WATCH: Mama Deer Treats Kitten Like One of Her Own, Gives It a Bath

by Caitlin Berard

Like most mammals, female deer have an incredibly strong maternal instinct. Within moments of birth, the mama deer will bathe and feed her fawns. She then hides them in separate locations, patrolling the space between them to ensure that, should a red fox or another predator approach, they encounter her and not her babies.

Though the doe isn’t directly by her fawns’ side during the day, they need only call out to her and she’ll come right away to reassure them with food and protection. When it’s time to mate again, the doe will even protect her babies from other deer, as male deer are considerably more aggressive during mating season.

At birth, a fawn weighs 6-8 pounds, roughly the size of a small cat. And, as we’ve already established, does are careful to keep their young clean and cared for. So while a mama deer bathing a kitten isn’t exactly a typical sight, it’s not that strange, either.

Mama Deer Bathes a Kitten With Her Fawns Nearby

A Reddit user recently posted a video of the unusual occurrence they spotted in their backyard. In the video, it’s clear that the doe is a new mother. Her fawns are frolicking in the background, and though they’re much bigger than the cat, they still have their white spots, which baby deer lose between three and four months of age.

Rather than focusing on the baby deer, however, the mama deer is making herself busy by giving the kitten a bath. And even after the other female and fawns leave, presumably after hearing or seeing the person recording the video, the mother is still intent on bathing her unusual baby.

For those curious, the kitten’s name is Mr. Mustard, according to the homeowner, and he’s “quite the ladies’ man.”

Users took to the replies to give their thoughts on the unexpected sight, posting a mixture of jokes and heartfelt responses.

“‘Ah yes, a strange-looking little deer. I must bathe it,'” one user joked from the mama deer’s perspective. “This is the most important thing I’ve seen on the internet today,” another said. “The cat actually acts as a salt lick,” added a third.

Doe Comes to the Rescue of a Crying Baby

Though out of the ordinary, the mama deer bathing a kitten is far from the only time a doe has displayed concern for a baby outside of her own species. Just last year, in fact, a video went viral of a deer responding to a human baby’s cries.


When you almost have to throw down with a momma deer because your baby starts crying outside

♬ original sound – Hanna Burton

TikTok user Hanna Burton was on her back deck with her crying baby, Charlie, when a mama deer sprinted from the woods to get a look at the distressed infant, possibly mistaking his cries for those of her own fawns.

“This one’s my baby,” Hanna gently explained to the doe. “It’s not yours. Hi, mama.”