Socializing Your Cat
Whether you’re bringing a cat or a kitten home, one of the first considerations you’ll want to make is for its socialization. Socializing your cat has many benefits, among them allowing you to groom and medicate them, allowing you to travel with them easily, and making it easy to introduce them to new people and animals.
The first thing to know about socialization is that it starts in the cattery. Kittens learn basic social skills from their mother and litter mates, and it’s essential that they have the right amount of time to learn from them. Be wary of any breeder who is willing to let go of cats before 12 weeks, as that is considered the appropriate age to remove them from the care of their mother.
Socialization in your home will be a simple process, but one that will require time and patience on your part. First, you’ll want to make sure you interact with your cat frequently. Pet, hold and talk to your cat. Play with your cat as frequently as time allows, preferably for an hour or two daily, especially if it is a young animal. Provide your cat with plenty of toys and space to play. Expensive toys aren’t necessary, but cat trees and scratching posts can be useful tools to keep your pet occupied.
If your cat doesn't want to be held, petted or played with, take it slowly and do what your cat allows. Don’t force your cat to be held or touched, but don’t ignore your cat, either. With time and repeated effort on your part, your cat will get used to the attention. If your cat reacts by biting or scratching, firmly tell it no, give it a toy and leave it alone for a while. Don’t forget to praise your cat when it reacts positively to your efforts!
The personality of your cat will play a big part in the effort, but don’t give up because your cat is resistant – keep at it! The benefits of an easygoing cat and the bond you will form with your pet are more than worth the effort!