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Dr.Tail

How to Socialize My Cat, Pt. 2

Pet parents should socialize their cats in different ways than they do their dogs.
Photo by Humberto Arellano on Unsplash

When you have a pet, you face numerous challenges in terms of healthcare or grooming. But often, the part for which you encounter the most trouble is behavior. In this regard, socializing is an important process for your pet to go through, as many pet experts attribute behavioral disorders to a lack of socializing. When it comes to socializing, there are significant differences between dogs and cats. We learned about dogs last week. This week, we'll be learning about cats.


The method of socialization depends on the cat’s age, too.

It’s ideal for cats to begin socialization between 3 and 9 weeks of age. This period is called the “sensitive period.” Cats are especially known to be more sensitive than dogs. Therefore, it’s best for them to form connections when they are still kittens. Socialization is not impossible beyond this stage, but it takes more time and effort.


Kittens: More delicate compared to dogs

▪︎ Take your chance when kittens are still fearless: You should pet and handle your kittens for about 40 minutes a day for calming and relaxation. Along with the former, a shortcut to socialization is creating an environment that allows your kitten to engage with various surrounding factors.

▪︎ Kittens value their private space: Just like a teenager in adolescence, kittens need their own space that ensures privacy. Therefore, try to keep your distance after handling your kitten.

▪︎ Every kitten is unique: Your kitten might be more sensitive compared to others. Try to build bonds by rewarding them when they express a desire to be touched. Do not be disappointed because your kitten behaves differently than your friends’ pets.


Adult cats: Respecting their privacy

According to Alley cat, cats have a Touch Barrier and a Comfort Zone. When cats naturally approach humans, it indicates that they have a low touch barrier and are well socialized. The opposite indicates otherwise. It’s important to figure out what level of touch barrier your cat has.

Comfort zones are private spaces for cats as mentioned in the kitten section above. If you did not provide this space for your cat when it was a kitten, your cat may have secretly done so on its own. This space could be indoors or outdoors. Along with these two factors, you need to figure out your cat’s personality traits and develop a socialization plan accordingly.


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References

  • https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/animal-health-and-welfare/socialization-dogs-and-cats#:~:text=Socialization is the process of,weeks of age for kittens.
  • https://www.animalhumanesociety.org/behavior/socializing-your-dog
  • https://www.thesprucepets.com/how-to-make-a-cat-friendly-55401
  • https://www.alleycat.org/resources/cat-socialization-continuum-guide/
  • CareBehavior Disorder