It’s wonderful and unforgettable to see a litter of kittens being born, especially if your cat is the one giving birth. If you’re like most cat owners, the moment you see a newborn kitten, your first instinct is to pick it up and cuddle it. Touching young kittens is never a smart idea, though. Find out more about this situation and when you can begin caring for the new kittens in your home.
The Reasons Why Handling Newborn Kittens Is Not a Good Idea
A kitten’s first few weeks of existence are the most vulnerable. Since their eyes have not yet opened, infants must rely entirely on their moms to get by during this period. A mother cat devotes all of her time to taking care of her kittens, keeping them warm, making sure they eat every two to three hours, and assisting them with their personal hygiene. During this period, mothers and their young develop a close bond that aids them in cooperating as the kittens get older.
Mother cats frequently experience stress and try to ensure the security of their young. Because of this, they typically don’t like it when people and other animals get close to their nesting place. The attempt of the mother and baby to form a link can be hampered if you handle the newborns too soon. Your scent getting on the kittens might even make the mother anxious, and her reaction might be just as bad as neglecting the touched kitten.
When It’s Time to Handle Newborn Kittens
There are some situations where handling a newborn kitten may be necessary. These examples consist of:
Helping Mother Give Birth – If the mother is in distress or is laboring excessively, it may be required to gently pull the babies out of the birth canal. If the woman does not deliver the baby quickly enough herself, it can also be necessary to remove the sack that it is enclosed in.
Intervening during Mealtime — You can help a young kitten find and latch onto a nipple if they are not sucking their mother when the other kittens are. This happens when they are not yet weaned. Handfeeding might eventually be required, depending on the advice of a veterinarian.
Keeping Kittens Safe — It’s critical to remove any of the litter’s kittens who are in danger from it as soon as possible. The kittens might do better in a kennel in a back room if the litter is not in an area with a lot of foot traffic. A kitten should be taken and handled as an orphaned cat if the mother is acting aggressively against them for whatever reason.
What About Kittens Who Are Orphaned?
If you come across a litter of abandoned baby kittens outside or notice that one or more of your cat’s kittens appear to have been “abandoned,” take the kittens to a warm, safe area before taking them to the vet. On the journey over, a box or kennel furnished with blankets will be helpful. If it’s possible for you to care for them at home, your vet can provide you instructions. If the kittens require specialized care, your veterinarian should be able to direct you toward getting that treatment.
When You Should Begin Taking Care of Kittens
It is advised that you wait until the kittens’ eyes have opened, or around two weeks after birth, to begin handling your mother cat’s offspring. You can simply swoon over them with your eyes and show them your love until that time. As soon as you are able to begin holding the infants, do it carefully and only with their mother’s approval.
You’re more likely to gain permission when the kittens’ eyes are open, when they can eat and relieve themselves independently, and when their mother will likely appreciate a respite from the activity.
Tips for Handling Kittens Safely and Properly
To protect the health and safety of young kittens as they get older, there are a few things you should and shouldn’t do when handling them. Always start with the mother cat. She should always be aware of where her kittens are, so handle them only when she is there and avoid moving them to another room or out of the house unless absolutely required for medical reasons. Here are some further suggestions:
To prevent exposing the kittens to dangerous bacteria that their developing immune systems are not yet equipped to fight off, always wash your hands before handling them.
Never pick up a kitten by the neck or carry it around like a mother would. Instead, gently support their entire body while you handle them by scooping them up in the palm of your hand.
If necessary, wrap the kitten in a towel or blanket to help keep him warm. Since some sort of heat source is probably required, think about donning a sweater or a long-sleeved shirt.
Pay the mother just as much care as you do the kittens. As she heals from childbirth and acclimates to life as a new mother, she requires just as much love and affection.
Nothing can change the fact that kittens are lovely. It can be tempting to pick them up and show them affection when they are hanging around in your home. Before any human intervention, you must give the infants some time to get used to life and form relationships with their moms. You’ll have plenty of time to handle and play with those wonderful kittens, so be patient!