Compatibility: Kitten Society Explained

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The social structure of cats is completely foreign to people because our social system is based on a “group” mentality and held together by vocal communication. Cats, on the other paw, evolved to depend on themselves alone—not the group—and rely on silent communication through body posture and scent signals. Each system works well for that particular group, but when you put the two together, there are bound to be misunderstandings. Unless you understand where your kitten is coming from, there will be a culture clash.

Cat Culture

Kitty culture, like the human equivalent, is based on individuals who make the rules and those who follow them. But feline society is not a democracy, has no set leader, and is marked by a fluid yet despotic rule. That is, one cat is the ruler, and there is no second in command when she’s away. If she leaves, there’s a free-for-all that decides the new dominant cat of that territory.

That’s because unlike lions, our domestic housecats evolved to hunt alone. After all, there is no reward for group hunting when the prey is mouse-sized and only feeds one. Therefore, cat society revolves around a “me first” attitude—each cat considers herself to be the center of the universe, and ruler of a particular territory she claims.

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In fact, the only time wild kitties come together is to breed. When the male Romeos wrangle over the feline Juliet, only one tomcat needs to win. Gaining runner-up status in the contest doesn’t matter to the losers, because there’s no benefit to hang around. They do better to find another Juliet and be number one in a different territory.

Similarly, once the mother cat gives birth, she is the absolute boss to her kittens. She decides the rules and enforces them. In a feral cat society when resources abound, kitties may live in social groups and share kitten-raising duties. These tend to be families of cats that are related, and typically the senior mom-cat calls the shots, and the others bow to her rules. It appears that the female that has produced the most litters of kittens (and is related to more of the family group?) tends to have the greatest influence.

In a house-cat situation in which the pets are properly neutered, a number of litters don’t figure into the equation. A particular cat doesn’t necessarily rule in all instances. She may be queen in the house, for instance, but she bows to the whims of another cat that rules the backyard. Ownership of a particular territory increases influence in feline society.

That’s pretty foreign to most people, but it shouldn’t be. After all, your boss may be in charge at work, but you make the rules in your own house. When you think about it, this makes sense for your kitten.

Ownership of property helps define the cat’s status. The one who owns all the highest perches, the best resting spots, and the prime real estate is the boss. That won’t matter much when you have only one kitten—she can be the queen of all she surveys! But it is particularly important to understand if you have more than one pet, especially when adding your kitten to a household that already has a cat.

Cats tend to practice a unique time-share mentality that allows each to feel like a ruler and not have her nose rubbed in the fact that another kitty rules. This goes back to the fluid hierarchy within a specific territory. One cat owns the bedroom and the prime sleeping areas there while a second cat claims the television room. A third is a queen over the back yard. The other two cats make way for the ruler in that particular territory, but only when she is present. If she’s nowhere around, then another cat feels perfectly within his rights to grab a nap on the best spot—after all, the queen isn’t using it!

Time-share means the cats don’t fight over property. They graciously make way for the ruler when present–often without deigning to admit they are doing so—and otherwise, share when she’s not around.

The time-share concept is particularly important when training your kitten. She may understand you don’t want her to sleep on the dining-room table, and follow the rules when you—the Top Cat—are there to enforce them. But she’ll “time-share” and use the table whenever you aren’t using it! Often she’ll get off the forbidden spot as soon as you walk in the room, following the kitty rules of property possession.
Kitty Poker

Cats are masters of the bluff. Put them at a card table in Las Vegas, and they’d break the bank. Rather than getting their tails in a twist over hierarchy issues, they play poker.

Each cat has certain cards she’s been dealt in life—such as age, health, and personality. Instead of unfurling their claws and immediately launching an attack, each cat brags and postures to show the other what a great winning hand they own. Fur rarely flies in these face-offs. Instead, there may be lots of hissing and growls, fluffed fur and cat curses in a game of feline “chicken.” The one who backs down first and turns tail and runs is the loser—the other claims the territory.

That can be hardest on you if you see a longtime cat friend being “bullied” by a new kitten. Our inclination is to interfere and make them play nice. Refrain from this temptation. That only prolongs the sorting-out process and makes one cat even more determined to put the other one in his place. Hard as it is, peace will reign more quickly if you accept the hierarchy the pets have established for themselves.

Reinforce the status of the “top cat” by feeding her first, and letting her claim the best sleeping spots, even if it means she chases the other kitty away. Once everybody agrees who rules, things generally calm down.

Sometimes, when two cats just can’t agree on who should be boss they just ignore each other altogether. That’s the time-share mentality kicking in again. The subordinate cat may just look the other way and get off the sofa when the other cat shows up, but never by so much as a whisker-flick acknowledge it wasn’t her idea all along.

How do cats decide who will be the boss, and who will be the follower in a particular territory?

White Car Wearing Red Tie
Cat Boss, reddit.com

There are several factors that influence positions. There are exceptions to these rules, but basically four categories decide the status of a cat.

Sexual status plays a major role in the feline community. Cats that have not been spayed or neutered typically rank higher than sterilized ones. The Mom-cat with kittens has the most powerful of all. Neutering all the cats helps level the playing field, and eliminates the potential for many squabbles.

Personality impacts the way the kitten perceives herself, the world around her, and other pets. Every kitten is an individual and early socialization—exposing kittens to positive experiences during their formative weeks of life—will prevent many cat hierarchy disputes later in life. Shrinking Violet kittens that hide under the bed may be the subordinate kitty, but become so stressed they feel the need to baptize the house with urine to boost their morale and compensate. Bully Kittens, the brash in-your-face youngsters, are more likely to become problem cats because they like to pester even the boss-cats, or may not be satisfied with a lower-ranking position. Confident kittens, those with the middle-of-the-road calm personalities, seem destined for leadership and handle it well.

Age defines who rules to a great extent. Kittens almost always bow to the rule of adult cats. A mature cat usually will be dominant over an elderly kitty. But a cat may be physically mature by 12 months, and not reach social maturity until two to four years of age. That means kittens raised together may get along fine until they reach their second or third birthday, and then they begin to jockey for social position.

Health status throws out everything else. A sick cat loses any status she has and becomes subordinate to healthy ones. Even a young kitten may bully a sickly elder-statesman cat.
Most cats get along very well together especially when all are spayed and neutered and they have been properly introduced. Kittens raised in litters of four or more and that remain together until they are 12 to 16 weeks old usually get along best with other cats.

The feline dance of social standing is so subtle that it can be hard for anybody but the cats to know what’s going on.

Nose-to-Nose at Last

Often we are so excited about the new family member, we want to share our joy—immediately!—with everybody in the household. The new kitten is brought into the living room, dumped on the carpet, and everybody crowds around to get a look at the newcomer.
In the best of all worlds, the rest of your family (furred and otherwise) will accept the baby with no problem. It’s love at first sight, and a peaceable kingdom is born. But more often, such an introduction backfires—everybody (including the new kitten) gets upset, and it can take days, weeks, or even months to smooth out the relationship.

The key to successful introductions is patience. One step at a time gets the job done, with the least trauma to everybody involved. Once your new kitten becomes a part of your human and pet family, she’ll have a lifetime to get to know them better. Make sure everybody gets off on the right footer, paw—from the start. That not only prevents misunderstandings and potential behavior problems but can increase the chances of the new baby and your existing family will fall in love, permanently.

Tip. If your new kitten and resident pet are acting up because they weren’t properly introduced, it’s worth starting from scratch and re-introducing them the right way. It doesn’t matter if they’ve been together for several days or even weeks. If they don’t get along, go back to the basics—pretend you’ve just brought the kitten home, and begin fresh.

Resident pets—be they cats, dogs, or other animals—also have feelings that need to be considered. After all, how would you feel if a stranger suddenly appeared and wanted to share your food, your bed, and your favorite belongings—even the affections of your loved one?

Whether your kitten is 10 weeks old or 10 months old, she still is a stranger in a strange land and will be frightened of the change. Cats of any age love the status quo. They dislike the unexpected. And they identify security with a known territory. That’s one reason kitties will not be anxious to meet anybody new until they become familiar with the surroundings.

That’s why creating a room of her own is the first and most important step when introducing a new kitten into your home. This does a couple of things: First, it breaks up the enormous territory of a new home into a smaller, more manageable kitten-size real estate. She can become familiar with her room first, and use that as a safe retreat and home base. That’s important if she’s an “only” pet, too, but becomes vital when she will share the house with other animals.

Second, this segregation keeps the new kitten quarantined until her health is assessed by your veterinarian. The last thing you want to do is to expose your resident feline to illness from the new baby.

Finally, segregating the kitten tells your resident pet that only a part of her territory is invaded. And the closed-door may pique the resident pet’s curiosity, rather than raise her hackles. Segregating the pets early on lets you control the introductions.

Some pets require more time than others to become used to the idea of meeting new animals. Resident pets that already get along well with other animals may accept the new kitten more quickly. A shy kitten may take days to weeks to feel comfortable in the new environment. You must also be prepared, though, for some pets to simply dislike each other. In these cases, you can at least help them learn to tolerate each other.

Meeting Other Cats

All else being equal, adult cats tend to more readily accept pets that are younger than themselves and that are of the opposite sex. That means, if you have a resident neutered adult male cat, a female kitten would make a good choice; a resident spayed female cat would likely do well with a boy kitten. Of course, pairs of girls or boys can also become lifelong buddies with the right introductions.

Remember to spay or neuter your kitten as early as possible. That will eliminate many of the behavior problems that could potentially develop, and also helps smooth the pet relationships as the kitten reaches maturity.

The adult kitty will also much more quickly learn to accept a new cat if exposed to them during early socialization. Be warned that a four-plus-year-old feline who has never before lived with another cat may strenuously object to a newcomer. He may either become antagonistic or hide. Oftentimes, owners adopt another cat to keep the resident cat company—and the cat’s reaction typically is, “Nobody asked me! I like having all the attention to myself!” A set-in-his-ways older cat may take a long time to accept a new pet, so again, patience is key.

Have your “kitten central” room set up before you bring the baby home. Then, if at all possible, have a friend carry the kitten in his carrier into the house. That sends a subtle signal to your older, resident cat that you are not the one behind the invasion. Take the carrier into the kitten room, shut the door, and let the kitten come out at her own pace. She may prefer to spend some time in the carrier with her familiar-smelling blanket until she’s alone in the room, and can explore on her own.

Try not to make a big deal out of the little one’s presence. If anything, give your resident kitty even more attention and praise; make sure she knows she’s important and special. Spend time with the new kitten when the older cat is otherwise occupied. At this point, you don’t want her to feel neglected because of the attention you pay the new kitten.

The resident cat and kitten should meet for the first time via paw-pats under the door. There may be some hissing and posturing involved. That’s normal. They’re playing kitty poker, with each one boasting about the cards she holds. It may take several hours or days before they stop hissing and growling.

Even if they seem interested, and happy about meeting under the door, delay the nose-to-nose meeting for at least three days. A week or longer of segregation may be necessary, particularly with older resident cats. It often takes a bit of wrangling for new pets to work out their social status. Pairs of kittens adopted at about the same age often do well together—even though their play may look a bit like fighting. You’ll know the difference because kitten play usually is silent, while aggression includes hisses, growls, and spits.

Once there seems to be more curiosity and interest rather than fear or antagonism at the door, take the next step. Switch out the cats. Bring the resident adult cat into the kitten’s room, and shut the door. Meanwhile, allow the kitten to explore the world beyond Kitten Central. That gives the resident cat a chance to sniff and explore the baby’s room and figure out what’s going on behind that closed door. She’ll become more familiar with the other cat’s scent, too. And the kitten does the same thing on the other side of the door.

Give the kitten a minimum of three hours of solo exploration. If your resident cat throws a fit, stay in the kitten room with her and have somebody else supervise the little guy’s exploration. Or you can give the kitten the three-hour allotment in single-hour increments if your resident cat has a fit.

Kittens will not be interested in meeting another animal until they have become familiar with the territory. To ensure the first whisker-to-whisker meeting goes well, the kitten must have time to cheek-rub the rest of the house, find the good hiding places, and feel comfortable with her surroundings.

Tip. Use the “kitty cologne trick” to help ease the transition. Cats identify their family and friends by scent and everything that’s familiar and safe to them will smell like them. Cats scent-mark people and other friendly pets by cheek-rubbing against them, and by grooming them with their tongue. The new kitten won’t smell like them at all, and so at first “sniff” will seem strange. To help everybody smell alike—so the resident cat thinks the baby is safe, and vice-versa—rub a small hand towel all over first the resident cat (especially his cheeks), and then the baby. Pay particular attention to the back of each cat’s neck and at the base of each tail. Those are the prime “sniff” locations for cats. That can help take the edge off the first fearful face-to-face.

After the kitten has had time to explore outside of her room, it’s time for the first meeting. If anything, this should be anti-climatic. Simply open the door that separates them, and let them meet at their own pace. You should treat this as nothing unusual, and not make a big deal over the event.

It can help to give the kitten and the adult cat something other than each other to engage their attention—like food. You can feed both cats at the same time, but on opposite ends of the room. Believe me, they’ll know the other critter is there! But this gives them an excuse to ignore each other and also helps get the idea across that good things happen when the other cat is present. For some cats, it works best to engage each one in a favorite game, at opposite ends of the room. Above all, you want to associate positive things with the kitten’s presence.

Some cats will ignore each other, and go their separate ways. That’s fine. Others will approach each other, posture a bit with fluffed fur and hiss. That’s fine, too. Of course, you should be prepared to cut the introduction short if hisses escalate to growls and flailing tails.

It may take only an hour or so, several days or even weeks for the new kitten and resident cat to come to an understanding. Until you are satisfied that neither one poses danger to the other, the kitten should be safely segregated when you are not there to supervise. You’ll know that the pair accepts each other when they begin to play together, groom each other, or sleep together.

Play-fighting can sometimes look like the real thing, because the cats may fluff their fur and bat at each other, or wrestle. Usually, you can tell the difference by listening—when spits, hisses, growls or yowls are involved, call a time-out because things are getting serious. Just toss a towel over the pair. That generally will put a damper on things and break it up, without you risking a scratch yourself.

Meeting Dogs

Photo (c) okeanaslt – Fotolia

Cats and dogs living together? Getting along? Even liking each other? Of course! Your kitten and the family dog can, with the right introductions, become fast friends. In fact, nearly 30 percent of US Households share their hearts and homes with both cats and dogs together.

There are inherent safety concerns when the kitten and the dog vary a great deal in size.

After all, a well-meaning but bumbling big dog could squash a tiny kitten just by stepping on her. Besides this, certain dogs may view a scampering kitten as a tasty morsel. Fair play requires mention of the dangers of kitten claws to canine eyes as well, particularly in some of the dog breeds with more prominent eyes. In spite of these concerns, the vast majority of cat/dog relationships are positive ones. Many of the same kitten-to-cat techniques work just as well with kitten-to-dog introductions.

It’s important to recognize, too, that dogs and cats are very different creatures. They have different languages, different social systems, and want different things out of life. It’s up to you, the owner, to understand them both and help them adjust to each other with proper introductions.

Understanding Canine Concerns

In terms of kitten and cat safety issues, as well as predicting if the pets will get along, canine personality is even more important than dog size. To a great degree, the dog’s breed can offer clues as to what to expect. There are always exceptions, though, and because you live with your dog, you will be the best judge of his personality.

Just like cats, canine society is defined by leaders and followers. However, most dogs are happy to just be a part of the group and aren’t necessarily driven to be the top dog. Many are perfectly happy to pledge allegiance to a human—or even a feline—leader. And when your dog looks to you for guidance, it may be enough that you like the cat and expect him to accept her.

Arguments over turf that characterize feline disputes rarely happen to the same extent between dogs and cats, though. That’s because they have very different social needs. Your dog is satisfied as long as he knows his place in the family group, while the kitten’s first priority is to own territory. They don’t even value real estate the same way. Dogs can only lay claim to the floor-level property. Meanwhile, the kitten prefers high perches the dog can’t reach. Both the kitten and the dog will think they have won the contest and will be happy ruling their own little kingdoms.

WARNING! Predatory behavior is very important when judging safety issues. All dogs and cats have predators inside their brains, waiting to pounce. That’s what drives kittens to chase the fluttering ribbon, or the dog to fetch the ball—or to chase the cat. Certain dog breeds, like terriers and sighthounds, were developed to chase and kill prey. The instinct is hotwired into them, and the dog may not be able to control the urge to chase and catch a tiny kitten. Extra care must be taken when introducing a kitten into a home with a resident dog that has such a heritage.

When introducing the new kitten to a canine companion, you should be the person who brings the baby into the house. That sends a message to the dog that his leader—you—have made this decision.

As with the kitten-to-cat introductions, the newcomer should remain in her own room for the first several days. Dogs that have been well-socialized to cats when they were puppies will likely display some curiosity and want to sniff at the door. Whines and even a few barks are fine. Be sure to watch the dog’s whole body to “read” his true intent.

Be alert for raised hackles—the fur along the neck and shoulders stands up with excitement and potential aggression. He may growl, or wag his high-held tail with excitement.

Let the dog sniff your hands and clothes after you’ve spent time with the kitten. He should have a good idea of what’s inside the room long before a face-to-face introduction takes place. Dogs often consider you to be the most important part of their territory, and so take care that he doesn’t feel neglected. Try to spend extra time with your dog, and interact with the kitten in her room when the dog is outside taking care of business or playing.

Once the kitten room has become old stuff, and any growls or raised hackles have subsided, it’s time to let the kitten explore the house. You can send the dog outside to the yard with another person, to play a game and keep him distracted.

Remember, the kitten won’t care to meet your dog until she’s familiar with the environment. It is paramount she has the opportunity to explore the house, uninterrupted, prior to a face-to-face introduction.

With a kitten-to-dog introduction, even when you are positive the dog wouldn’t hurt a fly, it’s important that you place the dog under leash control. Only then should the kitten be allowed out of her room, to meet the dog at her own pace. The leash is a safety precaution in case the kitten proves irresistible to your normally obedient pooch. It also reminds him that you are in charge of the interaction.

WARNING! Dog eyes can be damaged by a frightened kitten that lashes out in reaction to a nosy sniff. Before face-to-face meetings, be sure to clip the kitten’s claws.

Just as with the resident cat introductions, your goal is to have the dog associate the kitten’s presence with good things for him. Talk to him, give him treats, and praise him when he reacts favorably to the kitten. In the future, you can reinforce the notion that having a kitten around is a good thing by having a treat handy each time your dog acts “nice” to the new baby.

Be sure to segregate the kitten in her room whenever you are not there to supervise the two pets. Even friendly play can turn dangerous if either pet becomes over-excited or frightened. Kittens should always have available a “safe place” they can climb—like a chair back, or cat tree—that keeps them beyond the reach of the dog. Likewise, the dog must have a private place, like a crate, where he can go to escape unwanted attention.

Tip. Use a baby gate to keep the dog out of the kitten’s room, but allow the baby to come and go as needed. That gives the kitten access to her litter box and food, and a safe haven for naps. And it keeps the dog from pestering her, or from snacking out of her bowl or (yuck!) toilet.

Meeting Other Pets

Kittens can become best friends with a wide range of animals. Remember, though, that kittens grow into cats and will have a predatory interest in creatures smaller than themselves.

For instance, an aquarium filled with fish or reptiles offers great feline entertainment. So do cages with birds or pocket pets like gerbils or hamsters.

Remember, though, that small pets—especially birds—may suffer severe stress and develop behavior problems if pestered by an inquisitive kitten, even when they remain safely sequestered inside a cage. If you have these types of pets, the cage or aquarium should be set out of kitten reach, and doors or lids must be absolutely secure. You’d be surprised what a dexterous kitten paw can open.

The larger, more confident birds like parrots are at less risk for being traumatized by the presence of a kitten or cat. In fact, parrots often are so assertive they scare the kitten or cat, so she gives them a wide berth. Other times, the parrot learns to tease or treat the kitten by dropping toys or food within reach, or by calling to the kitten in a human “voice.”

Direct contact between your kitten and any bird, or small rodent-type pets, is not recommended because the risk is just too great. Let them be friends from a distance, and with the benefit of bars or glass between them. The exception here is cats and rabbits, which can become the best of buddies with the proper introductions.

Before introducing your kitten and rabbit, be sure all the toenails on both have been trimmed. Bunnies pack a powerful paw-punch, and you don’t want either pet to be injured.

You’ll also want to allow the kitten time to explore her surroundings, so she’ll be more eager to meet new pets. When the rabbit is bigger than your kitten, place the bunny in a carrier or cage before allowing the kitten to approach for a sniff at her own pace.

When the kitten and the rabbit are the same sizes, or the kitten is larger than the rabbit, it’s best to have both pets safely restrained on a halter and leash. Be ready to stop the interaction at the first sign of aggression from either pet. Most times, though, a confident rabbit will be quite interested in a kitten. And in fact, some experts say certain rabbits prefer the company and friendship of felines.

Eventually, cats and rabbits enjoy playing games of chase and hide and seek. Monitor the game to be sure nobody looks scared and stop it before it gets out of hand. If they’re taking turns being chased, it’s a game.

Never leave the kitten alone with the rabbit until you are satisfied they get along. Once properly introduced, you can expect them to become fast friends, play together, and even sleep together.

Kitten Meeting Children

Cute kid play with a cute kitten
pinterest.com

Children seem to have an affinity for kittens. You should know, however, that kittens may not see it that way—at least, at first. That’s because even though the kitten may trust adult humans, children are so very different she may not recognize them as safe. Depending on their age, a child has a much higher-pitched voice, often screams or cries, and moves very differently than adult people. Is it any wonder your kitten thinks the grandkids are from Mars?

Children need to understand that they can be scary to a tiny kitten—why from a kitten’s vantage, even a toddler looks like a giant! Running after her, reaching out with waving hands that might pull a tail or ear, making loud high-pitched squeals, will send a kitten diving under the bed. Even the gentlest kitten will defend herself out of fear or anger if she’s hurt or frightened.

WARNING! Kitten bites and scratches can quickly become serious. Needle-sharp teeth cause painful puncture wounds that easily get infected. And kitten claws sometimes carry bacteria that can cause CSD (cat scratch disease), which can cause mild to severe flu-like symptoms. If you or your child is bitten or scratched by your kitten, wash the wound thoroughly with warm soapy water. Then call your doctor or pediatrician for further instructions.

When your children want to make friends with the new kitten, ask them to first sit on the floor. Chasing the kitten will at worst, scare her, and at best, force her to do something she doesn’t like. The key here is to entice the kitten to come to the child on her own. Do that by making the experience positive and rewarding for the cat.

Sitting on the floor puts the child on the same level as the cat. That’s much less threatening or frightening to the new pet. During the first session, just let the kitten wander around the room, exploring, and have the children pretend to be part of the furniture. This way, the kitten learns that having them there is a normal part of her environment–ask them to please not pick her up yet, at this point. But if she comes near enough, and lets them, a quick gentle stroke along her back is fine.

How Old is Old Enough?

Pet owners are often anxious to share their affection for animals with their children. I’m often told by a parent that they want to get a pet to teach their kids about responsibility.

Certainly, children raised to appreciate and properly care for pets will carry that love with them for the rest of their lives. But what age is best? And how much can you expect from your children–or a new kitten?

Obviously, an infant is in no position to care for a kitten, although babies certainly may appreciate watching Kitty play, or touching her soft fur. Both infants and toddlers may aggravate a kitten to death, poking fingers into her eyes or pulling fist-fulls of fur. You will need to supervise all interactions between the new kitten and your infant or toddler. After all, when babies get together, anything can happen. You don’t want the kitten dragged about like a stuffed toy and injured, nor do you want your child scratched when he corners the frightened pet. Kittens old enough to outrun a toddler soon learn to avoid them.

By the time your children are six to seven years old, they can start to become a part of the kitty care team. Perhaps they can make sure the kitten always has fresh water, or can help “exercise” the baby each evening by playing with her. Young children will need direction on how to properly hold or pet a kitten—no poking, or tail-pulling allowed! Of course, the ultimate responsibility will be yours, and so be sure to supervise and follow-up to make sure the kitten’s needs are never overlooked.

For very small children, ask them to first practice petting on their own arm, so they know the best way to stroke the kitten without making her uncomfortable. Perhaps you and your child can take turns “pretending” to be the kitten.

Another great way for children to interact with the new kitten is playing with a long ribbon, feather, or fishing-pole toy. This is particularly helpful with shy kittens who fear to get too close—they can play safely from a distance, and learn that your child is fun to be around! Also, once the kitten has been worn out with play, she’ll be much more likely to want to cuddle on a lap.

Tip. The best way to pick up a kitten is with one hand beneath her chest, and the other cupping her furry bottom. That supports the whole cat so no feet dangle. And it also makes her feel more secure and less likely to struggle.

Whenever the children want to interact with the kitten, make it a rule that they should sit down on the floor, nearby, and let her approach them.

That will also help them control excited loud voices. Explain that Kitty prefers soft-pitched talk and that yells and screams and high-pitched voices are scary to cats.

After several successful sessions of play with the fishing pole toy, your kitten should learn that the children are fun, and they don’t grab at her and make her feel scared.

Once she starts to venture closer, make sure the children have a couple of scrumptious cat treats ready to offer her. If she can learn to associate your child with playtime and treats, she’ll more readily accept them.

WARNING! Never let your kitten play with fingers, hands, or feet. It’s great fun for her to bite and pounce on these moving objects, but she can hurt or frighten you (or your children) if she gets too excited. A kitten grabbing your ankles as you walk down the stairs could, in fact, be dangerous. Instead, give her suitable toys to bite and wrestle, like stuffed animals.

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