When and how to socialize a puppy cat

All kittens require early socialization to become good pets.

It is advisable for kittens to learn to interact with other cats and pets , as well as people, so that they can enjoy positive interactions.

Socialization also helps them to be confident and secure in their home environments.

If you take the time to socialize your kitten, you will be able to give him “emotional health insurance” that will come in handy throughout his life.

But when and how should I go about socializing a kitten? 

What is socializing cats?

Baby cat socialization is about gaining your cat’s trust and adapting to people and other animals in the home environment. A cat that is not socialized can be shy, suspicious, scared, or aggressive.

In contrast, a well socialized cat is more likely to be loving, trusting, affectionate, and well-behaved. It is very important to socialize your cat if you have small children, to avoid scratches and bites during play, among other things.

Older cats that have not been socialized will require much more time and effort, but it is not impossible to achieve this.

If you want to keep cats, socializing will likely be easier if you adopt a couple of kittens. They will keep each other company, and are less likely to engage in destructive behaviors due to boredom. Many shelters have linked partners available who need to go to the same house.

The  success in socializing your cat will  depend on your personality, your genetics and socialization received before 8 weeks of age .

Cat socialization will not take a long time.  The more handling the better, but even short 15-minute sessions each day will help gain your cat’s confidence and make her feel comfortable in the home.

Habituation and location will also help make your cat a better pet. The habituation is the process of acclimating your cat to stimuli such as sounds, smells and sights. The location accustoms your cat to places such as the environment of your home or office.

In addition to the above, keep in mind that kittens learn by watching their mother and model their behavior based on what they see her do. If the mother cat is friends with a dog, her kittens will accept it as a safe part of their world. But if, on the contrary, the cat gets nervous before a dog, that will be a lesson for the kittens that will be difficult to unlearn.


When to start kitten socialization

As with babies, kittens are not born understanding the world and how to behave. The best time to teach them is during the primary socialization period,  around 2 to 7 weeks of age, this  is when kittens are most open to new experiences and are most likely to learn.

After this age, they become more distrustful of people and new situations and their behavior is less malleable.

Proper socialization teaches a kitten how to “be a cat,” feline good manners, how to communicate with other felines, and who are the friends and foes of his species.

Lessons not learned before 7 to 8 weeks of age can be partially but never fully made up.

When socializing your kitten, it is important to remember that exposure is not the same as socialization . For example, having a 4-year-old pick up and release your kitten could cause the cat to be afraid of children for life. But meeting several small children who are calm and handle the kitten properly can lead a cat to adore children.

If you have a litter of kittens at home, start handling them as soon as possible . The idea that a mother cat can reject her kittens if they are touched by people is not true. The only thing that can happen is that the kittens are moved .

However, mom cat should be okay with petting the kittens to avoid unnecessary stress (if mom seems overly anxious for the first few days, try petting them while she’s out of the room or sleeping).

For newborn cats, it is ideal to gently pet and hold them for a few seconds several times a day . Kittens should be picked up and kept in different positions for short periods each day at 2 weeks of age. As they grow, you should handle them more frequently and for longer periods of time.

Once they are about 5 weeks old, more people should be interacting with them. A variety of people is needed for optimal socialization: young, old; women, men; wearing glasses; wearing a hat; light skin, dark skin; lively, relaxed; etc.


Tips on how you should do socialization 

I offer you some steps to achieve the socialization of your cat:

1. Pet your cat

Petting and touching your kitten is often a vital part of socializing . Caresses are one of the first sensations that newborns feel when their mother licks and cares for them, and caresses remind us of this wonderful and safe experience.

Petting teaches your kitten that contact with people is pleasant, enjoyable, and in no way scary. This helps your kitty associate your scent with feelings of well-being.

There are also physiological benefits. A pleasant stroke causes a reduction in blood pressure and heart rate and can change brain wave activity. This can help your kitty to have a life of calm interaction and good health.

Studies have shown that handling baby cats for five minutes a day for the first three weeks increases a pet’s ability to learn later in life. No matter her age, when you bring your kitten home, those five minutes should be a minimum of time needed for daily petting.

When handling the kitten, be sure to touch its ears, tail, paws, and mouth to make the experience pleasant and routine.

2. Talk to him as if he understands you

Talking to your kitty teaches her to listen and pay attention to your voice. The more you talk to your cat, the better it will learn to understand and react to what you want. That improves your relationship and establishes a good foundation for present and future training.

Talk to your cat as often as you can . While petting him, use a soft voice so that the kitten associates you with affection and security. Make sure your tone reflects the mood of the moment. For example, during playtime, your voice should be cheerful, and when you need to correct the kitten, use a firm, stern tone.

3. Synchronization

Kittens won’t know what’s right and what’s wrong unless you tell them to do so at the right time.  Only when you scold the kitten when he does something wrong, he can associate your anger with the incident.

It’s actually more helpful to try to reinforce what your kitty does well.  Praise the kitten when it uses the litter box correctly. For example, offer a treat when greeting visitors with happy purrs and when playing nice with other pets or people.


If your cat doesn’t socialize

Socialization takes longer with some cats than with others. And remember that the level of socialization of the cat does not have to always respond to our expectations, and that being a more shy cat does not make it a worse cat.

Be understanding and patient.  You should reinforce good behavior and discourage unwanted behavior. Sometimes it will take years to complete the entire process, but in the end you will be rewarded with a housemate who enriches your life in ways you never expected.

Preventing problems with your kitten during socialization

It is important that you provide your kitten with positive experiences in the first weeks in his new home  This is a critical time that will help shape your cat’s personality and behavior throughout its life. For this reason, it is best to avoid as many negative interactions as possible.

For example, try not to raise your voice or yell when you’re mad at your kitty. This can create lifelong fear or anxiety in him that can make socialization difficult.

Make sure to involve your entire family in the socialization process. Introduce the kitten slowly to other pets as well so that it learns to interact with them.

If you adopt a shelter cat, socialization will cost you even more. You can consider adopting two, they will help each other.



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