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How to socialize your kitten
Have some manners
Everyone loves kittens. They’re sweet looking, mischievous, fuzz balls, who have an affinity for climbing everything in sight (including your leg). They’re playful, curious, and sometimes a little wacky. We all enjoy watching them bounce around the house or curl up on sofas. The very behaviors that make kittens adorable can make them nuisances. Keep in mind that whatever behaviors they learn in the first weeks of life, are there to stay.
Everyone loves coming home to a sweet cuddly kitten that sits quietly on laps. But what about those psychotic cats, you know the ones who try to eat visitors, and destroy all your furniture. How did they get that way? Some of its biological but a good majority of negative behaviors in cats are a result of poor socialization.
What is socialization?
Socialization is basically teaching your cat manners. This must start from an early age, the younger the better. Cats are not social animals by nature. They are standoffish especially toward other cats. Feral cats live solitary lives and come together only to breed. Domesticated cats are the exception. They are kept in the dependent state of a kitten all their lives. In their minds they own you, you live with them, and they expect you to feed them at 6 in the morning. Since we must put up with these furry freeloaders, they should at least be expected to play nice. If you want a well behaved cat you must teach them to play well with others including you. Teaching them things like…
· Getting along with humans, other cats, and even dogs
· Not destroying your sofa
· That your arm is not a scratching post
· It’s not nice to pee on your clothes
· Knocking down antique vases should not be their favorite past- time
How to socialize
The easiest way to socialize your kitten is to play with them. Playing with them a few hours each day will greatly enrich their lives. Playing strengthens their muscles and their bond with humans. Be careful how you play. Wiggling your fingers in front of them will teach them that your hand is something to be bitten and scratched. It’s better to buy them toys. Also holding and petting them is important. They must get used to being handled by humans. This is especially crucial when they visit your veterinarian. Play with your kittens paws. Gently open their mouths (if you can) and touch their ears.
Discouraging negative behaviors
In addition to encouraging good behavior, it’s important to discourage bad behaviors. For example: if your kitten is playing with you too roughly, (biting and scratching) immediately stop playing. Tell them “No”, and give them a toy to play with instead. When they’re playing nicely again, you can tell them “good kitty” or give them a treat.
A little spray bottle can come in handy for those really undesirable behaviors. If your cats constantly biting you, a little spritz should keep him in check. However, avoid spraying in ears and don’t get too carried away.
Learn the difference between normal cat behavior and negative behaviors. For example cats instinctively sharpen their claws. It’s important for muscle development, and nail health. This is great except when the cats shredding your furniture. You can invest in a good scratching post. Or you could staple a scrap piece of carpet to wall as a cheaper alternative. Placing food and water dishes near the designated place will encourage your kitty to actually use it. Sprinkling catnip or their favorite toys nearby can also work.
Socializing your kitten is fairly easy, but it does take some effort. Consult your veterinarian for more information on this topic.