5 Tips for Socializing Your New Kitten
We all want to have a cat that interacts well with other people and pets, right? Socialization is the key to achieving this, and the first four to sixteen weeks of a cat’s life are critical for behavioral and social development. It is important to have a plan for socializing your kitten immediately upon bringing them into your home. Let’s talk about some ways to achieve proper socialization for your new kitten.
1. Bringing Your Kitten Home
When your kitten first arrives home with you, remember it can all be a bit overwhelming for her. Start by taking her to a quiet place and show her where her bowls and litter boxes are. Give her lots of love and attention – pet her gently and talk to her in a soft, calming voice. Take the time to reassure your kitten that she is in a safe and loving place.
2. Introducing Your Kitten to Other People
It is important to socialize your kitten with other people as early as possible so that she becomes comfortable around others at an early age. However, make sure that playtimes and meetings are kept short, so your kitten can get plenty of rest.
Playtime with Kids
If you have children, they are naturally going to be overly excited about the arrival of a new kitten. It is your job to teach them how to properly interact with the kitten in a careful and safe manner. It is a good idea to schedule supervised playtime for your kids and the new kitten, so that the kitten becomes comfortable around the kids and you can be there to make sure that the kids are handling her safely.
Interacting with Strangers
It’s a good idea to introduce your kitten to as many people as possible. You want her to be comfortable around strangers, so that she won’t be scared of new people or guests that enter your home. Make sure that when introducing new people to your kitten that they understand the boundaries and don’t scare or overwhelm her with a strong show of affection. If your kitten is properly socialized, she will be less likely to be fearful of strangers as an adult cat.
3. Interaction with Other Pets in the Home
If you know that you are planning to bring a new kitten into your home, make sure that all other pets in your home are healthy and are up to date on their vaccinations.
If you have multiple other pets in your home, it is best to introduce them to your new kitten one at a time. We suggest keeping them separated for the first encounter, by keeping the kitten in a carrier or separating them with a baby gate.
If there is any sign of aggression, separate them immediately and try again at a later time. Acceptance can definitely take some time, so it is important to be patient. Do not leave your new kitten unsupervised with the other pets until you feel confident in their interaction with one another.
4. Schedule Play Dates with Other Pets
Even if you don’t have any other pets of your own, it is still important to socialize your kitten with other pets. To make your kitten more comfortable, ask a friend to bring over their dog or cat so that your kitten can interact with them in their own, safe environment. Follow the same rules as before, keeping them separated at first and slowly giving them more freedom to play together.
5. How to Handle Separation Anxiety
Regardless of how well you socialize your kitten, they can still develop separation anxiety. If your kitten seems to become stressed out by you leaving the house (excessive meowing or soiling the house), it is important to address the issue as soon as possible.
- Limit the amount of time that you leave your kitten alone as much as possible
- Be as casual and nonchalant as possible when leaving the house – don’t make a big production
- Condition your kitten to tolerate short absences by leaving her in a room for short spurts of time and gradually increasing that amount of time as she shows signs of tolerating your absence
When you take the time and devote proper attention to socializing your new kitten, both you and your kitten will reap the benefits in the long run!