For me, kittens are the cutest things in the world and I have a whole army of Internet users that I know would agree.
I've watched kittens being delivered to this world countless of times since I was a small girl. I even documented some on film. In an hour or two, those tiny wonders would be cleaned and dried by their mother and then my desire to hold them would begin.
One should refrain from picking up very young kittens as it may upset their mother. This has never been a problem with me – the moms are my cats so they trust me. But it's true that one must not handle days old kitten unless the mother cat knows them and they could be perfectly gentle and careful with the baby cats.
Years of experience have taught me how to handle and cradle kittens and I'm gladly sharing some tips below to assist those who couldn't help get their hands on newborn kitties.
- Don't rush. Give the kittens and the mother some alone time and space right after birthing. It helps the new family to feel relaxed and the mother less insecure of her kitten's welfare.
- When the kittens are already dry and clean, you can lightly run your fingers on their small bodies. Try not to suddenly lift them or turn them around as their bones are still very soft and weak.
- Don't abuse your welcome by taking the kittens away from their “nest” as this would definitely upset their mother. Also, don't keep them in your hands too long or take the entire litter with you in one go as this would anger the mommy cat.
- If you are not happy with the mommy cat's choice of nest, offer a suitable alternative. Give them a box with thick towel. Place the box under a table or cabinet where it's peaceful, not too bright and there's less foot traffic around.
- It's ideal to relocate mommy cat's food and water bowls near the nursery area to save her the trips away from her children.
- After a week or two, kittens will start to bulge up and would be safer to handle. But as they are still very young, it's important to make sure your hands are gentle, clean and warm.
- Make sure to also shower the mother cat some affection to reassure her that you are one she could trust.
Early socialization by means of touch will help kittens be familiar with people. But not all kittens are the same. Some simply hate to be petted no matter how gentle and friendly you are. Home-grown kittens are usually okay with human's display of affection, but strays and rescues that have gone through some harrowing experience might resist your friendly advances. Of course, there are exceptions as some strays actually crave affection that they didn't get growing up.