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by Rolan Tripp, DVM and Susan Tripp, MS

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Kittenhood - Kitten Parties


What are kitten parties?

 

A kitten party, similar to a kitten socialization class, is simply getting a group and people and kittens together in a safe, indoor environment. Some veterinary practices make their lobbies available after hours for this purpose. Ideally, kittens are ages 6 weeks to about 12 weeks as the critical socialization and social learning period for kittens ends at about 10 to 12 weeks of age.

 

Why participate in a kitten party?

 

The goal of a kitten party is provide the kitten positive experiences that help shape a friendly, confident, loving, playful personality that is no fearful or aggressive with people later in life. A kitten party broadens the kitten's experience and socialization skills by introducing (under controlled circumstances) many friendly, positive people and other kittens. Ideally, a kitten-friendly dog and adult cat would also be introduced. Introductions must be controlled to assure a positive experience and coupled with treats and praise.

 

At kitten parties, kittens learn how to play, to make friends and to build their confidence around other felines and people.

 

What activities are provided in a kitten party?

 

The most important factor for a successful kitten party is to be sure the kittens are hungry to give the treats more power to shape and reward desirable behaviors.

 

1.  "Pass the Kitten" starts by a group of people sitting in a circle each holding a kitten on a lap, giving the kitten a treat. After one treat and friendly stroking and praise, the kitten is gently handed to the person on the right who repeats the treat, stroking and praise.

Never force your kitten to tolerate handling. Do as much as the kitten can handle then release to an enclosed, safe, enriched play area. For kittens or adult cats at home, after a brief time out, try coaxing your feline back with the food treat.

2.  "Kitten Cuddling" starts with the kitten gently lifted off the ground. Offering treats and soft loving encouragement, gently manipulate the kitten's body ending with a gentle but firm hug against your body, offering a treat for relaxation. Kitten learn that humans are strong enough to control a cat's body.  However, by offering treats, praise and cuddling, kittens learn there is no threat or reason to fear humans.

 

3.  "Teaching Sit" starts with a hungry kitten standing with 100% attention on a treat inside of a closed hand. As you move the hand VERY slowly up, the cat's nose follows. As you slowly move the hand back (horizontal to the floor, just 1/4 inch above the by it for a food treat from other people. This experience teaches your cat that all humans are trustworthy, friendly leader types.

Schedule your cat's kitten party before 4 months of age.
Kittens need early repetitive human contact to become IdealCats™.  If kittens are too isolated before 7 weeks of age, they may become shy, reserved cats, and apprehensive around strangers.

 

Establishing trust with all humans can prevent unprovoked and out of context aggressive behaviors later in the cat's life.


Once kittens have reached 12 weeks of age they are less receptive and harder to influence and control.  So, a few days after you bring your cat or your next kitten home, it's party time! 
 

Children and adults should come to your cat's kitten party.
Schedule a party of friends (3 to 8 people) to come over to meet your cat. The purpose for this is to exercise the kitten's social skills and to teach your cat that children and adults alike give friendly hugs and cookies and are not to be feared.
 

If you have an older cat, these steps can still be taken but much slower with much slower progress.  However, it is never too late to change your pet's perception nd behavior with professional help.  If you would like a Veterinary Behavior Case Analysis and Custom Behavior Modification Program for you cat, please call us 1-800-372-3706 ext. 88 to get started.
 

From approximately two to five months of age kitten teeth emerge as  sharp, narrow teeth for  play hunting consuming solid food .


Early rules of thumb

Never yell or hit your kitten for any reason. Supervise all indoor exploration for safety and to gently remove the kitten from unwanted areas or to interrupt unwanted behaviors. Keeping your kitten in a small room with a variety of litterboxes - that are easy to get into - and a safe climbing and scratching posts will help your kitten develop good habits that last a lifetime. Preventing bad habits is easier than correcting established behavior patterns.
 

"Helping you raise a fabulous feline friend for life."

Improving Relationships between Pets and People!

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