What is socialization?
Socialization is the process of teaching your kitten proper behavior towards other animals and humans. Essentially, socialization is the process of getting the kitten used to being held, how to play, and getting used to the noise and people coming and going in the house.
The best age to begin socialization is before 12 weeks of age, when the kitten is still with its mother and siblings. Kittens that are not leashed before 12 weeks of age may have difficulty socializing and may remain timid for the rest of their lives.
Socialization of kittens is especially important if you have a cat. Kittens typically learn from each other and their mothers how to behave, how to be fearless when playing with their siblings, and what behaviors are harmful and unacceptable when playing. They also learn from a young age how to go to the bathroom together and how to do what their mother teaches them. If you adopt a kitten, it is important that you teach it how to behave properly.
How do you socialize them?
Here are some ways to socialize your kitten to help your new feline friend enjoy being around people and grow into a secure cat:
Socialize your kitten in pairs: socializing your kitten in pairs is one of the best ways to start socializing. Kittens are full of energy and playing with each other helps to burn off excess energy. In addition, as mentioned earlier, kittens can learn a lot from each other. During playtime, you will hear them scold each other if someone bites too hard or is too rough.
PLAYTIME: Another way kittens socialize is by interacting with you on a daily basis. One of the best ways to spend time with kittens is to play. Whether you have one or two kittens (or more if you have kittens), playing with them using feather toys or toys in the shape of fishing poles will make them look forward to being with you. Remember to play with kittens with toys, not with your hands. My rule is “toys are for playing with, hands are for petting”. Otherwise, you may end up with an adult cat that cannot control its chewing habits.
FOOD AND TREATS: Giving your cat food and treats is a great way to get him used to you and other family members. I like to let my cat play with me before meals. This is because it mimics the cat’s natural desire to hunt. Giving your cat food or treats after playing will make him feel like he has successfully hunted and caught his dinner. Make sure everyone in the house takes turns feeding the kitten so it can interact with everyone in the house.
FRIENDS AND FAMILY: Allow friends and family to come over to the house so that the kitten can get used to the comings and goings of strangers. Otherwise, when the kitten grows into an adult cat, it may become antisocial and fearful of strangers. Allow visitors to feed, pet and play with the kitten so it knows it has nothing to fear.
Of course, there are other things a cat needs to feel safe in its new home:
Provide your cat with plenty of toys to play with.
Place the litter box in a quiet, convenient place with at least two entrances and exits so your cat doesn’t feel crowded. (It’s best to have more litter boxes than cats).
A tall cat tree or climbing frame.
A cozy nook in which kittens can nap.
It goes without saying that what kittens need most is your time and attention so they can feel secure. Take time out of your day to play with your kitten and cuddle on the couch. In this way, your kitten will grow into a happy, well-socialized and well-adjusted cat.
Socializing the Stars
There are many reasons to socialize your kitten. Here are some of them:
Socializing kittens can help them
✤ Build a trusting relationship with their owners.
✤ Build confidence and a sense of security.
Learn the right (and wrong) way to play.
✤ Get used to the pace of life in the house and learn to relax.
Reduce fear and panic about noise.
Become less resentful of strangers in the home (including visitors).
Becoming more curious.
By Rita Reimers , April 13, 2021