Do Momma Cats Hide Their Kittens From Humans?

Protective momma cats will keep their kittens in the safest spot they can find.
i John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images

If Kitty is pregnant, you may be thinking about a comfortable place for her to have her babies -- but she may have something different in mind. Cats often have their own ideas about safety and will find their own birthing spots, often out of sight and hard to reach.

We're So Excited to See Our New Kittens.

It's hard to find anyone that doesn't like a kitten. After all, they're cute, playful and very cuddly. They're almost irresistible. This is precisely why many momma cats will make sure to keep them out of humans' grasp. It's not personal, but as a mother, Kitty's primary job is to keep her babies safe. If you made a spot for her to have her kittens, don't be offended if she passes on it -- she's doing what she believes is in the best interest of her offspring.

She Hid the Kittens -- Did I Do Something Wrong?

If Kitty moved her kittens, don't take it personally. If she has any inkling that they'll be in danger, she'll move them to safer ground. If the place she gave birth is too busy -- if it's too bright, loud or has too many people -- she is more likely to move the kittens. Cats prefer a quiet, secure place, particularly in the first few weeks. Remember, the kittens can't see, hear or move around very well their first week or two of life. During the first three weeks of their lives, Kitty is busy tending to their needs: nursing and grooming them and watching over them as they learn to sense their surroundings. It's best to respect her motherly instinct at this time.

How Can I Help?

If you want to help, you can make sure she has easy access to fresh food and water and is in a warm spot. Check daily to make sure everyone is healthy. Keep other people (especially other animals, children and strangers) away from her hideaway so she doesn't feel like she needs to move her brood again. Otherwise, leave her to her natural mothering skills.

When Can I Hold the Kittens?

Experts seem to agree that it's best to wait about three weeks before handling kittens. It's important to socialize the kittens so they are comfortable around people. However, if you try this too soon, Kitty may decide you've interfered and move them again. If you have small children, don't allow them in with Kitty and her babies unless you're present. Kittens aren't really steady on their feet until they are around 6 weeks old.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

the nest