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Mother Cat Sitting On Kittens

Although a kitten’s body hasn’t fully matured at such a young age, we must constantly remember to handle kittens carefully and softly. All the kittens are adorable when born, yet it can be unsettling to observe a mother cat lying on top of a kitten, lays in litter box, and all her kittens appear to be squashed beneath her.

For new cat owners, the sight of a new mother cat doing this to her own kittens in the birthing box may cause alarm. It appears mother cats do this for three reasons. They might not have dealt with kittens before, be genuinely trying to protect them, or there isn’t sufficient space for the mommy cat and her kittens inside the birthing box or nursing area.

In our guide, you can learn more about a cat with her kittens and in-depth details of why she does this. By the end, you’ll know more about how to stop a cat from eating her kittens, or at least laying on them where it looks like she’s trying to smother her newborn kitties. (Read Do Pet Birds Poop Everywhere)

Mother Cat and Kittens

Why Do Mommy Cats Lay on Their Kittens?

The sight of a mother cat lying atop her kittens is relatively commonplace. Owners may find it extremely unsettling to witness this because there is always a chance that the kittens could suffocate. Us humans may find it rather strange for a mother to do. After all, she ought to be defending them.

The main reasons a cat can be seen laying lay on their kittens is:

  • They lack experience with their first litter.
  • They do it to protect their children.
  • There is a lack of space

Here’s more detail on why mother cats can be seen laying on their kittens.

Inexperienced First-Time Mothers

Being a mother for the first time can be pretty overwhelming for any female, human or animal. During this time, many things happen, and daily life must be adjusted significantly to make room for the family’s newest members. To put it mildly, becoming a mother is a life-changing experience.

Momma cats going through their first pregnancy may find life rather difficult and burdensome. Over the years, they have just had to care for themselves, but now they are fully in charge of an entire litter. Cats can give birth to as many as 12 kittens at once! A mother cat must deal with extra stress when the litter is larger. Even a mother’s intuition cannot adequately foresee every situation.

In general, cats can be wonderful mothers. However, a cat giving birth for the first time has little experience and is frequently anxious. It’s typical to see the momma cat laying on her kittens in situations like these.

Unfortunately, she lacks the maturity to recognize the potential consequences of her actions, which could be disastrous. Most house cats haven’t ever had experience with other kittens, so they can easily underestimate their own fragility.

At such a young age, kittens have delicate physical structures and bones. A cat can be hurt easily, and if they are not properly cared for, there is good care that it will suffer from shattered bones. First-time mothers frequently have issues because they lack the understanding that an experienced cat mother would have.

A typical cat mom can weigh between 10 and 12 lbs. In contrast, a newborn kitten only weighs about 4 oz. By comparing the weight differences; you can see how risky it can be for an inexperienced mother cat to be laying on her kittens. (Read Can Dogs Eat Egg Rolls)


With newborn kittens, the temperature is a vital consideration. To develop, they require a warm environment that is not very warm because they cannot regulate their body temperature in the same way as adult cats.

The cat may move to keep her kittens warm if the temperature drops below 85 degrees because this can be dangerous. However, a warm, quiet environment might be just as hazardous for the kittens, causing dehydration and fading.

The area where your cat has decided to try and maintain a temperature balance as her kittens grow. If the box environment is getting too warm, the mama cat may spend some time away from her young to allow the temperature to drop, or if it is just a bit too cold, she may sit or sleep on the kids to warm them again.

Mother cat laying on her kittens


Protection is a significant factor in why you could see the mother cat laying on her kittens. Cats can be fiercely loyal to their own. The mother cat will lie on her kitty clan to protect them from danger, or the surroundings stress her. This offers her kitty infants the highest level of protection, and any threats must pass through her first.

Even if there isn’t an obvious threat, such as nearby dogs or other threatening animals, etc., you can still see your pet cat sit on her young.

This can help her worrying about her surroundings rather than a visible threat. Momma cat will become aggressive and overprotective if she is unhappy with the surroundings where her babies are. So that they won’t experience any trouble, she will lay on her kittens to hide them from the site of the room.

Your momma cat will continue laying on her kittens as protection from the rest of your other pets.

Lack of Space

Your mother cat will frequently have to lie on her kittens if there is not enough room in the birthing area. Mom hasn’t chosen in this regard; instead, as her loving owner, you should resolve the issue.

The birthing box must be warm and appealing, but you must also ensure that it is large enough to hold the entire litter and give them more space to roam comfortably.

How to Stop Cats Laying on Their Kittens

You might think about a few options to try and prevent your mother cat from laying on her kittens. Unless you take the momma cat away from her kittens, which is not recommended, it can be tough to stop the behavior entirely. (Read Can Guinea Pigs Have Watermelon Rind)

Check Your Nursing Environment

Protection is one of the main motives for cats to lay on their young, as they are uncomfortable or unsettled in their present environment. There are occasions when their nursing quarters don’t have enough space to accommodate the entire family, and they can’t hide away without sitting on each other.

Ensure that the mother cat and the babies have enough room to wander around without giving them too much space, which could make them feel lost and vulnerable. Make sure the nursing location is clutter-free, has a comfortable spot, and is situated in a peaceful part of the house where the mom and the baby can relax and not feel threatened.

Monitor Activity

Regularly keeping a close eye on what your cat and her kittens are doing can assist in avoiding catastrophic accidents. Naturally, this is not a certain time to prevent your cat from laying on her kittens, and you cannot always keep an eye on their behavior.

However, keeping a careful eye on what is happening is helpful. If you witness the kittens being crushed, you can stop it from happening before any significant harm done.

Offer Safe Bedding

Nursing requires safe bedding. A warm blanket might be dangerous, especially if your momma cat lays on her kittens. It can be easy for kittens to be lay on and suffocate under the blanket.

A soft pillow or cushion that doesn’t wrinkle is an excellent approach to controlling bedding. If your cat has taken up space under your bed, attach a lightweight cover or blanket with bed pegs on the corners so your kittens can enjoy home comforts without the risk of bed sheets smothering them.

Use a Surrogate

Using a surrogate momma is a last choice and should be considered carefully. If you think your cat is a major threat to her kittens or has hurt kittens from other litters, she should stop nursing.

The only way to keep kittens safe and healthy is to remove the litter and place them with a surrogate cat mom. Never take kittens from their mother without a surrogate to nurse them. Speaking to a vet concerning such matters is wise before doing so.

Can A Cat Suffocate A Newborn Kitten By Sitting On Them?

A newborn kitten’s death might be because your cat was sitting or sleeping on them. This can happen more in the first few weeks when the babies lack the strength to escape. The mother cat can be anxious early after her kitten’s birth, which might result in an accident.

However, you might also encounter a scenario in which you mistakenly believe the mother killed the kitten by sitting on it while, in reality, the kitten passed away naturally. Statistics show that only 25% of kittens in the wild reach their first birthday; therefore, a kitten dying is not uncommon.

Remember, a dead kitten can have passed naturally, rather than the moma cat sitting on them.

Mother Cat hugging her Kittens

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do cats lay on kittens?

She might select a more compact space. As a cat and its young are vulnerable, this behavior might be instinctive. An unsafe space is too exposed. Since she does not have a smaller space, she conceals kittens as best she can.

Why does a cat keep leaving her newborn kittens?

Your mom cat craves “me time,” like many new mums. She leaves her babies for a few minutes to visit the bunker for feeding or drinking.

Can mom cats squish their kittens?

If they weren’t already anxious, cats would become considerably more so after giving birth. They have kittens to take care of, and sometimes there isn’t enough milk to feed them all at once. Unfortunately, cats’ anxiety can cause them to suffocate or kill their kittens. (Read Can Bearded Dragons Eat Green Bell Peppers)

Final Thoughts

So, if you find your cat lying on her kittens, it is likely to be a lack of space in her environment and being a first-time mother. Besides this, it can be used as protection against Potential predators.

Mother Cat Sitting On Kittens