As a cat breeder, you have a responsibility to ensure that the kittens you breed get a good start in life. Here are tips on how to create well-socialized kittens that you can feel proud to pass on to new homes.
Avoid playing with your hands
When the kittens are around four weeks old, they start playing with their siblings. You can usually see that they start to grip with their paws when they are lying on their back or side. Then it’s time to carefully introduce toys.
To avoid the kittens in adulthood seeing hands as toys, it may be wise at this time to, as far as possible, avoid playing with hands and fingers. The same goes for feet and toes when you sit down in the pasture and they start to climb.
Get the kittens used to human touch
From the time the kittens start walking a little more steadily can get them used to appreciating human touch by patting the kittens from head to tail tip with a little force in the movement. Taking in a little more and scratching your back while patting the kitten creates a sense of security – perhaps because it is similar to the mother’s treatment.
If you are far too careful when touching a kitten, it can be interpreted as insecurity and fear, which the kitten can follow and, for example, start bending on his back to avoid the unsafe touch.
Massage the paws and cut the claws
The paws are one of the places on the cat that can be very sensitive to touch, which causes extra stress for the cat when you need to cut claws. As a breeder, you can lay a foundation for this to work in the new home by training when the kittens are small.
Choose an occasion when the kitten is comfortable and lying on its back in your lap or maybe sleeping in your arms. Then you can train by gently massaging your paws a little. When the kittens are 10-12 weeks old, you can cut their claws a couple of times before they move to get them used to it as well.
Kittens find it difficult to be still, regardless of whether they think the treatment is comfortable or not, so divide the haircut and take one paw at a time. Feel free to give sweets after each clipped claw to get the kittens to associate the claw clipping with something positive.
Get the kittens used to everyday sounds
It can easily happen that you get a little cowardly to make noise and keep the home going as it usually sounds and moves, when you have small kittens. But that is exactly what you should expose them to so that they get used to everyday sounds and understand that it is not dangerous.
Examples of environmental training:
Do not be afraid to vacuum when needed
Take home visits
Wait until the kittens are about 7-8 weeks old and have received the first vaccination, but then feel free to take home visits and let the visitors play with the kittens.
Introduce kind pets
If you have more pets at home such as a dog, introduce the dog to the kittens around the same age they receive visitors