Symptoms of Dead Kitten Inside Cat and Required Supportive Care

Published on Jun 26, 2023 12:00 AM
Symptoms of Dead Kitten Inside Cat and Required Supportive Care

As pet owners, we strive to provide our feline companions with the best possible care and the utmost attention. 

Unfortunately, there are times when nature takes an unexpected turn. For instance, the loss of a kitten inside a cat's womb. 

Understanding the signs and symptoms of dead kitten inside cat is crucial. It helps identify the issue and seek veterinary assistance promptly. 

In this blog, we’ll discuss the common symptoms associated with a dead kitten inside a feline mother. 

Besides, we will learn how to identify and address these distressing circumstances.

Keep reading!

15 Common Symptoms of Deceased Kitten Inside a Cat

There can be many symptoms of dead kitten inside cat, but here we will overview the 15 most common: as follows.

Lack of Fetal Movement 

During a healthy pregnancy, kittens are active, and their movements can be felt by gently palpating the mother's abdomen.

So one of the first indications of a deceased kitten inside a cat is the absence of fetal movement. 

Considering this, it may be an alarming sign if the cat's belly feels unusual and lacks the characteristic movement associated with living kittens.

Change in Appetite and Behavior

A dead kitten can significantly affect a cat's behavior and appetite. 

The feline mother may 

  • Refuse to eat or drink 
  • Exhibit signs of distress or depression
  • Show sudden loss of appetite
  • Withdraw from social interactions
  • Become less responsive to stimuli 

These behavioral changes can indicate the emotional and physical toll losing a kitten can have on the mother cat.

Extended Pregnancy Period

 A cat's normal gestation period ranges from 63 to 67 days. 

If the pregnancy exceeds this timeframe without any signs of labor or birthing, it could be one of the symptoms of dead kitten inside cat. 
When a fetus dies inside the womb, the mother's body may not go into labor naturally. 

In such cases, it is crucial to consult a veterinarian. This is the best way to prevent potential complications and ensure the well-being of the mother cat.

Discolored Gums or Tongue

The cat may exhibit changes in the color of their gums or tongue. 

The gums may appear pale, bluish, or have a yellowish tint. 

Basically, these color changes indicate underlying health issues, such as anemia.

Vaginal Discharge 

The presence of abnormal vaginal discharge is another symptom that may point toward a dead kitten inside a cat. 

A foul-smelling discharge that is either greenish, brownish, or bloody suggests a life-threatening condition called pyometra. This occurs when bacteria infect the uterus. 

Basically, retaining a dead fetus can cause pyometra and requires immediate veterinary attention.

Unusual Discomfort during Urination or Defecation

The presence of a dead kitten can cause pressure on the mother cat's urinary or gastrointestinal tract. 
This leads to discomfort or pain during urination or defecation. 

Resultantly, the cat display signs of straining, vocalization, or going in and out of the litter box without producing any waste.


A mother cat carrying a deceased kitten may exhibit extreme lethargy or fatigue. 

In that case, she will 

  • Appear weak
  • Have difficulty moving
  • Spend more time sleeping or resting than usual

This lack of energy is often a result of the emotional and physical strain of the situation.

Foul Odor

A strong and unpleasant odor emanating from the mother cat's vaginal area may indicate an infection resulting from the presence of a dead kitten. 

Usually, this foul smell is associated with a condition called septic metritis. In this condition, your cat requires immediate veterinary attention.

Behavioral Changes Towards the Remaining Kittens

When a mother cat carries a deceased kitten, her behavior towards the remaining kittens may change. 

Primarily, these behavioral changes can result from emotional distress or hormonal imbalances.

Sometimes, she becomes more protective and anxious or displays excessive grooming toward them. 

Conversely, she shows signs of indifference or avoidance.

 Mammary Gland Changes

Changes in mammary glands is also one of the symptoms of dead kitten inside cat.

The changes can include 

  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Increased sensitivity

Additionally, the cat may be reluctant to nurse her other kittens or may exhibit signs of pain when they attempt to nurse.

Abdominal Discomfort

The presence of a dead kitten in the cat's womb can cause discomfort and pain in the abdominal area. 

The mother cat may show signs of discomfort, such as

  • Restlessness
  • Frequent shifting of positions
  • Being protective of her abdomen when touched


Sometimes, a mother cat with a deceased kitten frequently experiences vomiting. 

This can result from stress, hormonal changes, or complications associated with the dead fetus.

 Disinterest in Grooming

Cats are known for their meticulous grooming habits.

However, a mother cat carrying a dead kitten inside may lack interest in grooming herself. 

This disinterest in self-care can indicate emotional distress and need close monitoring.

Abnormal Breathing Patterns

Respiratory changes can also occur in a mother cat with a deceased kitten.

You may observe shallow or irregular breathing patterns. So, in severe cases, don’t get delay contacting your vet.

Aggression or Withdrawal

The emotional impact of losing a kitten can lead to changes in a cat's behavior. 

Some mother cats may become unusually aggressive, displaying aggression towards their human caregivers or other animals. 

On the other hand, some cats withdraw and become less social, seeking solitude or hiding.

What’s Important to Note?

All the above-mentioned symptoms may vary in severity and may not always indicate a dead kitten. 

However, if you observe any of these signs in your cat, you must consult a veterinarian for a thorough examination and proper diagnosis. 

Timely intervention and medical care are vital for the well-being of the mother cat and the remaining kittens.

Diagnostic Techniques: Symptoms of Dead Kitten Inside Cat 

To confirm the presence of a deceased kitten and its impact on the mother cat's health, a veterinarian will perform a thorough examination, which may include 

  • Palpation
  • Ultrasound
  • X-rays 

These diagnostic techniques enable the veterinarian to identify the number of kittens and their viability. 
Besides that, they can detect any potential complications that require immediate intervention.

Supportive Measures for A Cat With Deceased Kitten

Besides recognizing the symptoms of dead kitten inside cat, it is essential to provide the mother cat with support and care during this challenging time. 

Here are some measures to alleviate the physical and emotional distress experienced by the feline with a dead kitten:

Veterinary Guidance

As soon as you suspect a deceased kitten, consult a veterinarian immediately.

They will conduct a comprehensive examination to assess the situation and provide appropriate guidance. 

The veterinarian may also recommend treatment options such as medications to prevent infection or induce labor if necessary.

Emotional Support

Losing a kitten can be emotionally overwhelming for both the mother cat and the pet owner. 

Being a kind and responsible pet owner, you should provide a calm and comforting environment for the cat, offering extra attention and reassurance. 

To help her alleviate stress and promote emotional healing:

  • Spend quality time with her
  • Engage in gentle play
  • Provide comforting massages

Nutritional Support

Ensuring the mother cat receives proper nutrition during this time is also essential. For that, consult with the veterinarian. 

They will brief you on dietary adjustments or supplements that are necessary to support her overall health and recovery.

Postnatal Care

Even if a kitten is lost, the mother cat may still experience postnatal changes. 

Monitor her closely for any signs of 

  • Infection
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unusual discharge

Contact the veterinarian promptly for further assessment and treatment on observing any abnormalities.

Preventive Measures

While losing a kitten is unfortunate, taking preventative measures for future pregnancies can help reduce the likelihood of a similar occurrence. 

Consult with the veterinarian to discuss options such as spaying the cat. This could be the most effective way to prevent future complications and ensure her long-term well-being.

To Wind Up!

For prompt veterinary intervention and support, recognizing the symptoms of dead kitten inside cat is necessary.

Pet owners should seek professional assistance and provide emotional and physical care to the feline mother. Doing so will help mitigate potential risks and promote healing. 

To read more well-researched and informative articles, blogs, and guides related to pet care, procedures, grooming, and solutions, explore Vet and Tech.

We take pride in offering cutting-edge education and information tailored to the needs of pet owners and veterinarians. 


Can a deceased kitten be expelled naturally by the mother cat? 

Yes, sometimes, the cat may naturally expel the dead kitten through their reproductive system. However, if there’re complications or a significant amount of time has passed without any signs of labor, your cat may need veterinary intervention. This would help prevent potential complications.

How can I emotionally support my cat if she had a dead kitten?

Providing emotional support to the mother cat is crucial during this challenging time. Offer a calm and nurturing environment, spend quality time with her, and provide reassurance and affection.