Socializing your Kittens
You will need to convince the kittens that humans are kind and loving. Some kittens will adjust quickly to you and to their new environment, but to some kittens you may seem like a big scary monster! To make their transition into your home an easy one, you’ll need to give the kittens a day or so to accustom themselves to their new environment. Once they are settled in their comfy box in a quiet room, they will quickly adapt.
The principles of socializing are the same for all kittens – love them and they will respond. Outgoing, friendly kittens can be cuddled and played with freely. The less social ones will need some encouragement. The older the kitten is the longer it will take them to trust you. Try sitting on the floor with a kitten held against your chest, supported underneath, and facing outwards, so he/she can’t see how big and scary you are. Stroke him/her and speak gently, telling him/her how cute and brave and fabulous he/she is (kittens love to hear that!). Continue this for about 30 seconds and then put him down before he/she starts squirming. You want this to be a pleasant experience. The kitten will not be impressed, but if you cuddle him often enough, he/she will learn to love it.
Sometimes holding a pair of kittens helps – they seem to reassure each other. If your kittens are fearful and run away when you approach, try sitting or lying quietly on the floor near them and let them come to you. This is a lot less intimidating to the kittens than to see a pair of big scary feet walking towards them. Stroke them and talk them gently while they are eating to further reinforce positive associations.
While you are away a radio can be played on a talk or easy listening station to accustom them to hearing voices.
Treats can be used on older kittens. Hold them out to the kitten and let them come to you. Be patient! If they are too scared at first place the treat near them and back away. Once they realize what it is the next time they may eat it out of your hand. Once they eat out of your hand they will usually allow you to stroke them starting beneath the chin.
There is no such thing as a “bad” kitten. Even if your litter doesn’t enjoy being held and cuddled, if they tolerate being stroked and don’t cower under the sofa, they will make someone a wonderful pet. Not everyone wants an affectionate lap-cat. Many people prefer cats that are more independent and somewhat aloof companions.
Also, it is useless to punish a “naughty” kitten. Their little minds do not grasp deductive reasoning. Try distracting a mischievous kitten with something else until he/she forgets whatever he/she had been doing (it should not take long!).