Socialisation

 

Socialising our kittens is a vital part of raising our kittens and our children play a very important role in this process. The health and emotional wellbeing of our kittens as adults is largely dependent on how we care for them in the first few weeks of their life. The development of behaviour depends both on genetic (as I wrote about in the temperament section) and environmental factors. Between the age of 2 - 7 weeks, this is what is known at the 'sensitive' period. This is the key socialisation period and relationships that depend on familiarity are formed at this time. Our kittens from the moment they are born are handled by both Ben and I. They are touched all over, lifted frequently and gently restrained. Once the kittens reach 4 weeks old and are a little more robust, our children are allowed to play with them too. This a very exciting time for both children and kittens. Research shows that kittens handled by four or five different handlers before seven weeks will be more sociable to people as adult cats and more inclined to initiate social interactions with them. Cats that are handled by one individual will be particularly affectionate towards them but will view other humans with suspicion and show a tendency to avoid them. Our kittens are raised in heavy footfall areas in our home which not only means that they are played with by everyone in the house whether that is us and the children or friends and family, but they are subjected to the crucial non-threatening objects and activities such as TVs, hoovers, mops, DIY and everything else that is normal in a busy household.

We want our kittens to feel mentally prepared for their departure from our home and settle into their new home and bond with their new owners as quickly as possible. We feel that our approach to socialisation maximises the kitten's ability to adjust to their new environments and reduces stress and anxiety whilst adjusting. We pour a lot of love from our hearts into each kitten

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