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Kitten Questions

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I've got some general questions about raising my kittens, now that I have them.

First off, when should I start handling them? They're seven days old now, and their eyes are not yet open. Should I wait until their eyes open, or until they start walking?

In about two weeks I'm going to go away for a while, and need to transport Mom and kittens to my parent's place. This requires a fairly length car ride... what's the best way to ensure they're comfortable and secure for the trip?

post #2 of 8
It is a good idea to avoid handling the kittens until they are at least 2 weeks old. You can cause harm by overhandling a wee one, and also cause the mom to really stress out. After the two week period, brief handling is good, but again, try not to handle them to much. I know it is hard because they are so cute, but it is better in the long run to let them develop and grow among themselves and once they start actively climbing and exploring, then your handling of them may increase.

Your best bet for the car ride, is to travel in the cool of day and cover the cat carrier with a dark cloth to reduce the stress on the mom.
post #3 of 8
I know too many cooks spoil the broth, but I have always handled my kittens extensively from birth, and have never had a problem with stressing mom. I have never heard the "no-handle" proponents suggest what is supposed to happen to a kitten that is handled extensively from birth, but none of my kittens have ever been vicious, sickly, underdeveloped, or whatever (just guessing a few things since, again, I have never heard what is supposed to happen to these kittens). One of them is huge, and another one is homely, but I think that's probably in their genes.
post #4 of 8
In the case of feral or semi-feral mom's Hissy's suggestion is very wise. If the mom does not trust you, then you may cause some serious problems.
If it's a case of a breeder or a household pet getting pregnant on accident then if you have a good relationship with mom, you can handle them the minute they are born. You have to be very careful and gentle, not taking them far from mom or hold them too long. You can sit next to them, talk to them and pet them. It's the best way to get them used to human interaction early on.
In the case of moving them. It's not a really good idea, but if it's necessary then I would put mom and kittens in a large carrier for transportaion. Then I would make sure your parents have a room that they can keep closed with mom and babies. Mom is going to be stressed about the move especially with her babies. They need to be kept in a quiet room where mom will feel safe. If not, she may start to move them around or stop taking care of them. If possible, I would plan to stay at least one night with them to help her adjust.
post #5 of 8
Sorry cooie, I should of qualified my statement. I only "speak" feral! :tounge2:
post #6 of 8
My bad, I didn't realize we were speaking of ferals!

Both my moms were rescues, but neither were feral. The only feral kittens I've had were weaned, although they were not old enough yet. Mom was sick (and died a few days after I got them all) so she had quit nursing them. I HAD to handle them, but they were already about 4 -6 weeks old by then, anyway.
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Oh, Niko's no feral. She WAS a stray, but she's a very friendly, well-socialized cat. She was just unfortunate enough to get a cold during an outbreak of feline distemper, and a panicky owner who dropped her like a hot coal. (She never had feline distemper. She had had SHOTS. Her owner was a stupid woman). I'm not sure of her history before her last owner dropped her off at the SPCA, but she's VERY demanding of attention, and is an incorrigible lap cat.

She doesn't seem to have a big problem with me handling the kittens (Unless they start crying, which happened once, and she came over to check). She DOES always insist on being there when I come to take a look, though it seems more she wants me to pay attention to HER, and not these little furballs ;p

I was there during the birth, and she didn't seem to mind my presence.

So far I've only picked them up a couple of times, to check the umbilical cords, and to check their weight and size. One of them started off slightly bigger, but his siblings have caught up, and now they've nearly doubled in size.

As for transporting them, I don't have a cat carrier large enough for them, so we're constructing a box.
post #8 of 8
We moved when Peaches's kittens were only three days old. We had to - we were in a no-pets apartment when Peaches insisted on moving in with us!

We also didn't have a carrier big enough for the lot of them, so we put Peaches in one and the kittens in another, but put them in the car side-by-side so she could see they were okay. She seemed a little anxious but not overly stressed, and the babies slept through the whole thing.

We were moving less than a mile away, though, so the whole ride was only about ten minutes.
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