Your Guide to Socializing a Kitten

Petting a kitten

Cats who have been actively socialized are less likely to be fearful in unfamiliar situations or uncomfortable with changes in their environment. Kittenhood is the best time to teach a cat to enjoy various sights, sounds, people and other animals. Pairing new experiences with rewards creates confidence in your kitten.

Just like puppies, kittens have a prime socialization period. But while puppies can go to class to learn to be social, kitten socialization classes are still a new phenomenon, and finding one near you may be difficult. This is easily remedied, though. By planning the right experiences for your cat, you can socialize her on your own.

When to Start Socializing

It is important that your kitten has the proper socialization when she is young. The main socialization window for kittens is from 2 to 7 weeks of age, but it can extend up to 14 weeks. During this time, your cat is most receptive to new experiences. Kittens are frequently not brought home until 7 to 8 weeks of age, making it imperative that you choose a breeder that will provide your kitten with a variety of experiences during those early weeks to ensure the right foundation has been laid.

Kittens also need protection from infectious diseases and parasites before they begin socializing with other animals. Kittens receive maternal antibodies, which last for several weeks to a few months of age; after that, they are less protected from diseases. Feline vaccinations are often given in a series that lasts until around 16 weeks, during which time kittens may be exposed to new people but should be sheltered from other cats. Follow your veterinarian’s advice about when it's safe to expose your kitten to other cats.


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