Thursday, November 17, 2011

Why don't we socialize our cats?

Mom says she has been thinking a lot about this subject of socializing cats.  She works with all the cats in a big shelter (we are ok with that as long as she doesn't keep any!).  She says most people would be surprized to learn that cats that are surrendered by the owners are usually the most difficult to interact with compared to a stray cat when they first arrive. 

You see, stray cats have just made it big by being brought to the shelter.  They now have a warm, safe place to sleep.  They are served food.  They have fresh litter.  It's a palace compared to the streets.  Cats that are surrendered by their owners, however, have downgraded in their lifestyle.  As nice as the shelter is, and the people take really good care of all the animals, it's not home.  It's not familiar people, smells, noises.  It's scary. 

So, this got Mom to thinking.  It's just a given that when someone gets a puppy or a dog, that you are supposed to socialize it.  With other dogs, people, kids, taking it out to the store, park, going for walks around the block, etc...  Why don't cat owners do that for their cats? 

Yes, cats like to be independent, but we are social creatures, too.  Just when we want to be.  But, why do people just think "it's just a cat" and not work with it. 

Now, Mom kind of sees this topic in a different view.  She hopes no one ever has to give up their cat, or any of their pets, but unfortunately it happens.  If cats were socialized and exposed more to people, other pets, kids, noise, etc... then there would be less "fraidy cats".  Your cat's vet would probably hug you and thank you for this!  If you had to board your cat, it would make the transition easier.  And, if you had to surrender your cat, well, this makes them that much more adoptable.

So, how do you socialize a cat?  That's where Mom is looking for some advice. 

Obviously, introducing the new cat or kitten to friends and family in a safe environment would help, and following up with some tasty reward and praise.  Handling the cat or kitten would get them used to being held, touched, etc...  The cat might at the very least tolerate this!  Clicker Training would be a great way to help, as well. 

Overall, wouldn't socializing your cat or kitten benefit them in all kinds of ways?  And, that can only be a good thing.  Plus we cats would get tasty treats! Meow!!

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