Seven Ways to Bond with Your Kitten
Every kitten in a new home is initially anxious and afraid. It misses its mommy. Cat owners cannot really substitute for mama cats, but they can offer their kittens happy bonding experiences that help them adjust to their new homes and form lifetime habits as friendly cats. Here are seven ways cat parents can bond with kittens to help cats achieve healthy, happy bonds with people.
Give your kitten company at mealtime. For the first few weeks of a kitten's life, there is no shortage of company at mealtime. Meals are provided by mama, and other kittens competing for milk ensure the kitten is not alone. But when a kitten arrives at its forever home, mealtime will be a lonely event unless the humans provide company.
Don't just put out a dish of food and walk away. Talk with your kitten while it eats. Feel free to tell it all about your day. Anything you say to your kitten will be held in strictest confidence. Just remember that your kitten knows you by your scent. When your schedule requires that your kitten eat unsupervised, provide it something with your scent -- a towel, a piece of clothing you were considering throwing away, or toys you handle during the kitten's playtime -- to remind it of your presence.
Help your kitten get high. It's never a good idea to give a kitten marijuana, although CBD products may be helpful used as directed. Instead, offer your kitten the cat's herb of choice, catnip. Some young kittens will not respond to catnip. It is usually better appreciated by cat that are at least six months old, although some kittens will enjoy it at six weeks.
Catnip will make some kittens sleepy, while others will have temporary experience of feline ADHD. Most will bliss out for 10 to 15 minutes. Catnip is not addictive for cats, but there is no doubt it is fun.
Give Kitty a massage. Mother cats massage their kittens several times a day. Human cat parents can give kittens the same experience when they have downtime. For instance, the three to five minutes needed to brew coffee in the morning are a good time to give a newly adopted kitten a head-to-toe rubdown.
Make sure the kitten is relaxed before beginning the massage. Use your palms to massage broader areas like the kitten's back and abdomen. Use the tips of your fingers to massage the kitten's neck and tail.
Groom your kitten with a soft brush. Mother cats keep their kittens squeaky clean buy grooming them with their tongues. Human cat parents can keep kittens clean and comfortable by grooming them with a soft brush. Kittens enjoy the tactile stimulation, and regular combing alerts cat caretakers to fleas and creepy-crawlies before they cause serious problems.
Take a nap with your kitten. Cats enjoy snuggling up with their humans during naptime. It's important not to sleep with a kitten that is less than about four months old, because there can be tragic consequences when a big human rolls over on a tiny kitten.
Take your kitten on a pretend hunting expedition. Every cat is naturally hard-wired to hunt. They love to pursue and capture "prey." Your pet does not need to harm other animals to exercise its instincts. Pursuing laser pointer lights or cloth mice on a string can give kitten and humans endless hours of pleasure.
- Reward good behavior in your kitten. Kittens and cats almost never understand the connection between misdeeds and punishments. They only understand the connection between good behavior and reward. To encourage the behavior that you want around the house, offer praise and food treats immediately after desirable action. Try to frame your expectations for your kitten and for your cats in positive terms so that your cats will be so busy doing the right thing they never get into trouble.
It only takes a few minutes a day to help a kitten mature into a loving, friendly, relaxed cat. The rewards of socialization are a lifetime of companionship with a happy pet.
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