We have five indoor cats (4 females and 1 male), all rescued as kittens, and one of them gave birth to five kittens yesterday. Now we are witnessing behavior we’ve never observed in all our previous cats, ever: Female cats aggressive towards cat who just gave birth.
I tried googling this phenomenon to find out the reason behind it and hopefully get advice on how to handle the situation. But most of the information I found were about the mother cat exhibiting aggression, and not other female cats being aggressive towards the mother.
Miruku and Kamiya, the two unspayed females, are the ones who show the worst aggression. They hiss, puff their fur, and even attack with their claws when they see Paddington, the mommy of the 5 kittens. (She’s called Paddington because she was rescued from a rice ‘paddy’, and we initially thought she was a he).
Paddington is trying to remain calm through all this. She comes up to us for cuddles, as if seeking comfort and reprieve from her tormentors.
Cocoa, the spayed female, shows no increased aggression (emphasis on no increase). She is the loner among the five, and has always acted like a total b*tch towards everybody, including her humans. But now, she’s like an angel compared to Miruku and Kamiya!
Ally, the neutered male, does not care at all. He’s always been the chill one, even before we had him fixed. Always been as cool as a cucumber.
I’ve read about closely related female cats taking care of each other’s kittens. So maybe the explanation for the female cats showing aggression towards the new mother is because they are not related at all.
You’ve heard of other female animals committing infanticide on the babies of another female. They do this for various reasons. In meerkats, dominant females kill the babies of subordinates so the latter can act as nurses for her own babies. In chimpanzees, they do it due to competition for foraging areas.
Maybe the aggression of Miruku and Kamiya towards Paddington is an extension of negative feelings towards the new kittens.
Right now, we are not sure how to deal with this bad behavior from these two female cats. Have you had female cats aggressive towards cat who just gave birth? I’d love to know how you dealt with the problem.
So far though, the other cats have kept relatively distant from the area of the house where we placed the box where Paddington is nesting. We are hoping that in time, everyone will come to accept the new kittens as part of the family.