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My cat gave delivery a week ago, and on the first day til now she lets us (6 people ages 6 to 20) touch her kittens and even carry them if we wish. Of course no one touched the kittens on the first three days even though she allowed it. We have a great relationship with her, and she is a family member.

The weird thing is that she's usually rude, I'd like to say, (best word to describe) and she swats or yells angrily if someone annoys her a lot. She is also nice at times, but to tell you the truth, most of the household thought that she'd become even more strict and defensive after she recieved a litter(except me, I expected her to be nice. She's usually nicer to me, I'm special 😎). But the point is, shouldn't she become very defensive and want everyone away? My sister literally touched them on the first day (mistakenly) and the cat only licked her finger. It happened like this, sister put her hand in the box which have the kittens expecting that Joury the cat is alone(didn't know that delivery was here), she wanted to pet her and surprisingly my sister feels a weird thing (afterwards discovers that it's the belly tube) she feels the cat had licked her, hears a kitten cry, and takes her hand out to have a look. When she looks she discovers babies.

I wanted to experiment with my cat's reaction if I patted her after giving a litter. I somewhat expected her to hit, but she was so nice and loving. On the same day afterwards the cat did a trick. She stood up on two feet to get food or treats and played afterwards as if nothing had happened. She gave birth very intelligently and had done the job alone. She cares for the babies very good. They are very clean and so is she. But she does not give a damn if we touch them. She's acting as if the babies are everyone's. We understand cat signs, and I'm pretty sure she doesn't care. In fact I can grab a kitten right now even if it's sleeping or nursing and she'd be okay.

I know it's nice and she trusts us, but shouldn't she be more defensive? Is she immature? It's her first litter. We have neighbors spending a couple weeks with us, and she hisses at their kids if the kids corner her. So this kindness she gives isn't for everyone. If we pat her feet or hip a couple of times to annoy her she hits, if we give extra love she hits, if we carry kittens, she's okay. Why is that? Is this a problem I should consider? They are 1 week old now, they look healthy, but can it be we are causing something bad to happen in the long run? Also can their be behaviour problems stay with them when they grow if carried a lot at such an early age?

Edit: The cat tries to have them back now once they cry. Relief. But I'd still love an answer explaining about the kittens' side.

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    Your cat trusts you and therefore is not too concerned with you handling the kittens. As you mention the mother sure starts paying attention when she hears them cry, indicating she is a good mother. While it is interesting to experiment with the mother’s behavior a little, and fluffy kittens are one of the best things in the world, please give the mother plenty of peace and quiet and let her have a lot of quality time with her kittens. The mother cat has a very important job to do now. – Beo Nov 27 '17 at 23:17
  • What do you want to know about the kittens side? They have this world to explore. And they don't know what is save and what isn't. If they don't feel save, they will call their mum (cry). If you treat them well they will trust you. – Flummox - don't be evil SE Nov 28 '17 at 8:15
  • Some people say that if people handle kittens at this age instead of leaving them to the mother, they may have behaviour problems once grown. Is this true? Have anyone experienced such a thing? – toothless199 Nov 28 '17 at 9:25
  • @toothless199 orphan kittens might develop problems. One of my cats started out that way. She is peculiar, but not really a problem cat. But a kitten that is young and not handled correctly will let you know. If you don't heed that (and its mother) might develop behaviour problems. Just like any animal you don't treat right. *Enjoy the little ones while they are little, they will grow up soon enough. – Flummox - don't be evil SE Nov 29 '17 at 10:52
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Well, you have a cat that trusts you, and that is good. And your cat knows the difference between people, so you have that covert.

Before:

When you start handling tiny kittens, do wash your hands before and after. Make sure your hands are dry and clean to make sure you don't introduce potentially harmful things to them. As they are growing, so is their immune system. At first they get protection form their mother's milk. Later it's their own system.

Now, about the kittens. They need their mother for everything, even warmth. And they are fragile. Til their eyes are open, don't pick them up if you don't need to. But you can pet them. Might help the kittens learn your smell and touch. They will sometimes hiss at you, but this normal and will go away after a few petting sessions.

Time Line:

At about day 14 (eyes opening), you can start to pick them up. Begin with a few minutes. Take care they don't drop. Their eyesight is bad at first, and they have no clue about heights.

At about 4 weeks old they are exploring by themselves. Their mother will keep an eye on them at this time. You can pick them up for longer times.

By 6 weeks your little balls of fur will be very playful. You can handle them almost like a normal cat. Just a little one. They might even fall asleep on your lap!


tldr: if you are careful with kittens, nothing much. Just don't let everyone do it. By week 6 kittens can handle a lot more, then it is time to play!

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    Great answer. I would like to add you should wash your hands before and after handling young kittens. I like to briefly and gently pet them with a finger within a few days of birth to start getting them accustomed to people. They will sometimes hiss at you but this normal and will go away after a few petting sessions. – Beo Nov 27 '17 at 23:05
  • @Beo added part on cleaning hands. – Flummox - don't be evil SE Nov 29 '17 at 10:53
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Just to add, the probable reason why your cat didn't mind your sister touching the kitten so soon after giving birth was the high levels of oxytocin in her blood.

Oxytocin is a hormone that acts as a neurotransmitter. It plays a role in several behaviors such as mother-offspring bonding, the let down reflex as well as generosity and empathy. When we hug or kiss a loved one, oxytocin levels increase; hence, oxytocin is often called "the love hormone." For mammals (I don't know about other animals) sex, birth and breastfeeding are stimuli for large amounts. Hugging and kissing will also cause oxytocin to be released. Oxytocin is the hormone that underlies trust. It is also considered an antidote to depressive feelings.

In short, she was too "high on love" to care.

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