Do Male Cats Kill Kittens? [5 Ways How to Prevent That]

Most of the household has domestic cats living with them. Cats have unique and fantastic fun behaviors. For females, they are known for their motherly instinct towards their litters.

Newborn kittens are so delicate and vulnerable. Mother cats tend to keep them warm and safe all the time. It is their responsibility to hide their litters from the possible attack of animals, especially male cats.

Do male cats have that fatherly thing too?

Both domestic and wild male cats are not known to have fatherly skills. They don’t get involved much in raising their kittens. 

As a matter of fact, some male cats are hostile towards kittens, not their own.

Male cats often kill kittens that they did not have a father with. This behavior is rooted in their instincts during primitive years. Before, wild cats tended to kill the young of their rival cats.

The reason behind this is to keep their genes advanced to the next generation. By killing the other rival’s litters, they lose the chance to dominate their own kind.

But take note that this does not apply to all cats. Not all male cats attack kittens. There are some that are harmless around their newborns. 

We got the idea that mother cats do most of the work in rearing their kittens. But little did you know that there are rare circumstances where male cats can do the same. 

Some male cats contribute to nurturing their kittens when around. They sometimes spend time playing with kittens and supply them food. 

However, it will be smarter to keep your male cats not around with your kittens to avoid killing them.

There are various ways to keep your kitten safe from tomcats. On the other way around, there are also quick tips that you can use to keep tomcats away from your kittens. 

This involves using different types of cat deterrents that are at the same time safe for cats.

To know more about tomcats’ behavior with kittens, here are some facts that you can ponder about and learn some ways that will help you keep tomcats away.

Do Tomcats Kill Kittens?

Tomcats are known to be territorial. They are described to behave much like a lion. 

Since they tend to roam around, tomcats hesitate to own kittens from a female that they usually compete with other male cats.

These cats built their territory and desired to have control over it. And part of establishing their domain is to kill kittens.

If you are asking if tomcats kill kittens, the answer is yes, they do. However, know that they have the tendency to slaughter kittens that are not their offspring. 

In other words, tomcats will murder newborn cats who happen to carry their rival cats’ genetic makeup. This scenario is also linked to other social animals, not only to cats.

In seldom situations, some tomcats exert effort and energy in raising their rival’s litters.

Moreover, one of the best qualities that cats have is their excellent sense of smell. Tomcats usually take over the territory of dead or noncompetitive cats. Then, that cat is determined to murder kittens in its new territory.

Tomcats also don’t like their females to nurture kittens from the other cats. Thus, motivates him to kill those. 

As much as possible, tomcats wanted their females to heat faster so that they could mate again. With this, they are sure that those litters are their own.

Will Neutered Male Cats Hurt Kittens?

Neutered male cats are those that undergo the process of castration or removal of testes. For female cats, it is the removal of the ovaries and uterus to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

Male cats tend to grow into a loving and well-adapted household member. It reduces their hormone-driven behaviors that are not acceptable to human beings. This includes – roaming around, catfighting, sexual aggression and urine marking.

With this, it is rare to see neutered male cats be aggressive towards kittens. Neutered make cats can be calm and relaxed around kittens. This applies regardless if it is their own or sired by another cat.

However, it is only their sexual hormone that is being reduced. It does not erase the fact that when it comes to territorial matter neutered male cats can still be aggressive. Thus, there can still be instances where they may hurt kittens.

Will A Male Cat Kill His Own Kittens?

Male cats have little to do with their litters. They don’t have that paternal instinct, just like the mothers. Most of the time, mothers or other female cats raise kittens.

Most domesticated male cats seemed to be good-natured. They would love to play with their kittens but still have little to no effort in caring for their offspring.

Kittens seemed to be vulnerable to an aggressive cat. Sometimes, due to their size, male cats may recognize them as their small prey, so they will likely hurt or kill them.

In rare cases, the kitten’s unpredictable movements and high pitched voice confuse the male cats. Thus, activates the male cat’s hunting drive and causes them to kill their litters.

Yes, the male cat has the tendency to kill his own kittens. However, this type of behavior is not typical, especially for domesticated one.

A male cat will come to the point that they will kill their kittens and eat them only if they are greatly starving. 

In the wild, research shows that in order for the mother and father to survive, they would tend to kill their own offspring. This is called infanticide – a power to ensure the survival of species.

Why Do Male Cats Kill Kittens?

Male cat’s reaction to kittens sired by others varies. Since male cats are known to be territorial animals, they are apt to feel threatened ones their place is invaded by an intruder. Thus, they express territorial aggression.

This type of behavior often happens when a new kitten is brought into the household. It is also usual for a male cat to be aggressive towards one cat in the family.

On the survival aspect, it is the male’s cat instinct to kill his rival’s litter. The main reason for this is to stop the bloodline of those kittens that are not his.

With this, the male cat can bring the female one into heat so that he can breed. Thus, he can produce his kittens. This situation arises, especially if competitions between male cats in the area are so intense.

aggressive tomcat

At What Age Are Kittens Safe From Male Cats?

Kittens that are newborns up to four weeks are so subtle and susceptible. They still have minimal mobility. Also, their immune system is still immature and at higher risk of getting sick.

Therefore, it is best at this stage to separate them from male cats, especially adults.

When the kitten reaches four to eight weeks old, they are now starting to be gradually independent. This can be a great time to introduce them to other cats. 

Aside from the fact that they can now see and hear,, kittens start to become active this time.

However, there should still be careful supervision, especially if male cats and other adult cats show aggressive behaviors.

By the time they age two to four months old, and onwards, kittens can now be relatively large and start to look like adults. They’re big enough to be feared by other adult and male cats.

How To Keep Tomcats Away From Kittens?

Knowing that tomcats are territorial and have the tendency to kill kittens, especially those that are not their own, it is best to keep them away from kittens. 

On the other hand, it is also suggested to keep your kittens safe from the reach of tomcats.

There are different recommended deterrents used to keep tomcats away from your kittens. These can keep them away from your garden or house as well. 

Having tomcats nearer your kitten poses a risk. Here are some ways how to keep your tomcats away from kittens.

1. Use Water

This is one of the most suggested methods. You may want to place a water sprinkler in your yard or set up a triggering device that detects if tomcats are near.

This way, tomcats will avoid going near to those areas because they hate to get wet.

2. Physical Deterrents

There could also be physical types of deterrents such as – metal or plastic wires, PVC piping on your fence, etc.

If tomcats usually love to sneak your kittens at night, you may want to paint the area with black mouse traps. Please put them in an upside-down position.

Aside from that, you can include texture and visual types of deterrents. Cats are very particular in surfaces, and they don’t much like those with crushed rocks, river rocks, or pinecones as borders.

You can scare tomcats by placing an old CD looped up at the cat’s height on trees for visual types of deterrents.

3. Put Fragrances

You may try to apply some scents that tomcats hate to those areas that they usually go near to your kittens. You may want to spray it at your doors or windows.

Make sure to spray or put this on the surfaces only and not on the cat itself. It includes – citrus peels, garlic cloves, coffee grounds, lavender, etc.

You can use coffee grounds available at your house. We coffee grounds and place it in areas that tomcats usually go. Lavenders have smells lovely for humans, but for cats, they don’t like it.

Cats don’t like the smell of citrus. Thus, it’s good to keep them tomcats out. 

In order to keep its scent more robust, that will maintain tomcats away, use it every few days. Or you may change. 

Aside from those commercial products, you can also try making some home remedies. Mix some home ingredients available at your kitchen to make spray repellents. 

Also, scented oils can work though they can smell a bit strong.

4. Plant Cat Deterrents

If you’re into plants, this can work for you. To keep tomcats away from your kittens, you can plant herbs that have scents or textures that tomcats hate.

You may place it as a boarder. You don’t need to worry for this cannot harm cats only that its scent or touch that they don’t want.

Some of these herb plants include – lemon thyme, pyrethrum, marigolds, lavender, etc.


How your male cats behave towards your kitten can be due to a lot of factors. Indeed, the cat’s litter is like a bundle of joy and so adorable. But there’s a greater possibility that tomcats may hurt them.

Male cats are known for their lack of paternal affection or skills in raising their litters. Research also shows that they respond differently from female cats when newborns cry using their high-pitched tone.

There also reports that tomcats tend to drag their litters. Therefore, it is part of your responsibility as a pet owner to keep your female cat’s kitten safe. 

If you have male and female cats, make sure that tomcats at your house have no access with their litters. 

Also, to reduce the risk of attacking the kittens, you may secure enough space for your tomcats. This way, he won’t feel threatened with his territory.

As your cat’s caretaker, you should also keep yourself available around to monitor and secure your cat’s needs, especially the kittens. 

It is indeed innate in male cats that they have the tendency to slay kittens, especially from rival cats. There can also be instances where they have to kill their own due to some natural reasons. 

Male cats behave aggressively typically because of their sense of being territorial and due to their sexual aggression. Same as the cats in the wild, they behave much the same because of those factors.

If a problem arises between your kittens and tomcats, you can check out those deterrent methods that will suit you and keep cats safe.

Take note that some ways of keeping tomcats away from your kitten can be harmful. Thus, it can be considered animal abuse, so be careful not to harm them.


Image credits – Photo by Alexis Gethin on Unsplash, Canva

[1] Male Cat Behavior Characteristics –

[2] Nuisance Cats – How to deter them from your garden – Kingborough

[3] Should the Father Cat Be Kept Away From Newborn Kittens? – Pets The Nest

[4] Neutering your cat –

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