Learn the Art and Importance of socialising your kitten

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Joan Henderson
An extremely important part of rearing your kitten is to socialise them so that they will be a pleasure to handle. A lot of pet parents understand the importance of socialising, but there is still a long way to go.
 
Start with the basics
Leave the babies pretty much alone for the first two weeks, although do pet them gently several times daily even during this time. When they are about three weeks old start handling them right in front of their mother – if it is a kitten you have bred yourself –and talk to them and pet them for a few minutes. If it is a new kitten you have brought into your house then start to socialise with them, quietly, as soon as they settle down in their new surroundings. As kittens become more mature and playful allow them to run around and become used to their surroundings. Kittens are very inquisitive so they will soon be searching all over the house and finding places to hide or curl up and relax in. It is nice to have a few soft toys for them to play with. You can also spend time playing games like chase and fetch with them. It is always a good idea to let kittens climb over you – sit and play, and soon they will realise that humans are not to be feared, and, of course they will enjoy spending both play and quiet time in their new home. Continue petting them and gently talking to them so that they become totally relaxed in your company.
 
Teach your children to respect animals
It is important to always teach children in the house that making too much noise and pushing and pulling kittens will not encourage them to settle with their new family. One of the most enjoyable by-products of socialising with your kittens is the fun that you will have in teaching them new games—chasing a ball, following a toy at the end of a string, etc.
 
House rules
As your kittens grow into adults they will accept you as part of their family and always be happy to spend time with you—and especially if your lap is often there for them to curl up and take a nap. Remember to take them to their litter pan several times a day and they will soon learn that this is where they need to go use the toilet.One important factor is that you must make sure the pan is always clean as cats do not like a dirty toilet. A safe kitten or cat is kept inside the house. It is also important to have your pet neutered or spayed and they will not want to stray or get lost or injured by other animals or cars. If kittens are able to relax, feel safe and loved you can both look forward to a long and happy life together.
(Joan Henderson is International All Breeds Cat Judge based in Melbourne. She has judged cats in many countries including USA, Bermuda, Malaysia, South Africa, Hong Kong, Philippines and
New Zealand.)