Dec 17 2016

Cat Charisma – Tips for Feline Socialization

Fitz 1

This month we are focusing on kitten socialization and how to raise a well-adjusted cat. Almost everyone who owns a cat knows that felines like to do things their own way and that you can’t force a cat to do much of anything. However, by encouraging your cat to be adventurous, exposing them to a variety of situations, and rewarding them for learning tasks that will benefit them (and you) down the line, you may uncover a whole new side of your cat’s personality!

fitz2Fitz is a very friendly almost six-month old kitten. He is so relaxed during his veterinary visits that he runs up to people for attention and purrs during his examination. He loves the taste of toothpaste, will playfully chase a wadded piece of paper, and scampers readily into his carrier when it is time to go.So, what has his owner done differently to make Fritz a willing traveler and enjoy meeting new people? She utilized positive reinforcements to help Fitz adjust to being handled and enjoy life. In addition, because he has a weekly play-date with a sibling, he has associated his carrier with fun rather than punishment.

 

The whole Hawthorne Hills Veterinary Team is committed to being Cat Friendly and working to keep cats healthy for a lifetime. Here are a number of ways you can help your cat of any age become more social and relaxed:

Create routines

Cats are creatures of habit. Having a predictable household helps them feel secure. They want to know when they are going to be fed, when you are coming home, and where their favorite resting spot is. They crave stability with other pets and people in the home.

Find what motivates your cat

Whether it is food, a feather toy, a good brushing, or some time on your lap, positive rewards can be used to strengthen the behaviors you want.

fitz4Engage your cat in regular play time that gets them moving

Left on their own, kittens, just like puppies, may create their own chaos: climbing on your drapes, prowling the counters, knocking items off the shelves, and pouncing on your feet, among other naughty behaviors. Create games to replicate behaviors cats would normally do in the wild – chasing, pouncing, and climbing. This gets their metabolism going, keeps them fit, and gives them a positive outlet for their energy. Being an athlete can be fun!

Make learning fun so they accept things you’ll need to do to keep them healthy

Teaching your kitten or cat to enjoy travelling in their carrier, getting their nails trimmed, having their teeth brushed, and combing their fur all takes practice. Once they learn these basic techniques, it can be simple to provide daily home care. If your cat enjoys being handled and doesn’t fight you tooth and nail, you can create a wonderful bond with them. And, veterinary care is much easier for a kitty who doesn’t mind getting medication or being treated for a wound.

Schedule an appointment with our veterinary team to get ideas on how Hawthorne Hills Veterinary Hospital can assist you and your cat towards a lifetime of love.

Robin E. Riedinger, DVM Hawthorne Hills Veterinary Hospital, Seattle WA | Behavior, Care & Wellness, Cat Friendly, Socialization

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