Kittens, unlike dogs, do not make friends with humans easily. Especially kittens who have not been exposed to human contact after birth can become feral and shy over time. They may develop this behavior as they grow up and refrain from being adopted as a pet while entering a new home. Thus, it is imperative to socialize with such kittens to make them feel loved and safe while being around humans. But how do you socialize with older kittens? How do you make your new companions feel comfortable at home? Spending time with these cute fur balls is fun, but the fun should come from both ways. So, here we pen down a few ways in which you can socialize older kittens:
Older kittens may feel scared of making friends with humans, so do not rush. Thus, cat parents need to make the environment soothing and calming for their kitties. Therefore, you have to be very cautious while you are around them as they tend to read the body language and voice tone of their humans. A calm and gentle behavior lets the cat believe that they are safe while being around you, and slowly and steadily, they may start developing a feeling of ease and make friends with you soon.
Limit their space
If you have kittens who do not socialize, try confining them to small rooms instead of huge spaces. Big-sized rooms can be overwhelming for cats, whereas small-sized rooms make them feel safe and make it easier for them to get used to the atmosphere. Small spaces can aid in getting the cats acclimated to the environment at a quick pace and also makes them feel safe and secure. Also, confined spaces will ensure that your kittens do not have many places to hide when you try socializing with them.
Play with them every day
Socializing with cats is not a one-day story. It should be a continuous process, and thus you should start spending time with your kittens on a daily basis for at least one to two hours each day. However, you can break down the time span into small chunks as per your availability but make sure that you devote time to your kittens so they can learn to socialize quickly. Try holding them close to your body so that they can feel your warmth, feed them, and consider playing with them using toys to help them associate with fun time.
Treats are one of the best ways to lure your little kitties. Just like you train dogs with treats, cats can be trained similarly to trigger behavior modification. For this, you can start with buying some favorite treat of your kitties and keeping it in a bag nearby the door. Next, whenever someone visits your house, ask them to treat your cats with their favorite cat snacks. This way, when your kitties realize that they will be served their favorite food whenever someone comes, they will start eagerly waiting for humans to pay a visit and learn to socialize with them rather than running away and hiding.
Allow them to reach high spots
A nervous cat is always in search of spots that are at a height so that it can look down at things from above and explore the situation. They interact only when they feel comfortable, which can be quite a slow process. Providing them with high spots can prevent them from hiding and allow them to explore the space and get used to the lights, sound, surfaces, etc., without withdrawing themselves.
Call for occasional gatherings
Do you have a friend who loves cats just like the way you do? It’s time to give them an invitation. Yes, you have heard that right; calling out for friends with the same mindset and liking for carts can also aid in triggering socialization behavior in cats. But before you invite them, talk it out with your friend about the motive as they can come up with some good suggestions, especially if they are cat owners too.
Allow them to explore
The aim of socialization is to familiarize your kitties with different environment types. For this to happen, you should allow them to become independent to explore every nook and corner. The more they investigate, the braver they become. So, let them sniff different objects, allow them to walk on carpets and tiles, and expose them to grass and dirt. Try doing such basic things, and soon your curious cat will become comfortable being around humans.
Introduce your kittens to kids and other animals
Besides exposing your kittens to different surfaces to explore, also introduce them to your friends, kids, and other animals. Once these furry little creatures get comfortable in being lifted and held up by humans, start inviting your friends more often for some playtime fun. This way, your cats will slowly adapt to the new faces and become more social, but ensure that you always monitor their safety when others are around.
Kitten socialization window
Adaptability to socialization
|0-5 weeks||Dependent kittens||Such kittens are dependent on their moms for nursing||If you get a chance to socialize with kittens of this age band, the level of socialization greatly increases
|5-12 weeks||Transitional kittens||Kittens of this age slowly learn to discover their source of food and are exposed to new experiences and relations.||This phase in the life of kittens is a prime time to get them to socialize with human beings. Such cats are in the learning phase and whatever they learn at this age continues for a lifetime.
|Above 12 weeks||Independent kittens||Such cats reach an adolescence age and are less dependent on anyone. They become less acceptable, less adaptable, and more independent.||Forcing cats of this age into socialization can be stressful as they tend to escape unfamiliar situations. They may also from refrain entering a new home.|
These were a few awesome tips that will help you socialize with older kittens. But this is not all. Once your kittens start socializing and become friends with you and your family members, don’t stop right away. Socializing is a continuous process, and it doesn’t end when your kitties start growing up as friendly cats. Continue having a jolly good time with your cats with the same enthusiasm and urge so that they can have a positive experience throughout their lifetime.