Cats and Socialization

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Cats and Socialization

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1389212_15270706web

Cats start to socialize very early. The period between two and seven weeks of age is very important for their socialization. In order to develop more confidence, good and friendly relationship with people and the other cats, and ability to explore new environment, it is necessary to make the kitten accustomed to a human contact, to introduce different people and other pets, and to expose the little kitten to all the sounds and sights that it will encounter later in life. In this age, when the young kitten feels completely safe in its litter, all that come through this secure environment, the kitten perceives as normal and safe. After this phase of openness, the young kitten enters into the other phase, when it becomes more suspicious of the things it has not yet encountered. The article “How to Socialize Your Cat” offers a few tips that can help the kitten to socialize well.

Cats and Socialization

Handle Your Cat

Cats that have not been properly socialized can be suspicious and fearful. They might communicate this fear by biting and scratching. The key to quelling this fear is to acclimate your cat to handling so that she knows that nothing bad will happen when she’s in your arms.
Start slowly. Pet the cat in areas where she enjoys being petted – like the top of the head. Then, pick her up, stroke her feet with your fingertips, move on to the belly, the tail and the back. As you touch her, speak to her softly in a calm, low voice. If she becomes agitated, end the session and leave her alone.
If your cat engages in rough play during the session, tell her a firm “NO!” and put her down.
After a “touching” session, give her a treat. Continue to do this several times a day, extending the length of the sessions as your cat grows comfortable with you.
Extend the sessions to include handling of the feet and toes, including extending the nails. Open her mouth, and run your fingers across the gums. Stroke her ears. These exercises will help her win a “Good Kitty” award later when she is being groomed, examined by the vet, having her teeth brushed, or having her claws trimmed.
Screaming at your cat or hurting her will only increase her fear and distrust. Always approach and handle her calmly, and speak in a low soothing voice.

Play with Your Cat

Cats are predators by nature, and instinctively need to hunt and kill, even if only with a catnip mouse. Learn what your cat’s favorite type of toy is, and schedule playtimes several times daily. This can reduce the amount of misdirected predatory behavior (ankle attacks, etc.) in which your cat engages, and will help the two of you form a close bond.
As with the touching sessions, you should not reinforce bad behavior. If she attacks you during play, tell her “No!” and end the playtime.

Introduce Your Cat to Strangers

Be sure that the cat has your trust before you introduce her to strangers. Before you let other people handle your cat, make sure they know to keep their voices low and calm, at least until the cat is comfortable with them.
Let your cat come to them, and don’t force interaction. It may take a couple of visits before your cat is comfortable with people she doesn’t know.

In case that the cat did not connect well with humans during the period of socialization this cat needs some type of socialization program, which will be regularly applied. The most convenient way for the cat is to start socializing gradually, which means that it needs time to adapt to the owner’s presence little by little. It is, also, important to provide the cat with the places where it can hide in order to feel safe. Patience and time are necessary, because any pressure will not force the cat to leave its secure place. The cat gets up courage only in secure surroundings, without any pressure. The patience and love always go together, thus the more love the cat feels, the more trustful and open it becomes.

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