How old should kittens be before you can hold them?

Our question this week was:

How old should kittens be before you can hold them?


Jennifer Smith


Hi – thanks for your email. You wrote asking how old should kittens be when you can hold them.

The answer is that you can handle then at any time – immediately after they are born if needed. I think it is good to allow your cat to have some time to bond with the kittens assuming they are healthy and nursing well. If there is a problem, you may need to intervene immediately. I'd recommend trying to check them on at least a daily basis (or more) to ensure they are looking good, no crying, nursing and active.

To really begin interacting with the kittens – a constant gradual interaction is ideal. The kittens should be familiar with lots of different types of people, noises and situations. They should have plenty of kitten time during the first 6 weeks but also become familiar with human kindnesses.

Articles that might be helpful to you are Bonding in Cats
Understanding the Human-Companion Animal Bond with Cats and Developmental Milestones in the Kitten.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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