Socialization is the process by which a cat learns to relate  appropriately to people, other cats and to her environment. Getting the
socialization of your kitten right in the first few months of life  ensures your kitten will develop a secure, well-adjusted personality,  improves the quality of the cat-owner relationship and is very important  for preventing behaviour problems. Although cats will benefit from  friendly handling throughout their life, it’s particularly important in  their first weeks of life if they are to develop into friendly adults.
The “sensitive period” for socialization lies between 2 and 7 weeks of  age in kittens which is earlier than the equivalent period in puppies.

    Gentle handling should begin at 2 weeks of age for a few minutes  several times a day. Over the next few weeks, the handling should be  increased in duration and intensity so that kittens receive up to an hour  a day in total. The kittens should also be spoken to softly during  handling and if possible several different people should handle them.

    During the socialization period the kitten is also learning about its  environment. They increasingly spend time away from their mum exploring  their surroundings and interacting with their litter mates. Play  increases and their movements become more coordinated. Kittens are  normally weaned during this time and will start to eat solid foods. Fear  of the unfamiliar is best prevented by letting kittens have a wide range  of experiences.

    Gradual introduction to everyday sounds such as vacuum cleaners,  washing machines, door bells, etc. helps them adapt to the home  environment. And although the vaccination program limits early direct  contact, cats can be taken outside in a carry basket to experience  sounds, sights and smells. The introduction of all this novelty should be  on a gradual basis so as not to be too overwhelming. Kitty will feel  safer if she is with her litter mates or mum when having new experiences.
The objective is that later on she will respond to new experiences with  interest rather than fear or aggression.

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