternatively, if the new kittens in your home are not spayed or neutered, your male cat may attack them as well.
3. There’s a New Cat in the House!
Your male cat may attack a kitten just because it is a newcomer to their home. Cats are territorial and protective of their territory, thus they may feel forced to defend themselves. Alternatively, they may believe they must demonstrate dominance to establish themselves as the house’s alpha.
4. A Traumatic Experience
Unfortunately, cats, especially rescue cats, can go through traumatic events in their lives that change how they react to situations. If you’ve rescued a male cat and didn’t know anything about him before meeting him, you could be ignorant of issues that are causing him to lash out.
5. A Brand-New Stressor
Cats are extremely empathic creatures, so if anything is giving you worry, they will notice and feel it as well. Cats in your home may be getting along OK, but if they are exposed to a new cause of stress, they may begin to fight.
If you try to bring a new kitten into the house while going through a stressful period at work, your cats may not get along. Your existing cats and the new kitten will sense your anxiety, making it more difficult for them to get along.
Why Do Male Cats Eat Kittens?
While neutered cats lack the same impulses as intact males, mishaps still occur on occasion. These cats will not murder kittens to guarantee that they are the only male source of genetic material, but there are other reasons.
Their hunting instinct is the most frequent. If the male cat isn’t used to seeing kittens, he can mistake them for prey. Kittens resemble the little rodents that cats like catching and killing.
In addition, much like adult cats, unpleasant adult cats will attack kittens they don’t know. The only exception is if your cat has just been neutered.
Male hormones take several weeks, if not months, to settle down. Otherwise, he could still act on his irrational inclinations to murder any kittens that aren’t his.
Even if they aren’t the dads, most domestic male cats will co-parent. Despite popular belief, cats are known to be gregarious animals. This, however, is greatly dependent on the cat’s attitude and behavior. Regardless of the circumstance, a violent cat can harm kittens.
How Often Do Male Cats Kill Kittens?
Male kittens are frequently killed by stray, unneutered male cats. The majority of the time, their objective is to get a female cat to go into heat. When they do this, they frequently assault and kill kittens that aren’t their own.
The female then goes into heat, and they can have their offspring. They only murder their kittens on rare occasions. With their kittens, they form ties and paternal impulses, and they would usually defend them rather than harm them.
Neutered male cats are extremely unlikely to murder kittens. If they do, it’s typically due to a fluke accident or excessive roughhousing. They don’t have the same tendencies as unneutered cats to murder kittens to get a female to mate. They are generally unaffected by kittens if they do not have this incentive.
If the male cat is neutered or the baby’s father, it is fine to allow him near the kittens. A male cat that hasn’t been neutered is too unpredictable and might attack kittens, so it’s better to keep them away.
A neutered male cat will not have the desire to harm the kittens and will give them little attention. A cat that has given birth to kittens will acquire paternal sentiments for them and wish to protect them.
When to Introduce Father Cat to Kittens?
When the kittens are newborns, it’s critical to keep the male away from them. If your tomcat appears to have fatherly tendencies, you can gradually introduce him to the pups after they’re a little older, at least six to eight weeks.
There are a few different methods to introduce a male cat to his offspring.
A. Introduction to Scent
Your tomcat shouldn’t be isolated from the rest of the world throughout its growing stage. You should keep the kittens’ smell on him at all times, as this will assist to reduce any possible hostility during the physical introduction.
To transmit the litter’s fragrance to other toys and blankets, place them in the litter’s den. After that, you may put these items where your tomcat likes to sleep and spend his time. You can bring his food and drink closer to the kittens’ chamber so he learns to link the mews and cries with something good.
B. Introduction under supervision
This, like any cat introduction, should be done gradually, and you should be prepared to remove the tomcat from the room at the first sign of violence, even if it is directed toward the father.
Because of their tiny stature and incapacity to flee a quick attack, kittens are susceptible to older male cats. Keep the initial meeting brief and see how the adult male cat behaves when presented with the kitten.
You may prolong their relationship with time and favorable responses from both the tomcat and the mother, but never leave them alone. Male cats are typically regarded as safe from kittens after they are capable of living on their own.
You can utilize a physical barrier, such as a baby gate if you’re not sure how well you can manage your male cat when he sees his progeny. Alternatively, you may keep them in a box and introduce them around feeding time to establish a pleasant bond.
At What Age are Kittens Safe From Male Cats?
It’s crucial to keep in mind that each cat is different. It is safe to keep your kitten in your house until it reaches a weight of at least 2 pounds, which normally occurs about 8 to 12 weeks of age.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do father cats protect their kittens?
Within their own colonies, dominant males have also been seen caring for kittens. They may share their food and groom young cats and have even been observed breaking up fights amongst kittens by gently separating them with one paw when a battle becomes too intense.
Do kittens imprint on their dad?
Kittens identify their moms when they are born. They imprint on their moms soon after birth and identify them mostly by smell. Imprinting protects the kittens. Kittens, on the other hand, do not know their dads since they do not feed or defend their young.
After the integration is complete, you may encounter certain issues. Although the cats are allowed to explore the house together, you may hear them fighting late at night or see them urinating in areas other than the litter box. Separation is the simplest method to achieve harmony.
Place the food bowls on opposite sides of the room, gradually bringing them closer together as time goes on. Separate litter boxes should also be used to reduce territorial urination. Finally, provide cats their own private locations where they may relax and unwind. This provides them with a sense of belonging.
Male cats may not win the title for best father, but that doesn’t mean they’re always bad fathers. Different situations create different father figures, and some tomcats have adopted the role of carers or foster parents for kittens in their own homes or in animal shelters.
Cats aren’t humans, after all, and they have their own ways of coping with their families. So all we can do now is make that process as risk-free as possible for all parties involved!
Is your tomcat a good parent, and does he identify his own kittens?