This is British short hair kitten Marshall who was in yesterday for his second vaccine. Totally adorable (he also smelt wonderfully of Christmas from the wax melts his mum had been using at home!) and we loved playing with him during his appointment.
Being exposed to lots of positive and varied experiences at an early age is really important for helping to reduce stress and anxiety in cats in later life. Cats are most accepting of new experiences up to 6 months of age, so the more you focus on socialisation during kitten-hood, the greater the likelihood of a happy, well-rounded adult cat!
Even before kitten arrives with you, if kitten has been exposed to normal household sounds and different home environments and has had the opportunity to mix with other people and pets, this all helps. Ask the breeder!
And when you welcome kitten into your home, keep introducing new experiences, but gradually so kitten isn’t overwhelmed. Reward curiosity and calm behaviour, and be sure to remove kitten from a sight or sound if they are frightened. Getting kitten used to being picked up will help them to be more confident and sociable in later life.
Exposing kitten to positive experiences at the vets is no different. At vaccination appointments kitten gets to meet new people, and have lots of cuddles and treats. We highly recommend bringing kitten back on a monthly basis until they reach 6 months of age. As well as weighing and worming, it’s an important socialisation process – positive familiarity will help cats be less fearful on future visits.
We can’t wait to see Marshall back next month for more cuddles and play!