Q: My cat Oliver is a two-month-old Persian. Please advice about cat training and flea prevention.
– Asma Nadeem Ahmed, Bangalore
A: Dr KG Umesh: Early socialisation is the process by which a cat learns to relate appropriately to people, other cats and to her environment. The ‘sensitive period’ for socialisation lies between two and seven weeks of age in kittens. Getting the socialisation of your kitten right in the first few months of life ensures your kitten will develop a secure, well-adjusted personality. It also improves the quality of the cat-owner relationship and is very important for preventing behaviour problems. As with all training, it should be kind and based on positive reinforcement, rewarding correct action and ignoring all unwanted behaviours. Effective training should contain a combination of information (what you want the cat to do), motivation (a reason for the cat to do it) and timing (when to give the reward for a good action).
Flea control must be done in her environment before treating infested cat. Your veterinarian will recommend a suitable de-fleaing agent and will advise you on an effective flea-eradication programme that is safe for cats. Always follow the directions carefully, and remember to treat other pets in the household as well. Remove all of your cat’s bedding and wash it well (hot wash cycle), along with the box or basket. Don’t forget to vacuum thoroughly around the carpets and furniture.