Socialising Your Kitten

Although most cats appreciate and value human company, some cats do not have an innate requirement for it, and it is therefore very important that kittens are given adequate and appropriate socialisation with people if they are to become rewarding pets.

Socialising your Kitten
Socialising your Kitten

The most important time in a kitten’s development for learning to interact in a social context with other cats, people and other domestic species (including dogs) is called the socialisation period. It occurs when the kitten is still very young (around 2 to 7 weeks old).

It is possible to enhance your kitten’s socialisation once they come to live with you, often at 2 to 3 months of age. Kittens who have received a good foundation of human interaction at an early age will adapt more quickly to life in a domestic environment.

A good way to socialise kittens is to handle them regularly at a young age. Lifting, touching, and gently restraining them is the best way of preparing them for the sort of contact which owners will want with them as adult cats. When this sort of handling is carried out by a number of different people, kittens have a better chance of accepting human contact rather than just tolerating humans or interacting with a specific individual.

If you have any concerns about your kitten in terms of socialisation, or you have noticed any behavioural problems, such as hiding whenever a stranger appears or showing fear reactions towards you or the environment, do not hesitate to consult your veterinarian. Your vet may refer you to a veterinary behaviourist if necessary. Treatment will be much more effective if started early.


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