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Socialisation

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Play and socialisation

Play is an important part of your cat’s development and should be something both you and your cat enjoy. Avoid using fingers and hands during play e.g. wiggling fingers or rough and tumble games. This will only encourage your cat to bite and scratch you. Instead use interactive ‘fishing rod’ toys, there are plenty available with different things tied to the ends of them. Cats like to play chasing/hunting games with balls and toy mice. This allows them to exhibit natural behaviour such as stalking and pouncing, and also helps muscle development. Other toys to use include boxes, paper bags, tunnels, ledges and laser pens (always finish on a treat when using a laser pen and do not shine directly into their eyes).

Cats perform scratching as a natural behaviour and a scratching post should be introduced as soon as possible. Praise the cat when they use this with fuss or treats and they will quickly get the idea that this is where to scratch (it is much easier to teach this to a kitten than an older cat). The scratching post should have a firm base so it is stable when your cat uses it.

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For socialisation purposes your kitten should be gently handled by as many people as possible including men, women and children. The experience should always be as pleasant as possible for the cat. Allow the kitten to come over to the new person and sniff, offer treats while gently stroking it, and once it is happy to be around the new person then let them gently hold the kitten. Never rush the kitten to do things, take time to let it build up trust and do things at its own speed (normally curiosity will get the better of it).

Your kitten should be exposed to all sorts of loud noises including the vacuum, washing machine, TV and loud music. Remember to act normally while these occur, if the kitten sees you panic or start to reassure it, it will think something scary is happening.

Going outside

Two weeks after their second vaccination, the kitten can go outside. It’s best to do this is on a day when you are home and when the cat is hungry so that you can entice it in with food after a short time outside. Most kittens are fairly frightened on their first time outside and won’t venture much further than the doorway. Gradually their confidence will increase and they will venture further afield. We recommend that your cat is microchipped. Collars are a common cause of injuries in cats. However, we appreciate that some owners like to put a collar on their cat in which case a collar with no elastic and with a snap-open safety catch is recommended. You should be able to get 1-2 fingers inside the collar when it is on to ensure it is not too tight.

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