HAND IN PAW
Creature Companions|April 2021
MAKING SENSE OF THE WORLD WITH KITTY
Dr. Reeja George P.*

Socialisation, or introducing the kitten to its social world, usually lasts for six weeks from the second week of life of the kitten to the eighth week. This is a crucial period in the developmental phase of the kitten’s brain and early influences determine what kitty grows up to be. Cats on the whole tend to be a little more timid and nervous in nature when compared to dogs. However, the experiences that the kitten has during its early weeks are significant in shaping her impressions about the world as a friendly or unfriendly place. Experiences gained during the socialisation period are carried over to adulthood; if these are negative she will grow up to remain threatened, nervous and suspicious throughout her life, expressing her feelings as behavioural problems in adulthood.

HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT SOCIALISING KITTY?

Socialisation takes place ideally between four to eight weeks of age. It should be a gradual process that takes place every day. Each day should have just one small session so that she is not overwhelmed. Cats have differing temperaments; some need to go a little slower when compared to others. You should watch kitty carefully for any signs of discomfort and slow your pace if you feel she is uncomfortable, adjusting the socialisation exercises to suit her.

INTRODUCING DIFFERENT ‘KINDS’ OF PEOPLE!

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