What your kitten experiences in their first few months will influence the rest of their life. In fact, their early experiences shape their future character. Cats that are under socialised may become shy and fearful. In contrast, kittens that have been well socialised generally grow into happy, conﬁdent adults.
Positive socialisation practices are critical for your kitten
What your kitten experiences in their first few months will influence the rest of their life. In fact, their early experiences shape their future character. Cats that have been well socialised generally grow into happy, conﬁdent adults.
Socialising your kitten involves introducing them to a whole range of new experiences including meeting different types of people, other animals, places, smells and noises.
Be sure to present socialisation experiences in a gentle way that helps your kitten become accustomed to them. Reward your kitten for calm behaviour and move only at a pace your kitten can handle. If your kitten seems nervous or fearful, that's your cue to slow things down. The aim is for new experiences to be presented in a positive way so that your kitten can develop into a relaxed, confident cat.
Remember that it's still important that socialisation continues throughout your cat's life.
Here are some typical situations in which kittens should be socialised:
- Drive in the car
- Trips to the vet. Have your kitten weighed, handled and restrained for a health check
- Using a cat carrier
- At home, exposure to different floor surfaces, steps, tools, cleaning, working, music, pram
- Outside (while on a harness) exposure to bicycles, gardening
- Other cats and kittens (all well-socialised and fully vaccinated)
- Dogs (only cat-friendly ones)
- Farm animals
- Birds (in a manner where the bird is safely able to get away)
- Any other animal they may come in contact with during their lifetime
- Visitors in the home,
- Being groomed
- Having a picture taken
- Being held (in a manner where they are never afraid and never dropped)
- Tooth brushing
- Nails clipped
- Playing with a variety of toys
- People wearing glasses, hats
- People with beards
- Loud and timid people
By providing your kitten with a wide range of positive socialisation experiences, you'll help them develop into a sociable and well-adjusted cat.