How to Socialize Your Kitten

It’s a proven fact that kittens that are handled regularly by humans grow up to be well-socialized and well-behaved adult cats. Here, your Carmel veterinarian gives you tips on each stage of your kitten’s life.

Newborn Kittens

Newborn kittens can be handled quite early to begin the socialization process to humans. Pick up the newborns very gently and hold them for a few minutes, stroking them softly. Of course, if the mother cat is around and doesn’t like this, you’ll want to avoid contact until she’s comfortable with having her babies handled.

Keep handling sessions short until the kittens are a bit older. Too frequent handling, and not enough contact with the mother, can backfire! Consult your vet for more help.

Weeks Three and Four

Once your kittens are a few weeks old, their eyes and ears have developed much more. Handling them now will allow them to take in the full sensation of human contact. It’s still important to not overdo handling—hold them for a couple of 5-minute sessions throughout the day, petting them gently for a while before placing them back in their bed with their mother.

Up to Seven Weeks

At this point your kittens’ hunting and stalking instincts are developing, so you might try providing some toys. Continue having regular contact with your pets. Make sure they don’t get into any mischief, as this stage of life can be the most troublesome! Keep a watchful eye on your kittens at all times.

Seven Weeks and Older

If you’ve kept up regular human contact throughout your kittens’ life so far, they should now be developing into well-adjusted young cats. It won’t be long before you can try gently introducing them to other socialization scenarios, like traveling in a crate or seeing other pets.

Work closely with your veterinarian to have your kittens develop properly, and remember to have them examined by a veterinary professional shortly after birth. Call your Carmel vet’s office to get started!

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