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A Guide to Socialising Your New Cat

A Guide to Socialising Your New Cat
Cats
,
Behaviour
Share this article
A Guide to Socialising Your New Cat
A Guide to Socialising Your New Cat
Cats
,
Behaviour
A Guide to Socialising Your New Cat
Share this article
A Guide to Socialising Your New Cat
While most people are familiar with the importance of properly socialising a dog, less thought is often given to cats. However, if you want your feline friend to be well-adjusted then you should make sure your cat is set up for success.

Socialisation and habituation

Socialisation is the name for the process of adjusting to the fellow species that you live with and meet. So, for a cat in a domestic environment, this would include humans, other cats and perhaps dogs too. It also includes preparing the cat in advance for any changes that might occur, like the introduction of male visitors to a female-only household.

Habituation is the term for becoming accustomed to background noises or environmental stimuli, for example, vacuum cleaners, televisions, or tumble dryers. This involves repeatedly exposing kittens to these things in a gentle and non-threatening manner. Kittens that are happy with these domestic appliances will just ignore them in the future. This is important as you don’t want your cat getting fearful or acting aggressively any time you want to do some vacuuming!

Hopefully, you can see why socialisation and habituation would be just as important for cats as it is for dogs.
 

The right breeder or rehoming centre is important

Most of your kitten’s habituation and socialisation should have occurred before you even brought them home. A good breeder or rescue centre will ensure that young kittens are exposed to a variety of sounds, smells and sights.

Kittens are most adaptable between a window of 2 and 7 weeks of age (known as the sensitive period) so this is the ideal time to get them accustomed to environmental stimuli. During this period any positive (or negative) experiences are most likely to have a long-term impact. This sensitive period closes earlier than it does for puppies, meaning breeders and rehoming centres carry most of the responsibility for this process.

However, you can continue to reinforce this early socialisation.

What sort of things should I include in my socialisation training?

You should concentrate on providing positive interactions with a variety of people. This should future-proof your kitten to any potential visitors to your home. So, allow them to interact with different sexes, races, and ages, as well as people with facial hair and people wearing glasses or hats. Any interactions should be gentle and positive, using treats and praise.

Animals should be included in your training too, especially if your kitten will be living with another cat or a dog. Interactions should be gradual and supervised, with the opportunity for them to escape the situation if they need to.

In what ways can I make sure socialisation goes well?

You should always follow your cat’s lead. If they start acting frightened or stressed, then leave what you are doing and try again at a different time.

Try and make sure that any interactions are started gradually and gently, allowing the kitten to approach the situation in their own time. Visitors should speak gently and softly, and ideally sit low down with some treats.

When socialising cats with other pets it is important to keep them safe. This may mean having a physical barrier in between them to begin with, and/or having dogs on a lead to ensure you are in control of the situation. Cats will feel less stressed if they have an escape route, so make sure they never feel trapped.

You can try and set your cat up for success by using calming pheromones in their environment to reduce stress while they are getting used to their new home.

Also, remember when choosing your pet in the first place, they will be much more likely to be friendly and well-socialised if you purchase them from a reputable breeder. A good breeder will be aware of the key window of socialisation and will only choose to breed from cats with good temperaments to increase the chances of the kitten being the same.

List of important things that kittens should be socialised for

The following are all things that you may need to introduce your cat to –

  • Different people (sexes, races, ages, and clothing)
  • Other animals
  • Domestic appliances
  • Grooming equipment
  • A harness and lead if you plan on walking your cat
  • Examinations – being used to going on a table and being handled as if they were at the vet
  • Sounds like fireworks, thunder, and traffic – consider sound desensitisation 
  • Practice opening their mouth for teeth brushing or administration of medications

Summary

Socialisation and habituation are just as important for kittens as they are for dogs. While most of this should have occurred at the breeder or rescue centre, you can continue with training by making sure any first experiences in your home are positive, calm ones.

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While most people are familiar with the importance of properly socialising a dog, less thought is often given to cats. However, if you want your feline friend to be well-adjusted then you should make sure your cat is set up for success.

Socialisation and habituation

Socialisation is the name for the process of adjusting to the fellow species that you live with and meet. So, for a cat in a domestic environment, this would include humans, other cats and perhaps dogs too. It also includes preparing the cat in advance for any changes that might occur, like the introduction of male visitors to a female-only household.

Habituation is the term for becoming accustomed to background noises or environmental stimuli, for example, vacuum cleaners, televisions, or tumble dryers. This involves repeatedly exposing kittens to these things in a gentle and non-threatening manner. Kittens that are happy with these domestic appliances will just ignore them in the future. This is important as you don’t want your cat getting fearful or acting aggressively any time you want to do some vacuuming!

Hopefully, you can see why socialisation and habituation would be just as important for cats as it is for dogs.
 

The right breeder or rehoming centre is important

Most of your kitten’s habituation and socialisation should have occurred before you even brought them home. A good breeder or rescue centre will ensure that young kittens are exposed to a variety of sounds, smells and sights.

Kittens are most adaptable between a window of 2 and 7 weeks of age (known as the sensitive period) so this is the ideal time to get them accustomed to environmental stimuli. During this period any positive (or negative) experiences are most likely to have a long-term impact. This sensitive period closes earlier than it does for puppies, meaning breeders and rehoming centres carry most of the responsibility for this process.

However, you can continue to reinforce this early socialisation.

What sort of things should I include in my socialisation training?

You should concentrate on providing positive interactions with a variety of people. This should future-proof your kitten to any potential visitors to your home. So, allow them to interact with different sexes, races, and ages, as well as people with facial hair and people wearing glasses or hats. Any interactions should be gentle and positive, using treats and praise.

Animals should be included in your training too, especially if your kitten will be living with another cat or a dog. Interactions should be gradual and supervised, with the opportunity for them to escape the situation if they need to.

In what ways can I make sure socialisation goes well?

You should always follow your cat’s lead. If they start acting frightened or stressed, then leave what you are doing and try again at a different time.

Try and make sure that any interactions are started gradually and gently, allowing the kitten to approach the situation in their own time. Visitors should speak gently and softly, and ideally sit low down with some treats.

When socialising cats with other pets it is important to keep them safe. This may mean having a physical barrier in between them to begin with, and/or having dogs on a lead to ensure you are in control of the situation. Cats will feel less stressed if they have an escape route, so make sure they never feel trapped.

You can try and set your cat up for success by using calming pheromones in their environment to reduce stress while they are getting used to their new home.

Also, remember when choosing your pet in the first place, they will be much more likely to be friendly and well-socialised if you purchase them from a reputable breeder. A good breeder will be aware of the key window of socialisation and will only choose to breed from cats with good temperaments to increase the chances of the kitten being the same.

List of important things that kittens should be socialised for

The following are all things that you may need to introduce your cat to –

  • Different people (sexes, races, ages, and clothing)
  • Other animals
  • Domestic appliances
  • Grooming equipment
  • A harness and lead if you plan on walking your cat
  • Examinations – being used to going on a table and being handled as if they were at the vet
  • Sounds like fireworks, thunder, and traffic – consider sound desensitisation 
  • Practice opening their mouth for teeth brushing or administration of medications

Summary

Socialisation and habituation are just as important for kittens as they are for dogs. While most of this should have occurred at the breeder or rescue centre, you can continue with training by making sure any first experiences in your home are positive, calm ones.

Keep Reading
Keep Reading
Keep Reading
Subscribe
Always be up to date!
Receive a digest of the latest events and offers for you and your pet every month.
While most people are familiar with the importance of properly socialising a dog, less thought is often given to cats. However, if you want your feline friend to be well-adjusted then you should make sure your cat is set up for success.

Socialisation and habituation

Socialisation is the name for the process of adjusting to the fellow species that you live with and meet. So, for a cat in a domestic environment, this would include humans, other cats and perhaps dogs too. It also includes preparing the cat in advance for any changes that might occur, like the introduction of male visitors to a female-only household.

Habituation is the term for becoming accustomed to background noises or environmental stimuli, for example, vacuum cleaners, televisions, or tumble dryers. This involves repeatedly exposing kittens to these things in a gentle and non-threatening manner. Kittens that are happy with these domestic appliances will just ignore them in the future. This is important as you don’t want your cat getting fearful or acting aggressively any time you want to do some vacuuming!

Hopefully, you can see why socialisation and habituation would be just as important for cats as it is for dogs.
 

The right breeder or rehoming centre is important

Most of your kitten’s habituation and socialisation should have occurred before you even brought them home. A good breeder or rescue centre will ensure that young kittens are exposed to a variety of sounds, smells and sights.

Kittens are most adaptable between a window of 2 and 7 weeks of age (known as the sensitive period) so this is the ideal time to get them accustomed to environmental stimuli. During this period any positive (or negative) experiences are most likely to have a long-term impact. This sensitive period closes earlier than it does for puppies, meaning breeders and rehoming centres carry most of the responsibility for this process.

However, you can continue to reinforce this early socialisation.

What sort of things should I include in my socialisation training?

You should concentrate on providing positive interactions with a variety of people. This should future-proof your kitten to any potential visitors to your home. So, allow them to interact with different sexes, races, and ages, as well as people with facial hair and people wearing glasses or hats. Any interactions should be gentle and positive, using treats and praise.

Animals should be included in your training too, especially if your kitten will be living with another cat or a dog. Interactions should be gradual and supervised, with the opportunity for them to escape the situation if they need to.

In what ways can I make sure socialisation goes well?

You should always follow your cat’s lead. If they start acting frightened or stressed, then leave what you are doing and try again at a different time.

Try and make sure that any interactions are started gradually and gently, allowing the kitten to approach the situation in their own time. Visitors should speak gently and softly, and ideally sit low down with some treats.

When socialising cats with other pets it is important to keep them safe. This may mean having a physical barrier in between them to begin with, and/or having dogs on a lead to ensure you are in control of the situation. Cats will feel less stressed if they have an escape route, so make sure they never feel trapped.

You can try and set your cat up for success by using calming pheromones in their environment to reduce stress while they are getting used to their new home.

Also, remember when choosing your pet in the first place, they will be much more likely to be friendly and well-socialised if you purchase them from a reputable breeder. A good breeder will be aware of the key window of socialisation and will only choose to breed from cats with good temperaments to increase the chances of the kitten being the same.

List of important things that kittens should be socialised for

The following are all things that you may need to introduce your cat to –

  • Different people (sexes, races, ages, and clothing)
  • Other animals
  • Domestic appliances
  • Grooming equipment
  • A harness and lead if you plan on walking your cat
  • Examinations – being used to going on a table and being handled as if they were at the vet
  • Sounds like fireworks, thunder, and traffic – consider sound desensitisation 
  • Practice opening their mouth for teeth brushing or administration of medications

Summary

Socialisation and habituation are just as important for kittens as they are for dogs. While most of this should have occurred at the breeder or rescue centre, you can continue with training by making sure any first experiences in your home are positive, calm ones.

Keep Reading
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Receive a digest of the latest events and offers for you and your pet every month.
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