Kittens can be cute, cuddly, playful and full of energy. While thousands of British Columbians choose to share their homes with a feline friend or friends, many may not know that there are good ways – and bad ways – to handle cats, especially when they’re young kittens. Perhaps that’s why one of the most popular Tip Tuesday videos, featured weekly on the BC SPCA’s Facebook page, is the one that simply, shows viewers how to pick up a kitten.
“Remember, if your kitten is in a crate, don’t just grab him and pull him out – that can be scary for him,” BC SPCA manager of animal welfare Kim Monteith notes, in the video. “Try playing with a few of his favourite toys, or put out some wet food or treats to try and lure him out on his own.”
The key is to make being picked up a favourable experience, not a bad or scary one, she says.
“Kittens – most animals – aren’t born automatically liking handling, so we need to teach them it’s OK, that it’s safe and can be enjoyable.”
To pick up the kitten, people should gently pick them up with one hand supporting the front/chest area, and the other under his back feet/bottom.
“Bring them close to your body – they’re fragile and you don’t want to drop them or have them jump out of your arms if they’re scared by a noise.”
It’s also important to never pick up a kitten by the nape of his neck.
“We never grab or scruff. The kitten’s mom might, but we don’t need to,” says Monteith. “Making it a good experience for your kitten and keeping his needs and well-being in mind are key.”