Why did my cat’s kittens get their umbilical cords tangled up and die?

Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra – My first time mother cat recently gave birth to 6 kittens. The Kittens were all tangled up in the cords but I was not aware for a few days because I did not want to disturb her. So finally we took them out of the bed all in one clump. We unwound and separated them one by one. We managed to save 4 out of six. But the next day three of them had died. They seemed ok when we separated them. Can you tell me what could have happened? And will it be safe for her to have more kittens. The remaining kitten is healthy…Thanks


Alma Tulloch


Hi – thanks for your email. I’m sorry to hear about your cat and her kittens. Sometime the umbilical cords of cats can get tangled. When this happens – it is an emergency because the kittens can’t move, can’t eat and nurse and will die. This was unfortunate.

To answer your question about can she have more kittens – yes she COULD but why do you want to? Please consider having her spayed, as there are many unwanted kittens already.

Articles that might be helpful to you are Pros and Cons of Spaying Cats and Care of the new Mother Cat.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra