This very much depends on how much the mother cat knows and trusts you. If you are a trusted member of her family (let's not forget that cats own us, not the other way round) then you should give her a couple of days to settle down with her new family. Obviously, if there are any problems that could affect the health of the kittens, then you are going to need to disregard this.
You should also take into account how the mother cat reacts when you get close to her litter. If she seems perfectly relaxed then you will probably have no problems touching (and admiring) her newborns, but if she shows any sign of aggression, such as arching her back and spitting or hissing, then she is telling you in no uncertain terms to keep your distance. You should respect this, not only so that you do not get hurt, but also so there is no chance that she rejects the kittens.
Cats will very often give birth in one place and then move the kittens to a place that they feel is safer. If that happens to be the bottom of your wardrobe, or any other place that is personal to you, then so be it unless it really is inconvenient, or there is some danger. If this is the case, then you will have to touch the kittens to move them.
Make sure that the mother has easy access to food, water and a cat litter tray so that she does not have to move far from her babies, or for any length of time, especially in the early days. As the babies get older, they will also need to be able to access these. On the whole, cats tend to be very clean animals, so they will naturally use a litter tray, but if the kittens can see their mother using it they will learn so much more easily.
During the birth process, the placenta is expelled along with kitten and they are born with their amniotic sac which the cat will remove. In case she does not do so, it is up to you to cut the sac very carefully and stimulate the breathing by rubbing it gently with a rough towel. The mother cat will sever the umbilical cord about one inch from the body. She cleans the kitten and also stimulates the breathing by licking the kitten with her rough tongue.
Mother cats are extremely protective about their kittens. The age at which you can handle depends on the condition of the kittens and the mother. If the mother is taking care the kittens should not be handled for at two weeks and then only under the mother's supervision. The kittens at this age are very fragile and need to be handled very gently and always in the presence of the mother.
In case the kittens have become orphans, you are now like a mother and need to care for them. They need to be fed milk with an eyedropper or nursing bottle. Important thing to remember is to treat them like human babies; keep them clean, warm and well fed.
Be careful mom cats don't like to share their babies. But if your really close to the mom, now is okay. Touch only don't pick up yet. Touch mom also. Don't pick her up either, she'll walk around when she's ready. If your not really close, wait a few days. I have 3 momma cats. Which all had babies.....they mostly like to be alone, a lot nerves. Only YOU touch for first week..Clean bedding will make mom happy. Keep ALL small kids away, or to close. Have fun.....
I am going to assume this is your newborn kitten. If that is the case, holding the newborn kittens for 2 minutes at a time daily helps them with touch conditioning when they get older. As they get older, you increase the holding times. You do touch conditioning on kittens and pups to insure they do not become skiddish of people. Also when you hold them play with everything especially their feet and mouths, as this will help when it is time for check ups from the vet, or when you do their nail trimming. I do not think it is advisable though if the litter of newborn kittens are not yours, as they should have their first immunization first.
Sometimes, you can hold a kitten as soon as it is born. Mind you, your scent will go onto kitten and may cause mother to reject and refuse to feed. Best to let nature takes it's course, when kitten is able to move around, will come to you
My Moon-Pie is on her second litter. When the first ones were born, I was concerned she would be exceptionally protective to the point of attack (she is abandoned & has lived outside) but, apparently she trusts me explicitly because I have handled her babies since day one and had absolutely no problems. For the most part tho, most mama's don't particularly like their babies handled.
About 1 week the most. My cat just had kittens about 3 hrs ago but she lets me come near but I don't want to touch them just yet. When I come near her nesting place she comes over and rubs against my leg and purrs.
Best not to touch them much for the first few days other than for cleaning their bedding.
Don't handle them very much at all (unless necessary), and only pick them up if the mother cat is comfortable with you doing so. If she feels that her kittens are unsafe, she will move them to another place.
You should wait at least until they have their eyes open.. Especially with a child around, kittens are very fragile and are not a toy, so be extra careful and supervise the holding of the kittens.
I would leave them alone for at least a week. Their mom will get upset and hide them if you bother her too much. When they do that, it's not always a move to the safest environment. Make sure you give mom a little extra attention; she just did a wonderful thing and needs a good, "pat on the back" so to speak. Enjoy the kittens.
The cat should be in the supervision of her mother in the first two weeks specially. But if you want them to be cared by you then you can hold them for a little time but not too much in the beginning. In the first 4-8 weeks, you have to give special attention to kittens. Handling and patting is the most important aspect which make them more sociable.
It all depends on the mother cat. My cat had her kittens on June 25 and let me touch them the next morning. First I would try to pet the mother while she is with her kittens. She will let you know if she will allow you to touch them. Once in a while she may not like you touching them even if she let you before.