We often come across pet owners that are reluctant to become cat owners due to their perceived social ability, or lack thereof. At Wags to Wiskers, we hear quite a bit about how cats are so independent and their whereabouts are unknown around the house for hours at a time, that they don’t want to be cuddled, or that they are somewhat antisocial and don’t prefer human company. While this may be true for some cats, pet owners and potential cat owners in southeast Michigan should know that this is not set in stone! All cats will have their own personality traits, and can be influenced, nurtured, and trained to enjoy affection and cuddles from their humans! The Wags team have put together some pointers to help you out when socializing your cat!
5 Tips to Help Socialize your Cat
Be calm, in both your voice and your actions. Speak in a quiet voice and use slow, deliberate actions. Be mindful of the environment that your kitten is being raised in, as changes in this environment can disrupt your cat’s mood and make socialization more difficult.
Get down on your cat’s level and stay low to the ground at first. This will reduce your cat’s perception that you are their towering overlord and let them know that when you’re on their level, you are in a playful mode.
Begin by petting their head and shoulders, avoid the underbelly. Your cat will let you know where they feel comfortable being pet. Don’t push this! They will also let you know when or if they want you to pet them elsewhere.
When you want to pick up your cat, lift them smoothly from under the chest. It’s important to make them feel as secure as possible when doing this, and it’s critical to get it right as early and as often as possible.
Positive reinforcement and treats make for great rewards! Remember to have fun and enjoy building this loving relationship with your cat!
Kittens are most receptive to new experiences when they are 2 to 7 weeks old, making this the ideal window for socialization. Remember to be patient and allow your cat to set the pace and the tone. If they are clearly uncomfortable and agitated, take a break! A few short sessions per day will go a long way, and you don’t want to create the wrong relationship.