How to Socialize Your Kitten? – 7 Tips to Succeed

Translated by Nick R

Many people believe that cats are very distrustful and not very nice to people or other animals. But this depends on their education and the different situations they are exposed to since they are babies.

If you want your cat to be more sociable and friendly, keep reading because I’ll explain everything you need to know to achieve it.

Why is it important to socialize your cat? 

First of all, socializing your cat is very important to avoid unpleasant moments. When we talk about socializing, we mean getting your pet to know how to relate to other animals, people, and the environment.

For example, an unsocialized cat might be aggressive with other animals or people, even if they belong to the family. Any situation could make him react inappropriately, hurting others or himself.

Also, an unsocialized cat can be very shy and frightened in different situations, so he would not be able to fully enjoy with his family.

And of course, it’s far more difficult to teach basic tricks or certain habits to cats that are not properly socialized, making it difficult to live as a family. They may damage furniture or other objects in the house, or they may not relieve themselves where they are supposed to.  

What is the best age to socialize your cat? 

The ideal age to socialize your cat is from the first months of life (especially between 3 and 9 weeks of age), which is the time when they are getting to know the world.

They will be more open to new situations without being afraid of them, and their experiences at this age will influence your feline’s personality in the future.

It’s also fundamental not to wean them too early since that period together with their mother and siblings teaches them how to behave with other kittens and to establish limits at playtime.

On the other hand, a cat that is older and probably has behavioral problems due to a lack of socialization from an early age can be taught how to behave. However, this may take longer as you’ll try to get your feline to stop the behaviors he’s been doing all his life.

Tips for socializing your cat 

To properly socialize your pet you can take into account the following tips:

1. Patience 

You have to understand that not all cats are alike, so maybe socializing yours can be easy or difficult, either way, you need to be patient and not get stressed if you don’t immediately get what you wanted to teach him.

2. Choose a place to train 

You should choose a quiet place where your feline will feel confident. This way he will be more relaxed and you will be able to get his attention more easily.

On the other hand, if you haven’t had your cat since he was little and he is already an adult cat that you may have adopted, make sure you have a place where he can take refuge while he adapts to the family and his new environment.

3. Don’t force it 

Don’t force your cat to do things he doesn’t want to do, and definitely don’t pet him or put him in uncomfortable situations if this causes him stress or anxiety.

Ideally, you should go little by little and understand your pet’s limits, that is, at first you can gently caress him and if you see that he shies away from contact, leave him alone; he’ll approach you by himself when he realizes that you are trustworthy.  

4. Let the cat approach 

Considering the previous step, if you see that your cat becomes aggressive or too fearful of contact, don’t follow him. Let him come to you for petting the first few times.

You can sit close to him and wait, even if you see him playing on the carpet you can sit on the floor next to him, keeping an adequate distance so he doesn’t feel threatened.

5. Positive reinforcement 

Use his favorite snacks or toys to help him associate what you are teaching him with something positive. For example, if you want to start gaining his trust, you can give him a treat every time he lets you pet him or hold him.

Likewise, if you want him to adapt to strangers or other animals, every time you introduce him, let the person who is petting him give him a snack, and if it is another animal, sit close to your feline to give him confidence and play with his favorite toys, making sure that none of them gets hurt.

6. Routines 

Routine is your ally. Apart from providing tranquility and security to your feline, it helps you to be constant with the attention you should offer to your pet.

Not only you must be clear about what time you should feed him, but also the play and training schedule. This will create a stronger bond with your pet since you offer him stability and you’ll get to know each other better.

7. Control the time 

In the beginning, your pet will probably not be enthusiastic about being in different situations or dealing with unfamiliar people or animals, so observe your cat’s attitude very well and determine how much socialization time he can stand without getting stressed.

You can go from 5 minutes a day and increase as your cat progresses.

8. Cat carrier 

Finally, on many occasions, you’ll have to go out with your cat or take it somewhere, and you’ll have to use the carrier, since walking them on a leash as you do with a dog is not an option for all cats.

So teach them from the beginning that a carrier is a safe place so that when you need to take them with you they don’t feel anxious or fearful.