The sight of a newborn kitten is one of the cutest imaginable, all warmth and fluffy cuddliness. When you're involved in caring for such a tiny creature, however, handling them can be intimidating. Whether you can touch a day-old kitten or not generally is up to the mother.
Relationship With Mother Cat
Whether you can touch a day-old kitten or not greatly depends on your personal rapport with the mother cat. If you are helping rear the litter, chances are you already have formed a close band with mommy. To avoid an unpleasant situation with her, however, take things slowly. Don't overstep your boundaries. Allow her time first to connect with them and engage in her motherly duties. Wait until the kittens first open their eyes -- which generally takes over a week. If you then try to touch a kitten and notice signs that the mom is upset -- such as growling or hissing at you -- back off immediately. After all, mother knows best!
Early socialization is essential for kittens. Just a few minutes daily is enough to do the trick. It is helpful to get the wee ones accustomed to touch from an early age. The more positive the association a kitten has of you, the more well-balanced, happy and amiable adult she will probably grow up to be. Start trying to touch a kitten regularly when she reaches approximately one week in age. In the event that you feel that you need to handle a kitten less than a week old, speak to your veterinarian for advice first.
To be an asset in nurturing little ones, it is important to understand a kitten's initial needs upon entering this world. Sit back and observe the relationship between the mother and kitten. Mother cats help newborns learn how to eliminate on their own and keep their body temperature warm -- all the while nursing them. Instead of trying to jump in and touch or pick up a kitten, watch and learn!
When you do begin to touch and handle a kitten, great care and attention is necessary. Kittens are extremely small and delicate, and therefore very susceptible to easy injury. When picking kitty up, cup her rear area securely and hold her snugly up to your chest -- making sure she has plenty of space to breathe.