What age should kittens be handled?

Discussion in 'Cat Breeding' started by Alexhannah, Jun 19, 2017 at 1:47 PM.


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At what age should kittens begin to be handled?

  1. From birth

    53.3%
  2. From 2 weeks of age

    26.7%
  3. From 3 weeks of age

    6.7%
  4. Older than 3 weeks

    13.3%
  1. Alexhannah

    Alexhannah PetForums Junior

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    I know that everyone has different thoughts on what age kittens should be handled and socialised at. Personally I think that 2 weeks old is an appropriate age to begin to handle and pet kittens but I am interested to find out what the majority of forum members think :)
     
  2. lymorelynn

    lymorelynn UN Peacekeeper in training
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    A lot depends on how the mother reacts. My kittens are handled from birth, weighed and checked daily but only by me for the first two or three weeks. Any visitors after that are asked to use antibacterial hand gel if they want to pick up or stroke a kitten but they are welcome to do so so long as mum cats don't object. They begin to be socialised from around 4 weeks
     
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  3. spotty cats

    spotty cats PetForums VIP

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    Our kittens are handled from birth
     
  4. QOTN

    QOTN PetForums VIP

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    As they appear in this world. Weighed every day including as soon as dry, stroked while they are suckling etc.
     
  5. carly87

    carly87 PetForums VIP

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    Every single day right from the get go! My babies are cuddled by me even before their mummies get them, as mums don't want to clean them up. They get cuddled exclusively in the nest until they decide they want to be picked up (to be fair, mine are normally yelling for it by the time they're a few weeks old).
     
  6. OrientalSlave

    OrientalSlave PetForums VIP

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    As long as mum is OK I weigh every day from birth, but I start handling more once their eyes are open and ears stood up.
     
  7. Raelynn Wright

    Raelynn Wright PetForums Newbie

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    About two weeks unless you see the kittens need serious help, as in one of them is dying
     
  8. carly87

    carly87 PetForums VIP

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    And how would you see this if you didn't handle them? Would you wait until it was obvious? screaming? Thrashing? Because by that point, it's too late!
     
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  9. OrientalSlave

    OrientalSlave PetForums VIP

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    Which is why I weigh them each day. If the whole litter isn't gaining weight the mum probably has a problem, if it's one kitten then that kitten can hopefully be helped.
     
  10. carly87

    carly87 PetForums VIP

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    Sorry OS, that was addressed to Raelyn
     
  11. OrientalSlave

    OrientalSlave PetForums VIP

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    I know, was just explaining how I know if there is a problem. My own preference is for minimal handling until they can see & hear, that also is approximately the start of the sensitive period (2-7 weeks according to iCatCare) - handling before that doesn't help with socialisation.
     
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  12. QOTN

    QOTN PetForums VIP

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    It can be hard to think things through when you are only 13!
    Sorry to disagree with Icatcare (actually I am not sorry since I still regret the passing of FAB) but kittens handled from day 1 are, in my limited experience, much easier to medicate etc. and more amenable to handling generally.

    My Rose is an example of one who, for various personal reasons, was not handled enough by her breeder and she is completely different from my own bred cats and Darkness even though she is out of one of my own girls and a boy with a really good temperament. Blah also came from a breeder who did not handle them for the first two weeks and she is a bit wary of being messed about. I don't think I could even groom Blah if she had not watched the other cats queueing up to be brushed and decided it must be a good thing. They have no problem relating to other cats and selected humans but it is harder to manage them.
     
  13. carly87

    carly87 PetForums VIP

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    I would agree with Qotn. By the time 2 weeks comes, my babies already recognise my smell, and are swimming onto my hand to have a tickle. By the time their little eyes open, and they can hear the crap I talk at them, they're already completely socialised to humans and their smells, which gives us a really solid grounding to start from. From day 1 they're exposed to all my household noises, so never really learn what fear is.
     
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