Most cat owners want a cat that greets them when they come home or at least a cat that doesn’t attack their guest’s ankles. But some cats, especially rescue cats have problems with socializing and establishing trust with others. Cat socialization includes three important steps and aims to eliminate distrust, aggression and fear within your cat. A socialized cat is going to be more affectionate, well-behaved and trusting than an anti-social cat.
Socializing your cat may require more or less work depending on your cat’s temperament and how it was treated in its first 9 weeks of life. However, socializing your cat doesn’t need to be a major event. Even 15 minute intervals each day will improve your cat’s social skills and help to keep it in a calm state.
3 Steps to Socializing your Cat
1. Familiarize your Cat with being Handled
To help your cat eliminate its fear and suspicious behavior try handling your cat more. Start by petting your cat in spots that it likes, like behind the ears or under the chin. Pick it up and pet its legs, belly and the back. It also helps if you speak to the cat in a calm and soothing voice. This will help your cat understand that nothing bad will happen in the security of your arms.
If your cat nips or scratches while being handled, say “No,” put it down on the floor and end the session right away.
2. Schedule Play Time with your Cat
It’s natural for cats to act like a predator in your home but no one likes wearing band aids on their ankles all year round. To curb this behavior try scheduling play time with your cat. Find out what toys your cat enjoys the most and reduce the amount of aggression by burning off some calories through playing.
If your cat bites or scratches during play time, say “No” and end play time right away.
3. Introduce your Cat to Strangers
To properly socialize your cat you need to introduce your cat to new people. However, ensure you have your cat’s trust before starting this step. Also, before you let your friends or family handle your cat make sure they know to use a calming and soothing voice while holding your cat. It works best if you let your cat initiate an interaction as forcing it upon your cat may be counterproductive.
Lastly, it’s vital that you exercise patience while socializing your cat. Most cats can come close to being entirely socialized but some cats may be inherently anti-social. Remember to reinforce good behavior, discourage bad behavior and treat your cat with love and patience. If your cat is experiencing a concerning and abnormal change in behavior please contact us.