Do Cats Eat Their Babies? Read on to find the best answer!
You must have come across the word – animal cannibalism. Many of us relate cannibalism to humans, but it is also true for animals. There are herbivores, carnivores, omnivores but also cannibalistic animals who eat their kinds.
Grass-eating herbivores like hippopotamus have also been caught feeding on the flesh of the other decaying hippopotamus. But do domestic animals like dogs and cats also practice cannibalism? Do cats eat their babies for real? Read this article till the end to find out.
Do Cats Eat Their Babies?
This might sound weird and surprising, but your neighboring furry friends like cats and dogs also practice cannibalism under certain conditions. It might seem gross and dangerous, but animals have developed it through evolution. We all have read the theory of evolution, which proposes that only the fittest can survive in nature.
Cannibalism is a strategy used by animals to survive in their kingdom. Mother cats are very loving and protective towards their newborn kittens. So what makes them practice such a painful act of eating their baby? Let’s dig the topic a little deeper for a better understanding.
Why Do Cats Eat Their Babies?
No animal under normal circumstances would eat their kind. But nature isn’t that simple. There are times when mother cats eat their babies for good reasons. Here are a few reasons –
#1 The Newborn Isn’t Healthy
In this world where millions of species compete for their food and survival, life would only worsen if an animal has a deformity or is unhealthy. Sooner or later, it would die of its suffering. Therefore, the mother cat eats its deformed and unhealthy baby. However, mother cats would not always eat the deformed one; they might also ignore or reject it.
#2 The Kitten Is Stillborn
If the babies are stillborn, the mother cat eats them to get nourished and recover the nutrients lost during pregnancy. This way, she uses the stillborn to get calcium and other nutrients.
#3 Out Of Mercy
Since nature works on the law of survival of the fittest, if a cat gives birth to many kittens and fails to nourish them all, she is out of mercy and eats for the sake of the healthy kittens, the weak ones. Not doing this would only devoid all the kittens from nourishment. Therefore, she has to make a sacrifice to save her healthiest kittens.
#4 If The Mother Is Being Threatened
If the mother cat is threatened and senses danger, she might eat her babies in fear of separation. It is disheartening to know that the animals have to face such situations where they have to practice extreme behavior. However, we must understand the fact that being an animal isn’t easy.
Cats, dogs, and other animals already have a tough life looking out for food, shelter, and avoiding predators. We humans must not add up to their suffering.
#5 If The Mother Cat Is Malnourished
Pregnancy can be very hard on the body. The mother might get deprived of necessary nutrients since animals aren’t like humans during pregnancy. Therefore, they easily get weak and malnourished. They might also fail to produce milk for the newborn. So the mother cat eats her weakest baby to provide proper care to others.
Stress can also make a cat eat her babies, but it is very rare. Under normal circumstances, the mother might ignore her babies for a couple of days, but soon she would come and begin to nurse them.
So it is pretty obvious that no mother would eat or kill her babies without reason. These practices might seem awful and heartless, but this doesn’t make cats or other animals bad mothers. They care for their babies; like humans, they cannot afford healthcare or proper meals every day. Therefore, they act according to the law of nature.
All the animals in the animal kingdom, from insects to fish and cats to humans, might practice cannibalism under certain conditions. However, some animals might practice it often while others might never. But the chances are never zero.
The female insect eats the male after insemination to get the required nutrients to carry a healthy pregnancy in some insect species. Your very lovable fluffy friends like cats and dogs are also cannibalistic but only when any of the mentioned above situations occur. This doesn’t make them bad or heartless.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Humans Cannibalistic?
Yes, but humans are more evolved than any other animals, and also, we can be cannibalistic, but we are non-adaptive to cannibalism. Eating our kind will cause diseases.
Do Dogs Eat Their Babies After Birth?
Yes, if the mother is malnourished, stressed or the baby is deformed, weak, or stillborn. But not all mothers do the same; some might just abandon their babies.
Is It Normal For Cats To Eat Their Dead Kittens?
Yes, it is entirely normal; this way, she sacrifices the dead kitten to provide better nourishment to the others.