Your Guide on How to Socialise a Kitten
Your Guide on How to Socialise a Kitten
Once you begin taking your kitten outside to explore, you will quickly find it's not always easy to avoid potentially scary encounters such as meeting other pet's and animals, loud noises and various busy areas such as traffic or crowds. This can be overwhelming for all pets and is especially known to cause fear and anxiety in kitten's, especially when in training mode. Socialising your kitten in a safe and controlled manner over a period of time can help ensure these encounters run much smoother in the future.
What does socialising a kitten mean?
Socialising pets refers to the process of gradually and safely exposing your pet to objects (people, animals, toys) and actions (such as sounds; water, horns, alarms) so they learn each new interaction is safe. This will also prevent pet's from being startled, anxious or aggressive when encountering these events in the future.
Common kitten encounters
For socialisation to work, you first need to consider the future encounters your kitten will have. Start with a list, thinking of the types of areas you would like to explore and the daily scenes your kitten will experience. We have put together an example list of things we consider before taking kittens outside to explore:
How to socialise a kitten checklist
- Transport (cars, buses, trains, bikes)
- Animals (other pet's (dogs), wildlife (birds, sheep, cows)
- Weather (wind, rain, snow)
- People (children, elderly, in uniform)
Introducing your kitten to other animals and new things
Before starting each introduction, it is important to consider how it can be done safely.
Of course, the ideal scenario outside is to start in rural, open areas with plenty of space that aren't too busy. Here you can be sure you will have enough room to keep distance and retreat should you need too!
Where possible, we suggest cross-species introductions (just like same-species introductions) are made in a safe, enclosed, and controlled environment. A great example of this is speaking with a family member or friend who has a calm pet that you can begin training with. Or your local vet practice may be able to help. Ensure a safe distance is kept and gradually introduce both over a period of time with plenty of rewards and praise. The reward and praise are key to create a positive association with the event of meeting.
Keep yourself calm since pet's read our emotions and body language and only move closer if both pets are comfortable and happy, ensuring you keep an eye on body language.
Kitten Body Language
It is important you are able to read how your kitten is feeling and can adjust the interaction accordingly. Remember the aim of socialisation is to only create positive encounters and reduce negative ones so as to build confidence. Understanding the signs of your kitten's body language will ensure you can react should their emotions change thus reducing negative events.
Are their eyes fixed forward and ears flat, with large pupils? This would suggest they are stressed and anxious.
Are their ears and tail perked up with small pupils?
This would suggest they are happy and excited.
Try to also keep a watch on the other animal’s behaviour, having some light understanding on the other species will also help avoid you letting your kitten get too close.
Practice kitten socialisation
The more you can practice meetings in a way and place your kitten is comfortable the more they will grow to trust and understand the event. In this case meeting other animals. You will then find when chance-encounters happen your kitten is much more equipped to better deal with the scenario. Take the example below where we can see them introducing a kitten to a cat.
Repeat & relax!
The more you can repeat this tool in a range of scenarios the calmer you will find your kitten to become when out adventuring.
To aid in the process we recommend our range of natural pet calming remedies, such as our kitten travel anxiety kit.
Don't forget to come back and let us know in the comments how socialisation went for your cat?
The Travfurler Team 🐾