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How to Socialize a Kitten With New People

By Cheryl Lock

If you just brought a new kitten into your home, one of the first things you probably want to do is introduce him to all your friends.

Here’s where you’ll need to take a second. Of course there’s nothing wrong with introducing your new kitten to new people, but meeting new people can be a little scary for some kittens, says Adi Hovav, Feline Behavior Counselor at the ASPCA’s Adoption Center.

“Every kitten is different, but those who have had lots of exposure to people from a very young age will probably not be too stressed out by meeting new people,” Hovav said. “A kitten who did not get a lot of human interaction as a baby will likely be more stressed out when socializing with new people.”

Of course hope is not lost. Start slowly, and let the kitten approach the visitor first, suggests Hovav.

“Make sure visitors are sitting quietly and have yummy treats or toys to offer the kitten. As the kitten begins to freely approach the visitor, have visitors offer interactive playtime with toys that the kitten can chase or pounce on. When the kitten is comfortable, you can give visitors the okay to do some petting and cuddling.” 

Keep in mind that reaching out and grabbing a kitten can be very scary, even for a brave kitten, and should be a strict no-no for visitors.

“If a kitten is hiding, lure them out with toys or treats instead of forcing them,” says Hovav. “Making loud noises or fast movements are also frightening to a kitten, so instruct visitors to sit quietly and wait for the kitten to approach them.”

A kitten should also always meet new people in a place where she is comfortable, since meeting new people compounded with a new environment can often be overwhelming and stressful.

Image: Cherry-Merry / Shutterstock

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