Your pet cat just gave birth and you’re wondering if you can handle and touch her newborns. Can you touch newborn kittens? Yes, you may touch them for at least a minute or two. However, cat experts advise that you should avoid touching newborn kittens unless there’s a very good reason to do so such as if they’re in distress, not moving or breathing, and not suckling milk within two hours after birth.
Is it okay to touch newborn kittens?
Vets and cat experts agree that there is generally no harm in touching newborn kittens. However, the rule of thumb is to refrain from doing so while their eyes are still closed unless there’s an urgent reason to do. It will also depend on the mother cat’s character. It is considered a normal mama cat behavior to become aggressive if you or other family members go near her and her newborn kittens.
You can generally briefly hold and touch the newborn kittens upon birth to check for a bleeding placenta or birth membranes in the mouth and to check their gender. You may also touch them at least once a day during the following days just to check if they’re gaining weight. However, do not overdo it as the mama cat may feel stressed and anxious. If you notice a change in the mama cat’s demeanor then stop touching the kittens and respect the mama cat’s feelings.
Some mama cats are very protective of their kittens and if she and the kittens are disturbed too often by people or other pets they may move the kittens to a more secluded area. Nevertheless, because you’re the mama cat’s pet parent, she may allow you to hold and touch her kittens because she trusts you and associates you with security and comfort. If your mama cat isn’t aggressive and allows you to touch the newborn kittens then this is a good sign. However, don’t be complacent as a mama cat’s maternal instinct may prevail and she may suddenly attack you if you come near the kittens.
When is there a need to check and touch the newborn kittens?
While cat experts agree that you should avoid touching the newborn kittens in the first few days following their birth, you should check and touch them if the following instances happen:
- if the mama cat is having difficulty while giving birth then you should hold and touch the newborn kittens as well as the mama cat and bring them to the vet
- if the kittens’ lives are at risk such as if they don’t move or breathe
- if a kitten is born in the sac
- if a kitten doesn’t suckle milk within two hours after birth
- if a kitten is feeling cold and shivering
- if the mama cat is not giving any attention to the kittens
You should see to it that your hands are clean after returning the kitten back to the mother after you’ve touched her and try stroking the mother and then the kitten to transfer their scent.
When is it advisable to leave the kittens alone?
You do not usually need to worry and it is usually best to leave the kittens alone with their mama if you the mama cat delivered her newborn kittens in a secured area of your home, is is caring for her young, and the kittens are warm and suckling milk from their mama. Should you see that the nesting place is not suitable for the mama cat and litter, you may transfer them in a clean and safe spot in one go, after a day or two.
However, be very observant of the mama cat’s behavior and be vigilant if she’s manifesting disagreeable or aggressive behavior. If so, then forego the option of transferring them to a new area until such a time when the mama cat is calm and cooperative.
As any pet parent would be, you can’t wait to check on your pet cat who just gave birth to her litter of fluffy kitties. But, while it’s okay to touch newborn kittens for at least a minute or two, it’s best to leave them in peace especially if the mama cat is attentive, the kittens are healthy and eagerly suckling milk, and they’re in a quiet spot at your home.