Socializing a cat and kitten means introducing them to the world and making them comfortable not just around pets but also with other human beings. It means introducing the cat to different smells, food, routines, and touch. This process may take time and one needs to be patient as it builds the foundation of the cat’s behavior. Teaching your pets how to socialize not only makes them open to new experiences but also gives you a pet that is happy and content. Let’s make your time with these little creatures fun and exciting. They may teach you a thing or two while you are trying to understand them. Here are a few ways to start your journey:
1. Positive reinforcements
One of the best ways to socialize cats and kittens is through positive reinforcement. Give them treats when they do small tasks like getting into a carrier. Reward them with positive words and actions. Take them out to meet people and other pets and reward them for their good behavior.
2. Throw a party
Throw a party to introduce your little family member to your friends and family. Let them get used to the sounds of people or their presence. Let them interact with kids and people of all ages. Let them get used to the love. They will slowly ease themselves and may stop being timed around new people.
3. Consider their space
Cats and kittens are very quick in marking their territory. Hence when the kitten is young try to block out all their hiding spaces so that they do not hide under the bed or in some corner. If this behavior continues it can stay even after your kitten has grown into a cat. Let them feel like they have control. You can make their carrier comfortable by adding a blanket and a few treats and leaving them open. Give them the option to get out of the career and explore other spots. This can help make their career their safe space.
4. Use food to socialize
Kittens love their food. Try to build a bond with them through feeding. Leave the dry food out all day but when wet food is given try to sit next to them or bring them food so that they build trust and associate food with you. Slowly you’ll see them welcome you. You can also stroke them or play with the kitten but do not let them bite or scratch you. This will keep them on good behavior once they have grown up into cats.
5. Use play to socialize
Playing is another way of creating a bond with your kitten. Try to spend 2-3 hours playing with them. Teach them how to play with toys. Try to slowly hold them or pet them while playing. If they are not comfortable with touch try again and hold them with a towel around them. Let them get comfortable on your lap. These activities will help break the ice and get the cat used to your presence.
6. Talk to them
Even though you may feel cats do not understand words, they are good at picking up expressions or the tone of your voice. Talk to them and be happy when they respond to you. If you are correcting them, have a firm voice. Talk calmly at other times and play with them. Let them feel your warmth physically. Do not leave them alone for long hours at the kitten stage. Even once they become a cat, keep these habits and keep letting them meet new people so that they do not go into their shells.
7. Take them to the vet
Sometimes a cat and a kitten may associate the vet with vaccination or painful experiences. To break this cycle sometimes take them to wait for a regular checkup and let them interact with them. Let them get comfortable with your vet so that you do not face problems in the future.
What happens if you do not socialize with your cat and kitten?
As you know, socializing is of great importance in a cat’s and kitten’s life. Here is what you may face if you do not socialize with them well:
1. Inappropriate reaction
When a pet reacts aggressively to a situation, most of the time it’s induced by fear. They may be under-socialized and not know how to react and their first instinct may be to attack the person or pet as they are scared or defensive.
2. Not wanting to be controlled
A cat and kitten may not be socialized to a different touch and may not be used to being handled. This may make daily chores like clipping nails or bathing even more difficult as they won’t like to be handled.
3. Unusual sounds
They may be sensitive to unusual sounds. If your pet is generally scared or timid, they might panic if they hear thunder or fireworks. They may start running around or bite in case of such incidents. This behavior can only be broken down with socializing.
4. Fear of leaving the house
Cats and kittens are generally home bodies and it is difficult for them to leave the house if they are not taught to be outdoors in the early years. This behavior may even get extended to meeting new people and being in new environments. Hence socialization needs to be done at an early age to remove the fear and make them comfortable in different surroundings.
5. Discomfort around animals and humans
If your cat or kitten has not been exposed to a bunch of people at an early age then they might get defensive and react aggressively. It is best to introduce them to people of all ethnicities and different facial features so that they do not get scared. Even in the case of animals, introduce them to different pets so that a small play session does not turn into a fight.
The above tips will help you get a good start and understand the importance of socializing. It may take your time and patience but trust me it’s all for the long haul. Make sure they are vaccinated at all times before they come in contact with other people or pets. Make sure a cat and a kitten have a safe space to call home where they are comfortable moving around without feeling anxious. Try to create a routine for them where the family is involved so that they do not feel left out.
Now, you are ready to go and socialize your cat for the best experience. The cat may have nine lives but you have only one so make it worthwhile for you and your pet!
Good luck with your journey and a beautiful life with your fuzzy little thing!