How to Help Your Kitten Socialize With New People

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Cats that are actively socialized tend to be less afraid in unfamiliar situations or unpleasant changes in the environment. Kittenhood is the perfect time to teach your cat to enjoy the various sights and sounds, other people and animals. If you pair the new experiences with rewards, it will boost your kitten’s confidence.Just like puppies do, kittens also have a prime period for socialization. But while puppies have socialization classes, kitten socialization is still a relatively new phenomenon. But if you plan the right experiences, you can help her socialize on your own.

When to start?

Your kitten needs proper socialization when he is young. The main window is from 2 weeks to 7 weeks of age, but in some cases, it can go up to 14 weeks. It is around this time that your cat will be most receptive to new experiences. Moreover, kittens are not usually brought home till they are at least 7 weeks of age, which makes it imperative for you to select a breeder who will provide your cat with plenty of experiences during the early weeks.Kittens also need to be protected from parasites and infectious diseases before they begin socializing. Kittens get antibodies from their mothers, which last for a few months. After that, they are more vulnerable to diseases. Feline vaccinations are given in a series and last till they are 16 weeks old. It is around this time that they might be exposed to new people, but you must take care to shelter them from other cats. Follow your vet’s advice about when it is safe for you to expose your kitten to his feline compatriots.

Positive exposure

Make sure that your kitten is accustomed to being handled by a wide variety of people and being touched in different places, like the paws, ears, belly and mouth. You must also offer your kitten a wide variety of opportunities to explore and interact with the world around them. If you combine different situations with rewards and positive reinforcement, you are increasing the chances of your kitten growing into a confident cat.

Create a schedule

Make yourself a list of things that your kitten is likely to experience during his lifetime. Use the list to come up with a schedule. Here are a few suggestions for situations that you must expose your cat to:

Environment
  • Car ride
  • Crate
  • Veterinary office (including exam table, scale, restraint and handling)
  • House situations (cleaning, suing different tools, music, working)
  • Outside (on a harness)
  • Groomers
Animals
  • Other kittens and cats (all vaccinated and well-socialized)
  • Dogs
  • Birds
  • Farm animals
Situations
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