Settling Your Kitten Into Family Life

There are many aspects of feline behaviour which make cats ideally suited to life in the modern world, with owners being busy and working long hours. The cat’s reputation as an independent creature is well deserved and for many owners this characteristic is often appealing. Although some cats are happy to cope with periods of separation from their owners and will happily amuse themselves when human company is not available, cats are actually a social species and enjoy company. Most cats also respond well to positive interaction with their owners when it is available. The cat offers affection and companionship whilst retaining its right to live its own life and respecting the independence of its owner.

Settling Your Kitten Into Family Life
Settling Your Kitten Into Family Life

In order to maximise your role as a good owner, it is important to look at life from a feline perspective, understand their behaviour and appreciate how their different perception of the world needs to influence the way we care for them. Their enhanced sense of hearing, smell and touch, coupled with their innate desire to hunt, makes them a unique species with very specific needs. Note: not all cats will hunt and most learn their skills from their mother so they tend to specialise in what they hunt.

The importance of territory
Cats are territorial creatures and in order to be content in life they need to be secure within their home and feel comfortable and at ease within their wider territory. The centre of the cat’s territory (often termed its core territory) is where the cat will engage in feeding, playing and sleeping activities. This part of their territory should be very secure and free from other unknown cats. It can even be the case that different cats within the same household will not share their core territory, in which case it may be important to  provide distinct areas where each individual can feel safe and secure. Unless they are litter-mates or young kittens when introduced into the household, many cats will share the territory available much as human flat mates do (e.g. separate resting areas) rather than as a family where resources are more readily shared.

Cats live in a three-dimensional world and one very useful way of increasing the space that is available to them is to offer high-up resting places. Being high up helps minimise stress for the cat. Right from the very first day you should give your kitten a secure core territory and allow them time to rest undisturbed by the children, the dog or any other members of the household. Successfully providing a secure and appropriate territory is a critical part of preventing behavioural issues.


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