If your cat has recently given birth, you may be wondering when can you handle newborn kittens. There is really no definitive answer to this question, although you can learn to judge when the time is right.
The mother's temperament is the first thing to take into consideration when wondering when you can handle kittens. Under ideal circumstances, the mother will be a pet and have a trusting relationship with you. In this case, you will probably be able to handle the kittens earlier than if she was a feral cat. It will also make a difference if the mother is taking good care of the kittens or if she is neglecting them.
If the mother seems to be taking good care of the kittens and both the mom and babies are in good condition, you should give them time to bond without intervention or interruption. In this case, you should not handle the kittens until they are at least two weeks of age. After that, you can handle them with the mother's supervision.
If the mother is ill, dead or has abandoned the kittens, you should handle them as soon as you see that they need care. It is important that they get handled, fed, groomed and socialized so they will make good companions in the future.
Handling the Kittens
When you handle the kittens, you should hold them for only short periods at first. Hold them gently for ten minutes or so, and make sure you support them completely. Always handle newborn kittens in the presence of their mother because this will help them feel secure. It will also keep the mother calm.
Small children should not be allowed to handle newborn kittens, and older children should only handle them with supervision. Remember that kittens are vulnerable and unable to defend themselves, and they should be protected at all times from other pets.
Handling Abandoned Newborn Kittens
If you find kittens that are newborn and have been abandoned, or the mother is dead, you should immediately take steps to ensure the kittens' health and safety. Handle them gently, cupping them in both hands. Be sure to keep them warm at all times. Orphaned kittens need special attention, so always discuss their care with your veterinarian.
When Can You Handle Newborn Kittens Away from the Mother?
After the first two weeks, you can begin to socialize the kittens by holding them for longer and longer time periods. Handling and petting the kittens during the first eight weeks of life helps them grow used to people, and they will make better pets. During this time, you can begin to play gently with the kittens.
Give the kittens plenty of toys to play with, and try to avoid allowing them to play with your fingers or clothing because this can encourage aggressive behavior later on.
When can you handle newborn kittens? Under normal circumstances, you can feel comfortable interacting with the kittens after about two weeks. Take your cues from the mother cat, and put the kittens back down beside her if she seems uncomfortable or anxious. Always be gentle.
Handling kittens from an early age teaches them to trust and interact with humans in a healthy manner.