Bringing a new kitten home is a special occasion. There's so much to deal with — getting a litter box, buying toys, and looking for kitten wellness plans near you. One of the most important steps for a new kitten is to socialize them.

This includes both with yourself and other humans and with any other cats and dogs you might have. It's not hard to socialize kittens well. All it will take is a little bit of patience and a lot of love.

Why socialization matters

It's essential to make a conscious effort to socialize new pets and don't assume they'll acclimatize with time. Socialization early on in a kitten's life is vital to ensure it's a socially healthy adult cat. If you don't undertake socialization processes, you could end up with an overly aggressive or timid kitten. An unsocialized cat is also more likely to use scratching to express itself.

When to socialize?

Sooner is better with kittens. As soon as a kitten is about two weeks old it starts to become curious about new things. This is about the time you can begin with socialization, with the understanding that younger kittens will be more skittish than older ones. After about fourteen weeks, cats may start to become less receptive to socialization, being more set in their ways.

Socializing kittens . . and people

It's important to get your cat accustomed to you, your family members, and your friends. Thankfully, socialization with cats for people is pretty easy. You just need to spend time with them in a way that makes them feel non-threatened.

When first socializing with a cat, get down close to their level, give them some distance, and be calm and quiet. Let them have their space. It's best to begin with toys rather than direct petting. Toys with some reach (think rod and string toys) are an ideal place to start.

When they seem comfortable with sniffing your hand, then you can start to pet them. Remember, cats are more comfortable being petted on their backs and heads rather than on their belly. Also, as the cat owner, reward good behavior with treats and attention.

Socializing kittens and other pets

Socializing kittens and other pets can be somewhat more complicated than with people. Your pets don't have the patience and restraint you can exhibit. You have to be careful with the feelings of both pets at the same time.

Whether you're socializing with a cat or a dog, much of your strategy should be the same. First, start by giving each pet, old and new, their own part of the home. This gives them a safe space they feel comfortable with, and that they can return to if the socialization runs into some bumpy roads.

When you first introduce pets to each other, make sure both have had plenty of exercise and are well fed. Socializing kittens comes down to bringing the energy level down. Keep everything relaxed and low-key.

If you have a pet larger than your kitten, like a big dog, keep them on a leash or in their crate to start. When getting pets ready for this first meet, introduce them to each other's scents first. You can have them swap bedding or bowls. Animals rely much more on their nose to get used to things, especially dogs.

Then it's just a matter of watching their body language. If things get tense, don't be afraid to cut the socialization short. It's a process that takes a lot of patience, and both pets need to feel safe. Once they feel more comfortable, then you can drop the leash or the crate and let them interact under your supervision.
Figuring out how to socialize kittens best can be tricky. Finding a kitten wellness plan near you shouldn't be. With Wagmo, you can get a kitten wellness plan in just a few easy steps. Make sure to head over to get set up today.