When you have a cat with newborn kittens, you certainly can’t resist the urge to touch them, but you may want to avoid doing so.
Touching and picking them up too soon can cause a health problem and your mother cat may not like them.
In this article, I offer you some advice on when to touch baby cats.
What does it depend on if a cat lets you touch her kittens
This varies greatly depending on the personality and the experiences and relationship of the mother cat with people. The most outgoing and people-friendly cats tend to agree to letting their kittens touch, even newborns. But others feel more protective and will prefer that you not pick up their kittens until their eyes and ears have been opened.
If you have a cat who enjoys being petted by you, she probably won’t object to you petting her little ones, just watch how she reacts and acts.
If she is a stray cat and is not used to being handled by humans, she will be less trusting. And if she has been abused by people, she can defend her kittens with her claws, or catch them and run to safety.
The disadvantages of touching kittens
The cat licks her kittens so that they have their own characteristic smell. When you touch a newborn kitten, you make it smell different to its mother.
There are cat mothers who might feel threatened by that unfamiliar smell and have the need to move their litter to safety. If you go back to the nest in a few hours and notice that the kittens are missing, you shouldn’t worry. Your cat is simply trying to protect her babies and moved them to safety.
At what age is it safe to touch kittens
Even if it costs you, you should avoid touching newborn kittens during their first week of life , advises the ASPCA.
Socializing puppy kittens with humans is an important part of their proper development, begin to handle kittens with care from their second week of life . The ideal age for socialization for kittens is between two and seven weeks of age.
If you want to have confident, outgoing cats that trust people, make sure to handle kittens with care and expose them (safely) to circumstances they may encounter in their foster homes, such as dogs, children, male and female, etc.
Importance of keeping your cat’s pups warm
When it’s time to be able to catch the kittens, be sure to keep them warm. Hypothermia, or cold body temperature, is a serious problem in baby kittens. These use most of your energy reserves to keep warm.
Cold kittens cannot digest their food and are less likely to nurse, leading to possible malnutrition. Avoid hypothermia by handling each kitten for a short time and returning it safely to its mother and warm littermates.
What to do to gain your cat’s trust
The best thing to do is to gain the mother cat’s trust and then ask her permission to pet the kittens.
To do this, move very slowly towards the kittens. give a gift to the mother cat – cat food will be welcome, especially if it is wild.
Then squat down (bend your knees or kneel on the floor) so you don’t get too high on her. This will make you seem less dangerous to her. Then slowly reach out one hand and allow him to smell it. Basically, she is looking at you this way.
When he’s done sniffing and you’ve passed the test (i.e. don’t growl, hiss, or run away), slowly reach out a hand toward the kittens. Look at the mother cat. she can object. Most likely now allow it, gently pick up a kitten, pick up only one at a time. When you’re done, get up slowly, thank the mother cat, and walk away.
If at any time the mother cat hisses, it means that she does not want you to touch her babies. Respect that.
Precautions when handling kittens
Newborn kittens have not yet developed their immune systems. Wash your hands carefully before handling babies and keep other animals away from them to prevent the spread of germs.
Petting and picking up newborn kittens can be dangerous for them. Baby kittens, like human babies, are extremely fragile. Handling them roughly or accidentally dropping them can damage your bones or vital organs. Be very careful with them, and if you have small children in your home, watch closely while they handle the kittens.
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