If you have decided to adopt a cat or have been with him for a long time but you can not socialize with dogs or other cats, you have entered the right place. In this article we will teach you what are the factors that influence the socialization of a cat and what possibilities there are for a cat that is received in a home, be a docile animal with people.
When someone picks up a stray cat and takes it to his house, he has to be aware that it is an animal with a more or less consolidated behavior and that it can be very difficult to change it (sometimes it is impossible). If it is a docile animal, there is no problem, but it can be the case that it is an aggressive and / or fearful animal, which can greatly complicate coexistence with humans. Keep reading and discover how socialize an adult cat.
How is the behavior of a cat formed?
The cat is a feline, solitary and territorial predator. It can at times share territories with other cats (over all related females), but hierarchical tensions are frequent.
In the cat there are different variables that influence their behavior, the most important being the one known as “sensitive period of socialization” It is a time that runs from the second to the seventh week of the cat’s life. During this period of maturation of the central nervous system, the cat begins to have the senses mature enough to be able to explore the environment. A) Yes becomes familiar with its surroundings, how to relate to other cats, other animals, places, smells, food or the presence of humans, among many others.
During this period the animal develops multiple experiences and receives multiple information from the environment that surrounds it, there being no fear response until the end of this period. Everything that “lives” during this short space of time, will mark the future behavior of the cat. In addition there are other factors that influence the behavior of a cat, which will be discussed below. Using positive reinforcement for example is a way of guiding you towards a desired behavior.
What other factors influence the behavior of a cat?
On the one hand feeding the motherDuring pregnancy and lactation, it has a powerful influence on the learning ability of kittens and on the behavior of fear and aggression. A poor diet during this period gives rise to cats with little learning capacity and with fearful and / or aggressive responses.
La father’s docility it greatly influences the future behavior of the litter. A docile father and a period of socialization with the presence of humans will give rise to very docile cats. A very little docile father will give rise to little docile kittens, although it will be the period of socialization that sweetens this behavior in case of contact with humans.
One aspect that must be taken into account is that the most aggressive cats are those that in principle have greater reproductive success, because they acquire the “right to mount more cats in heat”, although the sexual behavior of the cat makes other males less aggressive people have the possibility of transmitting their genes. Discover here some advantages of sterilizing a cat.
The best advice that can be given is to pick up the kitten during the socialization period, it is the way to ensure that the animal can live in the future with humans. However, the behavior of the parent influences, but this variable can not be controlled, because it is not known which parent, even (different cats can be parents of the same litter) can be different parent cats of the same litter.
In the case of wanting to adopt an adult cat, the criteria of choice are rather complicated. A cat that spontaneously approaches a human is a good candidate (at first it is docile and curious), although later new problems may arise, as would be the adaptation to the new territory, the presence of other cats, etc. However, we encourage you to try it, read on.
The basic and essential requirement of this process will be patience and affection that we can offer to our cat. Socializing this animal can be complicated but not impossible if we dedicate the right time. If you have doubts or the situation is complicated do not hesitate to consult a professional to help you.
With the human being
To gain the trust of the cat we will use some of the tricks mentioned above, such as offering wet food that the cat considers irresistible (preferably from our hand), speaking softly or playing with it. However, not all cats will accept this close behavior with humans. We must be patient and respectful and never force the animal to do something you do not want
With other cats
It may happen that the cat is surly with people but that it is related to other cats because it has always lived in cat colonies. If you do not know anything about your past and you are thinking about adopting another cat or you already have one and you do not know how it will turn out to be together, we recommend the following:
First of all you should know that cats are tremendously territorial so, at the beginning, you should avoid being at all costs but you should get used to smell of the new member of the family. Use a bed for a few days and change it to discover that there is another cat living in your home.
Let it look at a certain distance and observe their behavior. A glass door, for example, is perfect to see how they can be carried. Even if you observe positive behavior do not immediately gather them, let a couple of days go by.
The fights of cats are tremendously terrible, for that reason you must be present at their first meeting. Put a strap or harness on both cats (although we know that it will be a bit uncomfortable) to be able to stop an attack if it happens.
With a dog
The procedure of socializing a cat with a dog is very similar to the one explained in the previous case. First it will be basic that both understand that there is another animal living in the same house. Leaving clothes with the smell of the other in your bed is a good way to start.
Then we must ensure that there is visual contact between them to observe their reactions and check what each one does. Finally safety at their first meeting It will be essential to avoid a misfortune.
Allowing some time between step and step will be fundamental so that both are tolerated and begin to accept each other. Never force an encounter if both try to flee, the consequences could be very serious (even for you).
The behavior change of an adult animal is quite complex. On the one hand you have to develop a strategy of patience and that the animal go slowly desensitizing to certain stimuli.
The presence of a human constantly, at a prudent distance and no negative consequences for the cat, can make the animal go little by little trusting and approaching more and more the human. At this point we must remember that the cat is not as social an animal as the dog, so the calls, the caresses and the attempt to play with them can be dangerous for the well-intentioned owner.
Once the desensitization begins to be a fact, it is possible to start rewarding the cat with something that he likes (especially food) before the performance of some behavior. This is called “operant conditioning of positive reinforcement.” If the cat associates some behavior with the prize, it will repeat it again.
The response of cats to these strategies is usually very individualized, so it is not possible to give times or percentages of successes. Find out more on how to tame a wild cat.
In these cases the most advisable will be go to a professional to advise us some advanced tips or tricks that we can continue to, little by little, advance in this stage of learning.
If you want to read more articles similar to Socialize an adult cat, we recommend that you enter in our behavior problems section.