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Discussion Starter #1
I rescued a mom and 6 babies from the local shelter. The mom is a bit peculiar. She does something I have never seen a mom do before and hope someone can give me some insight into her behavior. She tries to cover her kittens with the newspaper that is in the bottom of the cage where they are kept. She is a covering cat in that she tries to cover her plate after she eats. Anyone have any answers. She's making me crazy and I'm afraid she's going to hurt the kittens. It's like she doesn't like the way they smell, so she's trying to cover them to cover the smell. She nurses them and seems to be caring for them so I don't know what's going on with her trying to cover them. When she does that, they squeal and it makes me nervous that she will hurt them.
 

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I'm just guessing here but if she has had a bad time in the shelter or wherever she was resuced from, could it be she is hiding things to keep them safe to make sure no-one "steals" her food or her babies. It is just a thought
 

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What missie said could be right. Animals in the wild as it were would rather kill thier babies themselves and even eat them, than let a predetor get to them. A new home is very stressful for her anyway, never mind have a litter of kittens too. My best advice to for the moment try to leave her alone as much as posible, dont get the kittens out from under the paper so long as she looks to be caring for them. Only really disturb her to feed/water and maybe check and see how she goes then.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
It's the smell

The more I look at her, it appears she just likes to dig and she's really sensitive to different smells. If it's a new smell, she tries to cover it. I think she smells something on the kittens that they are picking up from the newspaper. I have other cats and they walk on the paper before it gets to the cage. Maybe it's them she's trying to cover. Also, this morning after she used her litter box I changed it immediately. When I put it back in she wanted to dig all the litter out. It was fresh. So you see what I mean, I think it's the smell thing and has nothing to do with her babies in particular. Poor thing has a sensitive nose. I can relate. HA! Thanks for all your comments and ideas.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Figured it out

I just figured out why mama is trying to cover her babies. Instead of her cleaning them when they mess on themselves, she just tries to cover them and their mess up. What a terrible mom she is!! I suspected she was inexperienced by the way she is so eager to leave them and have me pet her instead. She nurses them, but I think that's where her instincts stop. Just my luck!! ha! Well, at least I know now what the reason for all that covering is. Now I just clean the papers the kittens are lying on and she stops the scratching and trying to cover them.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
She's so funny

That mama cat is so funny and such a flake. I swear, if I didn't put her in the kennel with her babies she'd run off and leave them. She must be young to be so goofy. Today she was trying to cover them when I wasn't watching and when I did notice them, she almost had them upside down under the basket they stay in. She's not getting any "great mommie" awards. That's OK, because this is her last litter. She'll be spayed as soon as those babies are weaned!! She's a sweet little thing. I hope I'll be successful at finding homes for her and the babies.
 

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I don't know if this will bring any more light on the subject, but newspaper print is carbon, and can be used to remove odors from plastic containers. It is also sterile. (if not touched previously) Perhaps little mother is covering the babies to hide the odor from predators.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Figured it out

Mama is definitely not a good housekeeper. Her covering is because she doesn't clean the babies as well as she should. When they mess themselves, instead of cleaning them, she covers them. I've caught on and now I make sure they are clean all the time, changing their bedding all day long if necessary. That makes her happy and then she nurses them. She's a covering cat, covering her food when she finishes eating and covering anything she doesn't like the smell of. She is a trip!! She's starting to act like a mama cat, guarding her babies and paying closer attention to who is by them. At first I think she was just too stressed to mind them too much, worrying about her own safety. Poor thing gave birth to the babies while she was in the shelter, in a cage that was 20 feet from the dog runs. How stressful that must have been for her.
 

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Lotocats, did you try to have her keep her babies in an old towel? I am familiar with first-time moms. Some of them do not make good mothers, but on the other hand, I have seen some first-time moms take very good care of their little ones. It has much to do with the personality of the cat. The ones who are first-time queens and are independant in nature, not naturally affectionate are most likely not to make a good mother.
 

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I used a bath towel over newspapers also, changing it as necessary. Please try that. It will absorb the mess. You can always disinfect it, or choose an old one and alternate washing the two towels and then use them for rags. Usually you need towels for the cat carrier to make the cat more comfortable, so it's not a waste.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
switched

Hi: I did switch to a towel in a shallow, but comfy basket. This is working well. I change the towel once and day and that keeps mom happy. I guess it's difficult for her to keep 6 babies spotless. ****, I couldn't do it. HA! She is doing well and has become more protective now that she knows she's staying here and is safe. At first she was so laid back about her babies like she didn't really have a bond with them. Now she does and I'm breathing easier!!

Thanks for all of your thoughts on this subject.
 
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