Grumpy Cat’s “cattitude” has been a popular internet meme, but having a cat like Sir Grumpy is not what most new kitten parents have in mind for their babies. Most of them just want to raise a sweet, friendly cat. But just like human children, cat temperaments differ.
However, following these 6 tips can help you train your kitten to enjoy human contact, be less anxious around noises and unfamiliar objects, and generally grow into a well-socialised cat:
Ideally, kittens need to spend the first 8 weeks with their mom and siblings—if that isn’t possible, you may need to bottle-feed, cuddle, and nurture your little kitten. This will require nearly around-the-clock care, the younger the kitten is. If your kitten is younger than 8 weeks, the same care you give to ensure its good health will help it to begin to rely on and trust you as its human parent. Bear in mind that at this age, you will need to:
Learn more about the developmental stages of kittens and take appropriate care at each stage.
Regardless of how many weeks old your kitten is, you will need to treat it with gentleness if you want it to learn the best way for it to interact with others, whether animal or human.
Use these gentleness tips to condition your kitties so they trust you and learn about gentleness:
Kittens can’t be “naughty”—they just do what comes naturally. So, don’t get angry or yell at your kitten. Instead, re-direct your kitten to a toy or scratching post if they bite or scratch during play—don’t censure. In fact, make sure to have safe, quiet places for your kitten to rest if it becomes overwhelmed, and a designated scratching post for it to use when its natural cat inclination strikes.
After a fun playtime, reward your kitten with a special treat and lots of affection if it has behaved well. (Just be sure not to give too many treats at a time so it doesn’t become overweight. Limit them to less than 10% of your kitten’s daily caloric intake, with the other 90% being a highly-nutritious kitten food.)
It’s very important not to isolate your kittens, particularly once they’ve been weaned and had their vaccinations, or they won’t be used to people and other animals as adults. As they grow beyond 8 weeks of age, make sure to include them in more appropriate social interactions with humans and other animals in the home. For instance:
The importance of personal engagement with your kitten cannot be understated. The more you and other family members are directly involved in face-to-face, hand-to-paw playtime, the easier it will be for your kitten to engage with other humans in a friendly way.
Behavior is often a secret indicator of how your cat feels. If she is feeling under-the-weather, she may not want to socialise or be affectionate. So, keeping your kitten healthy and providing it with the best nutrition for growth and development will help you raise an affectionate cat. Ensure your kitten gets all of the essential preventative veterinary care like vaccinations and de-worming and keep them on a healthy diet so they always feel their best and act their best.
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