Kitten Season! The Importance of a Good Start in Life

Sandra McCune for the Society for Companion Animal Studies (SCAS)

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Kitten season is upon us! A brand new kitten in the home brings laughter and pleasure; their entertaining antics, extraordinary bursts of vitality alternating with lengthy durations of deep sleep, assured affection and limitless want to play are by no means boring. Or is your kitten a bit of extra hesitant than that? Are they nonetheless discovering their manner on this massive, new world they’ve discovered themselves in with out the safety of their mum and littermates?

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If you’re accountable for a kitten’s first few weeks of life, then you will have an extremely vital job to do to make sure it’s appropriately socialised in order that they’ve one of the best likelihood of rising up right into a wholesome, comfortable, pleasant cat. If you will have just lately had a kitten be part of your loved ones, then you definitely even have a essential position in supporting their bodily, emotional and behavioural growth as they mature into maturity and past! Cats given one of the best begin in life usually tend to type robust, constructive attachments with their homeowners. The work of SCAS has proven simply how important that bond is to the well-being and well being of you and your cat.

Early Socialisation

Your kitten’s response to new individuals and to new environment are largely decided throughout their first couple of months of life. Preparing a kitten to deal with the challenges of the world during which they reside is without doubt one of the most vital methods to make sure a lifetime of fine welfare. After this time, a concern response turns into absolutely established within the kitten, due to this fact constructive experiences with novelty are optimum earlier than the Sensitive Period for Socialisation which happens between 2-7 weeks of age when kittens are extremely conscious of the formation of social bonds. This is the interval when a programme of socialisation needs to be launched to make sure your kitten grows as much as be pleasant and assured with individuals and with the challenges of a standard home house atmosphere. Kittens who’ve skilled acceptable early socialisation can be far much less prone to expertise excessive ranges of stress, fearfulness, timidity or of growing behaviour issues as an grownup.

So, what needs to be included in your kitten’s early socialisation programme? Cats Protection’s video helpfully explains the significance of early socialisation and the best way to go about it. Gradual and systematic publicity to new experiences needs to be managed fastidiously in very quick periods initially, extending to longer occasions as they mature. A Socialisation Chart developed by Cats Protection gives a complete check-list of the experiences your kitten needs to be uncovered to together with dealing with, assembly individuals and different pets, taking part in with toys, and quite a lot of sounds, smells and textures.

Selecting your kitten

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Given most kittens stick with their mum till no less than 8 weeks of age, it’s vital to pick out a kitten that has had constructive experiences earlier than they transfer to your private home. The delicate interval doesn’t come to an abrupt halt at 7 weeks of age however is believed to tail off regularly. Socialisation, coaching and taking part in together with your cat will stay an vital a part of your relationship all through its life.

Health and behavioural points are widespread in poorly sourced kittens. They are sometimes inadequately socialised and will not have the talents they should develop up into a contented, wholesome cat with out an enormous quantity of labor. Empower your self! Do your analysis earlier than your kitten arrives. Use the Cat Group’s Kitten Check List to information you. Your kitten ought to come from a good breeder if it’s a pedigree. Find out about completely different pedigree institutions, converse to somebody who has purchased kittens from them earlier than. Look for educated people and good premises with common veterinary supervision.

Sourcing from an animal shelter can be an important possibility. Shelters are nice locations to seek out neutered, vaccinated and house-trained kittens and cats. There’s an important sense of satisfaction in understanding you’ve offered a homeless animal with a loving place to reside, and your adoption will unlock a spot for an additional kitten in want. And in case you have questions or issues after your kitten joins your loved ones, good shelters will present submit adoption help.

A lifetime of fine welfare

Most homeowners within the UK maintain their cats protected, comfortable and wholesome. Owners even have legal obligations to satisfy their cat’s welfare wants. Understanding of a cat’s 5 welfare needs interprets to actual variations in how they are looked after and is a vital a part of responsible pet ownership.

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Meeting your kitten’s welfare wants throughout their early months and into maturity will give them one of the best begin for a lifetime of well being and happiness.

For extra details about the bond between you and your cat, go to the Society for Companion Animal Studies (SCAS).

For extra science-based data on understanding your kitten and serving to them develop into a contented, wholesome cat, strive these cat science writers

Zazie Todd (2022) Purr: the science of creating your cat comfortable, Greystone Books, Vancouver.

John Bradshaw (2013) Cat Sense: the feline enigma revealed. Penguin, London.

John Bradshaw & Sarah Ellis (2016) The Trainable Cat: A Practical Guide to Making Life Happier for You and Your Cat, Basic Books, New York.

Dennis Turner (2014) The Domestic Cat: the biology of its behaviour, 3rd version, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

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