Raising a tame cat who’s social and outgoing requires a combination of a good upbringing, even from the time the kitten is in the womb, early handling, and a mom cat with a good temperament. If one of these factors isn’t present, don’t give up – you can still likely raise an outgoing cat if you invest a little extra time.
Temperament Starts In The Womb
It may be hard to believe, but factors that affect a kitten’s personality begin while it’s still in the mother’s womb! A blog by veterinarian Dr. Sophia Yin explains that if a cat is undernourished while she’s pregnant, her kittens may have brain defects and end up with abnormal levels of fear and aggression, among other issues. So if you have any say in the matter, make sure the mother cat is fed a healthy, protein-rich diet.
Contact With The Mom Cat During The First Four Weeks Is Imperative
Kittens need a great deal of social contact with their mothers up to the age of four weeks. If a kitten doesn’t get this kind of contact, it may end up being very fearful of people and other cats. However, bottle feeding a kitten if it’s been abandoned by its mom can counteract that effect. A bottle-fed kitten often ends up being extra comfortable around people.
The Mom’s Personality Makes A Difference
The mother cat’s personality also makes a difference. If she shows fear around people, such as hiding under the couch when the doorbell rings, then her kittens are likely to pick up on those cues and learn fear themselves. That’s why the next point is so important.
Socialize The Kitten With People From A Young Age
A kitten is much more likely to grow up to be outgoing and friendly around people if it is handled by people from a very young age. Veterinarian Dr. Yin explains in her blog that handling a kitten as little as five minutes a day, from birth to 45 days old, can make a big difference in how social the kitten is with people. You should also make sure your kitten gets a lot of different experiences, such as meeting and being handled by different people rather than just you, hearing the doorbell and getting a treat, etc. If it learns to associate new people with good things, it’ll be much more likely to be social as an adult.
It’s impossible to guarantee that any kitten will end up being an outgoing, people-loving adult cat. But by following these tips, your chances of raising an outgoing, social kitten are much higher. If it’s absolutely imperative to you that your cat is outgoing, consider adopting a grown cat from a local shelter. You can visit the cats and check out their personalities, finding one that’s the perfect fit for you.