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socalising newborns

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
as many of you know Maverick has just had a kitten, her first, last and only litter as she will be spayed.

i was just wonder how is the best way to socalise a newborn kitten?

Maverick trusts me enough to leave the kitten (she only had one) with me but i have yet to start handling it as i understand i shouldnt do this for 2weeks.

what should i do if the momma cat protests when i pick up her baby? how should i play with a 2 week old kitten?

any help will be much appreciated.
post #2 of 23
I can only advise how I do it, and I handle feral litters. I don't play with the kittens, but come two weeks, I do pick them up. First briefly, and I mean briefly, because they squawl and mama gets nervous. I lift them, then set them down next to her, always keeping an eye on momcat to be sure she isn't going to strike me. Each day I increase the time spent with them in my hands, until I can finally cuddle them briefly against my chest. You just want them at 2 weeks to know human touch, then as they get older you can play with them collectively or as a group. Also whenever you are near them, just keep talking softly all the time- with their eyes closed they will tune in to your voice and you won't be so alien to them. I just recite nursery rhymes over and over again-
post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 
thank you hissy. Maverick is ok with me picking up the kitten but i've only done it when i've had to.

i've stroked it a few times by mistake when i thought it was Mav's foot and she didnt mind either. their bed is in the corner of my big double bed so hopefully my scent is familiar and i talk to Mav all the time anyway.

Mav was such a mean little beasty when we got her i dont want to make the same mistakes that her previous family did.

should i wait two weeks or start now?
post #4 of 23
I think it is extremely important to begin handling kittens from birth - otherwise, if you ~need~ to handle the kitten to administer meds or for some other good reason and momma gets skittish or kitten whines, you get distracted or intimidated - this can lead to mistakes and injuries.

My kittens (as well as their mother) are used to having our hands on them from birth. Wash your hands and arms well with antibacterial soap and put your hands on that baby as often as you can. Put it right up in your face and blow gently on it, hold it against your chest so it can feel your warmth, hear your heart and distinguish your scent.

~gf~
post #5 of 23
i agree with gaye. We've handled kittens from birth, also. it appears Mav trusts you and she shouldn't mind at all. Do keep talking to mav. i'm sure she enjoys it.

I had to laugh when i read you have the nest on your bed. We've had a cat that wouldn't stay in her nest unless it was on the bed next to mom. i think she trusted her as a midwife/birthing coach.
post #6 of 23
When Lilith had her kittens (I can't believe it's been 3 years!), we handled them from birth, and she was fine with it. And with the orphans we took in last year, obviously handling them was required on a very frequent basis. I will say that the cats/kittens that have been handled since Day One are the best socialized and laid back in the house.

Congrats on the kitten(s)!
post #7 of 23
Lexus had her litter on my bed as well. Afterwards, I put Lex and babies in the nesting enclosure (which was also on my bed) and they stayed there for nearly 3 weeks until they wanted to investigate outside the nest. After that, they didn't want to be on my bed again until they were about 8 weeks old - they would all come and pile up on me while I was sleeping. 8-)
post #8 of 23
Just to interject that if you handling a stray or feral's babies and the cat does not know you, keep your eyes on mom. She can strike very quickly you have no idea how fast they can be if they feel their kittens are being threatened. If you know the cat that is one thing, so just be cautious if you don't.
post #9 of 23
Hi Nicky!

We handle our kittens from birth but not too much until they are three weeks old. We do this because we don't want the mothers to get too distressed and because their really is no need until they are two weeks.

All the best,

Sam
post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 
i picked the baby up to change the bedding and maverick was fine with it. she gave me a soft mew so i explained to her what i was doing and gave her some food whilst i put the kitten in some clean bedding.

the baby tried to suckle of my hand and got upset when it couldnt and mewed, which upset mav a bit so i hurridly finished what i was doing and left them.

i thinks shes a bit more wary of me around the baby now but that could because of all the new smells from the new bedding. when i went up to see her after coming back from a friends she was please to see me gave me some head butts and was very purry so i think i'm forgiven.
post #11 of 23
Hissy is right, of course - feral mommas are much more protective of their babies and extreme caution should be employed when handling babies of a feral mommacat.

I should have mentioned in my original reply that handling babies from birth is only best when Mommacat knows and feels comfortable with the person handling those babies.
post #12 of 23
Nicky your doing a brilliant job
post #13 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gayef
Hissy is right, of course - feral mommas are much more protective of their babies and extreme caution should be employed when handling babies of a feral mommacat.

I should have mentioned in my original reply that handling babies from birth is only best when Mommacat knows and feels comfortable with the person handling those babies.
luckily Maverick's not feral. we've had her since she was six weeks and she is now nearly one year old.

she seems to trust me but what are the warning signs to look out for? she hasnt growled at me yet but are there any other signs thats shes not happy/comfortable that i should look out for?

and what should i do if she doesnt like me picking them up when they get to 2 weeks?
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by maverick_kitten
luckily Maverick's not feral. we've had her since she was six weeks and she is now nearly one year old.

she seems to trust me but what are the warning signs to look out for? she hasnt growled at me yet but are there any other signs thats shes not happy/comfortable that i should look out for?

and what should i do if she doesnt like me picking them up when they get to 2 weeks?
Darlin, if you start picking up and handling that baby now, and do it frequently, by the time he/she is 2 two weeks old, Mav should be well used to it and won't present a problem.

You MUST be able to handle that kitten. You cannot let Mav intimidate you. If she gets highly upset about it and she probably won't, then while still holding the kitten, lay down on the floor or the bed (wherever Mav is) so she can see you aren't hurting her baby. Talk softly (I use a baby-talk kind of tone) and gently to calm Mav but don't let her have the upper paw *grin*
post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gayef
Darlin, if you start picking up and handling that baby now, and do it frequently, by the time he/she is 2 two weeks old, Mav should be well used to it and won't present a problem.

You MUST be able to handle that kitten. You cannot let Mav intimidate you. If she gets highly upset about it and she probably won't, then while still holding the kitten, lay down on the floor or the bed (wherever Mav is) so she can see you aren't hurting her baby. Talk softly (I use a baby-talk kind of tone) and gently to calm Mav but don't let her have the upper paw *grin*
thanks, that makes me feels whole lot better. when the baby starts to make noise i have this urge to fling it in the air and run away!

right, i'm going to scrub up and try to handle me some kitten.
post #16 of 23
LOL That sounds like a good plan! Wish I had me a kitten to handle! *grin*

It will still be a while yet for Lex - she hasn't even THOUGHT about going back into estrus after her Oct. 3 litter yet. Tonka, on the other hand, thinks about it ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL the time and I declare the entire neighborhood knows about it.
post #17 of 23
Thread Starter 
well maverick doesnt mind me picking up the baby and the baby doesnt seem to mind being held. Maverick just comes up to me and has a look at what i'm doing before going to eat, watch the goldfish.

the problem is the baby keeps trying to suckle on me then gets upset and mews which worries Maverick. what should i do when this happens? i put the baby down but i'm worried doing so makes me look guilty so she thinks i'm hurting it.
post #18 of 23
At first, yes, the baby will be whiney when you hold him, but don't put him down, just keep letting him whine. Mav knows you won't hurt him - but she will come and check it out just the same - that's her job and she is a good mommy for doing it so well. You'll be fine. And so will Baby and Mav.
post #19 of 23
Thread Starter 
she actually left the room when i was holding him which i took to be a good sign. she doesnt mind him whimpering but comes back when i put him in the box. i feel sorry for poor mav. he doesnt give her 5 mins peace
post #20 of 23
I had a friend whose cat would not allow her or her husband to get near her kittens. I went to visit to see the kittens and she brought the babies one by one to me and put them in my lap. My friend was so upset but this cat and I had always had a very unique relationship. Every time I visited she talked and talked to me (she was Siamese). I felt so honoured.
post #21 of 23
Thread Starter 
i would be very put out if she did that and refuse to give her tuna or scritches. lol

she only really likes me and tolerates everyone else so i dont think i'll have to worry about that.

were the babies pure bred or mixed siamese?
post #22 of 23
mk keep a bottle of formula (at room temp) on hand when you pick up the babies, and offer them a drink while you are holding them. That will ease mom, because they will be busy with the bottle and not mewing to get her distressed.

About signs? There are none. MacKenzie struck me once when her kittens were just days old. She struck just like a rattlesnake sinking her teeth into my wrist. The only way she released me was by me dropping the kitten- I was sitting on the floor, so the kitty didn't drop very far. The feral moms are quick and so anyone dealing with a feral mom needs to be careful.
post #23 of 23
Thread Starter 
i've been working very hard with her teaching her not to bite and scratch and i think its paying off. when she wants me to stop touching the kitten she pats my hand with her paw and very gently moves it with her mouth.

this is usually when she wants to be stroked herself then she'll move my hand to her head or when she wants to wash the kitten and i'm just being a big lug getting in her way.

thanks for all your advice, hopefull this kit will end up a lot more people friendly then mav was
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