If you’ve recently welcomed a litter of kittens into your home, or you are about to, you may be wondering when to change the bedding after a cat gives birth.
You’ve probably heard of instances of mother cats rejecting their kittens soon after birth, and that’s a possibility if you remove the bedding too soon!
In this article, we will go over when it is the right time to change the bedding, and I will also give you some tips on how to do it safely and effectively.
Change The Bedding After 24-48 Hours
After a day or two, it’s time to change the bedding, as it is unhygienic for the kittens and mother to use it for longer than that.
It is important to be aware that the mother cat will most likely be very protective of her newborn kittens. Therefore, she will view anyone who comes near the litter as a potential threat.
How Do I Change The Bedding Without Disturbing The Mother Cat And Her Kittens?
You’re probably wondering how you can avoid a potentially aggressive mother cat in your quest to change the bedding?
What I recommend is changing the bedding when the mother cat is not around. It’s completely normal for mother cats to sometimes get up to stretch their legs, go to the litter box, or visit her food and water bowls.
You can even try to distract the mother cat and get her to come into another room, thereby leaving the kittens and the bedding “unattended”.
When you catch a moment when the mother cat is not near the kittens and their bedding, simply replace the old bedding with a new, clean set.
You should have no problems doing so.
Don’t Do It Too Soon
After your cat is done giving birth, the bedding will likely be stained and wet with fluids from the birth, and possibly bits of placenta. It might make sense for you to provide the mother and her litter with a new, clean bedding (such as a towel).
However, this is not something you should do immediately after a cat has given birth. I strongly suggest that you leave the mother and her kittens undisturbed for the first day or two after birth.
Do not change the bedding for 24-48 hours after the cat has had her kittens!
Giving the mother space in the beginning will help her form an emotional attachment to her new litter. If you do decide to interfere, it can sometimes cause the mother to become confused, possibly even leading her to forget about her kittens or even reject them.
The First Few Days Are Crucial For Bonding
When a mother cat gives birth to her litter, she begins to form very strong bonds with her kittens. This connection is developed in a variety of ways, but the most important is through scent.
All cats have an incredibly strong sense of smell, and mother cats use it to identify and recognize their newly born kittens!
Right after birth, a mother cat will begin to lick her kittens and rub her face against them to help them recognize her unique scent. This is a way of the mother marking her kittens, ensuring that they will always be able to find her.
She will also sniff and lick her kittens in order to clean them and get rid of any foreign scents.
This is why it’s recommended not to touch the kittens during their first few days, as you can transfer your scent to them, which the mother cat might classify as foreign, and then decide to reject the kitten.
What Does This Have To Do With Changing The Bedding?
Changing the bedding in the area where a mother cat has given birth can have a significant impact on her relationship with her kittens. As I’ve mentioned, scent is a very important part of how cats recognize and bond with their young.
If the bedding is changed too soon after the kittens are born, it can remove the kittens’ scent from the area, making it harder for the mother cat to bond with her kittens.
This can have a very negative impact on the relationship between the mother and her kittens.
What Could Happen If You Remove The Bedding Too Soon?
If the bedding is removed too soon after the kittens are born, it can have serious negative consequences for the litter.
The mother may become confused and disoriented due to her kitten’s scent suddenly disappearing, which is something that shouldn’t happen.
In her confusion, the mother cat might decide to move her kittens to a new spot. This can be very stressful for the mother and her kittens, as it can disrupt the bonding process and make it more difficult for them to recognize each other. This can lead to the mother not being as attentive or nurturing to her kittens.
Therefore, considering removing the bedding too soon can also remove the kittens’ scent from the area, making it harder for the mother to bond with her kittens and recognize them, it is not something that should be done as soon as the cat gives birth.
For these reasons, it is important to wait at least 24 hours after the kittens are born before changing the bedding in the area. This will give the mother time to fully bond with her kittens and ensure that her scent remains in the area.
Importance Of Mother Cat Bonding With Her Kittens
Why is it so important for these mother-kitten bonds to form?
Well, a strong bond between the mother and her litter helps to ensure that the mother cat cares for her kittens properly. That means that the mother cat will ensure that the kittens are properly fed, cleaned, and nurtured!
Without this bond, the kittens may not develop properly and may be more prone to health problems. For this reason, it’s not recommended to separate kittens from their mother, even if a kind person wants to adopt them…
Even though kittens can survive with human care, it’s still best for them to stay with their mothers during their first weeks of life.
That’s why it’s crucial to not remove the bedding during the first two days after birth – this is the time when these strong mother-kitten bonds form!
To conclude this article, let’s go over the most vital information once more.
It is important to wait at least 24 hours after a mother cat has given birth before changing the bedding in the area where the mother cat and her kittens are.
This will give the mother time to form an emotional bond with her kittens. The bedding itself contains the kitten’s scent, which helps the mother cat to recognize her kittens and nurture them properly.
If you remove the bedding too soon, it’s possible you’ll also remove the kittens’ scent from the area, making it harder for the mother to bond with her newly born kittens!
So please, wait a day or two before changing the bedding, and everything will be perfectly fine!
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