Do Male Cats Recognize Their Kittens? The Truth!

Naturally, female animals are the ones raising their kittens. In the wild, big cats, like lions, female lions, or lionesses are the ones who take care of their cubs. After some time, the lioness will bring their cubs to their pride to show it to the male lion and other lionesses. The male lion will sniff the cubs to know if it is his cubs. That is the way how male lions recognize their cubs. 

However, how about the male house cats? Do they recognize their kittens like their big cousins from the wild do? Let me give you the answer!

Do male cats recognize their kittens? Yes! Male cats can recognize their kittens! However, some male cats are not expressive, and some will be. It depends on the personality of the male cat. Based on my experience, I would confidently say that male cats can recognize their kittens!

Today, we are going to talk about male cats and their kittens. I will give you an answer to the common questions that are related to our topic. Also, I will set out some tips so that you can introduce your male cat to your kittens safely! If you are ready, let us move on!

First, let me tell you how male cats act around their cute kittens.

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How Do Male Cats Act Around Their Kittens?

In the wild, male lions are very protective of their cubs. They will kill anyone that is a threat to their cubs. Male lions do this because they need to preserve their lineage and pride.

If all cubs were killed, who will continue their pride? Make sense, right? However, male lions are not that sweet around their cubs and will usually ignore them unless there is a predator around them. 

How about in male house cats? How do they act around their kittens? Let me tell you the answer based on my personal experience and the internet. 

How do male cats act around their kittens?
Male cats have been observed caring for their kittens, even the dominant ones. Some male cats may also share their food and groom their young kittens. Male cats act nice around their kittens but not as sweet as the mother cat. Sometimes they ignore their kittens. It depends on the personality of the male cat.

Based on my personal experience, I can confidently tell you that male cats are not that bad or aggressive around their kittens. They might be distant and cold, but they will not hurt their kittens. 

Sometimes male cats can also be sweet with their kittens. They will sometimes teach their kittens to hunt and play with them. However, the love of a male cat is different from the love of a mother cat. Female cats are naturally affectionate towards their kittens.  

Do Male Cats Help Female Cats Take Care Of Kittens?

Domestic male cats and their cousins in the wild are not known for their fathering skills, which means that they usually don’t act as fathers around their cubs and kittens.

These male cats are siring as many kittens as possible to continue their lineage. Male cats usually never get involved in the raising of their kittens. Mother cats are the ones who do all of that. 

However, not all male cats have a distant and cold attitude. Some are sweet and loving. Some male cats are known to participate a little in caring for their kittens by cleaning, playing, and teaching them to hunt. 

Male cats are not a big help caring for the kittens, even though they might sometimes show affection to their kittens. Female cats are the ones that naturally raise the kittens. 

Sometimes, other female cats might also help their friends by taking care of the little kittens of their friends. Some female cats will act as midwives and baby sitters of their female friends. Female cats are known to nurse other cat’s kittens and even the babies of an entirely different species, like squirrels and rabbits. 

Is It Normal For Male Cats To Take Care Of Their Kittens?

Yes! It is usual for male cats to take care of their kittens. However, this only happens sometimes, not always. How affectionate your tom will depend on how you raised them and their personality. Some toms are completely distant and cold with their kittens, while others are less distant and cold. 

Male cats only have limited interest in their kittens. However, when kittens start to grow up and old enough to leave their mommy cat, the relationship changes. The kittens before will often hang out with their dad. Why?

Because the male cats are the ones that will teach the kittens how to hunt prey and how to act properly in the feline society. 

In the feral cat community, male cats are more aggressive from their kittens than domesticated male cats. Some domesticated male cats are neutered. That is why they tend to act less aggressive towards their kittens.

Because there are unlimited resources inside your house and it’s a safe place to live, male cats are more relaxed and open around kittens. Domesticated male cats are more playful and caring with their kittens than feral male cats. 

Will Male Cats Hurt Or Kill Kittens?

Yes! Male cats will hurt or kill kittens that are not theirs. This attitude was inherited from their cousins in the wild. Male lions will sniff on the cubs and kill them if they sense it’s not their cubs. They do this to prevent the genes of their rivals from spreading across the jungle. 

It is the same with little cats. Some male cats will kill kittens after they were born. The reason why is because they want to reduce potential competition in their territory and to induce the female cats to come into heat.

This kind of behavior has been noticed by humans in some animal species, including domesticated cats. 

Even the female cats may kill their kittens. Female cats kill their kittens if they feel threatened. If the female cat cannot find a safe and comfortable place and food, they would rather kill their kittens since the chances of survival are low. 

Mother cats also know how strong their kittens are. If they feel that one of their kittens won’t survive, they will kill it instead of wasting her milk on that weak kitten. However, this kind of case is quite rare.

Domesticated female cats are assured that their humans will never hurt their kittens and will provide food for them. That is why there is very little chance a domesticated female cat will kill her kittens. 

Can A Male Cat Be Around With Newborn Kittens?

Like I have mentioned, some father cats are not aggressive and harmless around their newborn kittens. However, even though they might be harmless around their newborn kittens, it is still a smart idea to keep the male cat away to avoid any problems. Male cats will kill their kittens sometimes to get their mother in heat and get the attention of the female. 

Kittens do not need their father. All they need is their mother that will breastfeed them. Fathers are not essential to be around newborn kittens. However, when the kittens grow up, they might need their father as their model in hunting. 

However, if you want to introduce your male cat to his kittens, you need to be cautious and take it step-by-step. The next thing we will talk about is my personal tips that I would like to share with you on how I managed to introduce my male cat to my kittens in the right way. If you want to know the tips, let us move on!

I Want To Introduce My Male Cat To My Kittens. How?

There are times that you might face the introduction of your male cat to his kittens. Maybe you have a male and female cat in your house, and you are worried about how the male cat will react to the kittens once they are born.

Or maybe, you have a male cat, and you plan to buy a kitten or younger cat and introduce it to your current male cat. 

When you introduce the male cat to their kittens or other younger cats, you need to be cautious and careful. Your supervision is vital! Why? Because their interactions might not be what you expected.

It is essential, especially when a cat is still a kitten. A kitten is tiny and has a lack of experience. The kitten will be vulnerable to an experienced cat. 

The new kitten should be living in a room, separated from the established cat a week. After that, you introduce your male cat to the kittens with a barrier between them. You can use a baby-gate or net to separate the two. 

Or you can also keep the kitten in a pet carrier. The barrier between them is essential so that once the established cat acts aggressive, it won’t touch your new kittens.

Once your male cat and kittens become accustomed to each other, and they are not showing any aggressive attitudes, you can remove the barrier between them.

However, it is still advised that you supervise their interactions and never leave them alone together. In most cases, older cats tend to be more curious to know the young cats. 

In my personal experience, I did not have a hard time introducing my tom from his kittens. Our male cat was raised properly in a loving way. When my tom saw his kittens, he just smelled it and went away and slept again on his sleeping spot. 

However, this might not be the case for everybody. That is why it is essential to make it one at a time when introducing your tom to his kittens or to the new young cat you’ve bought. 

Final Words

Male cats recognize their kittens. However, they do not show affection to them as mother cats do. Usually, male cats are distant and cold from their family. However, some male cats are expressive, and they show their affection to their kittens by playing and cleaning them.

It really depends on the personality of your male cat and the ambiance of your house. If your home is peaceful, has lots of space, and your male cat is always eating at the right time, he doesn’t need to kill his kittens since the chances of survival are high, and there are many territories around your house that they can own. 


Marian Haaz
Marian is a cat adoption expert. She has rescued and adopted several cats herself and helped find homes for dozens of stray cats and dogs.
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