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8 Warning Signs Of A Dead Kitten Inside Cat

8 Warning Signs Of A Dead Kitten Inside Cat

Cat pregnancy is a natural thing, and, if everything is in order, cats are perfectly capable of delivering their kittens without any help.

The best thing you, as a cat owner, can do is to watch the labor discreetly to make sure everything is going smoothly.

However, there might be some difficulties with labor. Sometimes a cat might have a dead kitten inside, which will also be a threat to her health.

It’s important you’re able to recognize the most common symptoms of dead kitten inside cat, so you can react on time and ask for a veterinarian’s help.

Let’s find out more about these warning signs.

1. Vaginal Bleeding

If you notice vaginal bleeding in your pregnant cat, this is one of the most certain signs that she has a dead kitten inside her.

The bleeding might be light in some cats, while others could manifest heavy bleeding which can be scary for cat parents to see.

Sometimes the bleeding might come and go, but, you need to contact your vet as soon as you notice the blood for the first time.

2. Behavioral Changes

Pregnant cat lying outdoor with funny pose

Sudden changes in behavior could also indicate your cat is having a dead kitten in her womb.

She could act restless, pace back and forth, walk from room to room, and look disoriented. This happens because the cat feels pain and knows something is wrong.

She is unsure of what’s happening, but she is in discomfort and is trying to get help from you.

Cats in pain also usually become more vocal, so, if your kitten is constantly meowing at you, it’s clear she is in trouble.

3. Refusal To Eat

Many cats are picky eaters, and might show you they dislike your choice of food by simply refusing to eat it.

However, a cat’s refusal to eat could also indicate other things, such as various health issues.

And if your cat’s pregnant, this could also be a sign that she has a dead kitten inside her. 

If your cat ordinarily eats normally and has an optimal body weight, this should definitely be a warning alarm for you.

4. Aggression

Portrait of pregnant cat walking on the lawn

Some felines with a dead kitten inside them could also become aggressive.

This might happen because they are feeling lost and insecure about what is going on with them. Also, it’s possible that mother cats want to protect their kittens from predators.

Since cats can’t actually use words to express their feelings, we can only guess what’s going on in their heads.

If your pregnant cat suddenly becomes aggressive, you shouldn’t ignore this sign.

5. Lack Of Energy

Do felines experience any bigger changes in their energy levels during pregnancy?

According to VCA Animal Hospitals, cats actually show very little changes when pregnant; although some might become more loving, and some more aggressive.

But, if everything is in order with the pregnancy, cats should be normally active.

If you notice your cat shows a lack of energy, and seems uninterested in her usual daily activities, her toys, or playing with you, this could also be a sign of a dead kitten inside her.

6. Vomiting

british shorthar cat puking outdoors on grass

Daniel Batchelor and his associates [1] explain how vomiting is amongst the most common clinical signs reported in cats. So, if you notice your cat vomiting this could indicate many different things.

In some cases, a cat’s vomiting can be treated with some home remedies, while some other situations will require a veterinarian’s assistance.

If a pregnant cat is suffering from severe vomiting, this could be the attempt of her body to expel toxins. 

Therefore, your pregnant cat that’s vomiting a lot could be carrying a dead kitten.

7. Straining

As Interinational Cat Care explains, straining is a normal part of a cat’s labor, and is productive in moving the kittens along.

During your cat’s labor, the straining should last for 20 or 30 minutes; They do this to successfully deliver their kittens.

But, if a cat continues to do this for a longer period of time, this might mean that she still has a dead kitten inside her, and is trying to have him come out, too.

She’ll be unable to do this by herself, and this can be very painful for her. This is why you need to call your vet as soon as possible.

8. A Bad Odor

Pregnant cat sprawled on the Ground

Many cat parents say how their cats smell good, and this could not be just them being biased. Felines are indeed super clean animals that spend a lot of their time grooming.

So, if your normally good-smelling pregnant cat suddenly starts to smell bad, this is also a potential symptom of a dead kitten inside her.

If this is the case, the bad smell should be coming from your cat’s genital area. The smell can get to be almost unbearable, so, please, react immediately.

What To Do If You Suspect Your Cat Has A Dead Kitten Inside Her?

The only thing you can do here is to take your cat to the veterinarian clinic.

If the vet confirms your cat has a dead kitten inside her, he will likely need to perform a C-section to save the rest of the kittens, and to make sure the mother cat will be safe.

After the vet’s intervention, It’s very important you monitor your cat’s state according to his instructions.

 If you notice fever, decreased appetite, or discharge from the cat’s vagina, you need to contact your vet right away, because these could be signs of an infection.

To Sum It Up

pregnant cat on green grass

I hope you now have a better understanding of symptoms of dead kitten inside cat.

I also hope none of you will ever have to deal with this situation, but it’s important to be able to recognize these signs on time, and, therefore, to even save your cat’s life.

Although in most cases a cat’s pregnancy and delivery go perfectly, exceptions are possible. If you have any doubts or uncertainties related to this issue, please consult your veterinarian, and don’t act on your own.


[1] Batchelor DJ, Devauchelle P, Elliott J, et al. Mechanisms, causes, investigation and management of vomiting disorders in cats: a literature review. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery. 2013;15(4):237-265. DOI, Retrieved May 18, 2023.