Little girl holding a kitten in her hands.

First Encounters With Kittens

Your new pet’s first encounters with the rest of your family are important. Be sure that initial introductions, be they with children or other adults in the family, turn out to be positive ones.

Carefully supervise child-pet interactions, and stress to your children the importance of gentle play and handling. Instruct your children and other adults on the proper way to pick up and hold a new kitten.

Pets should not be picked up solely by the front legs or by the neck. Instead, the entire body should be picked up as one unit, with the hind end supported, not left dangling in midair. Picking a cat up by grasping the skin over the back of the neck is acceptable as long as the hind end is supported as well.

If they had it their way, most children, and some adults, for that matter, would choose to play with a new kitten 24 hours a day. However, you need to stress the importance of a rest time after periods of play, and lay down strict ground rules against disturbing the pet during this downtime.