ISSN 2398-2950      

Kitten socialization

ffelis
Contributor(s):

Sarah Ellis

Ilona Rodan


Introduction

  • The early psychological development of kittens is of concern to the veterinary profession because inadequate socialization and habituation can result in cats who are fearful and/or anxious of people, other animals and of the general environment surrounding them Lack of appropriate socialization and/or habituation. Many behavior problems such an inappropriate elimination Indoor toileting and aggression Aggression: overview (both human and cat-directed) are often a behavioral expression of such fear and anxiety which can hold serious negative consequences in terms of animal welfare.
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Definitions: socialization, sensitive period, habituation, sensitization

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The influence of genetic and environmental factors on kitten socialization

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Practical considerations to a socialization program

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Lowe S E & Bradshaw J W (2001) Ontogeny of individuality in the domestic cat in the home environment. Animal Behaviour 61 (1), 231-237 PubMed.
  • McCune S (1995) The impact of paternity and early socialisation on the development of cats' behaviour to people and novel objects. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 45 (1-2), 109-124 VetMedResource.
  • Reisner I R, Houpt K A, Erb H N et al (1994) Friendliness to humans and defensive aggression in cats: the influence of handling and paternity. Physiology and Behaviour 55 (6), 1119-1124 PubMed.
  • Feaver J, Mendl M & Bateson P (1986) A method for rating individual distinctiveness of domestic cats. Animal Behaviour 34 (4), 1016-1025 ScienceDirect.
  • Turner D C, Feaver J, Mendl M et al (1986) Variations in domestic cat behaviour towards humans: a paternal effect. Animal Behaviour 34 (6), 1890-1892 ScienceDirect.
  • Bateson P (1979) How do sensitive periods arise and what are they for? Animal Behaviour 27 (2), 470-486 ScienceDirect.
  • Moelk M (1979) The development of friendly approach behaviour in the cat: a study of kitten-mother relations and the cognitive development of the kitten from birth to eight weeks. Advances in the Study of Animal Behaviour 10, 163-224 ScienceDirect.
  • Rheingold H L & Eckerman C O (1971) Familiar social and nonsocial stimuli and the kitten's response to a strange environment. Developmental Psychobiology (1), 71-89 PubMed.
  • Collard R R (1967) Fear of strangers and play behaviour in kittens with varied social experience. Child Development 38 (3), 877-891 PubMed.
  • Meir G W & Stuart J L (1959) Effects of handling on the physical and behavioural development of Siamese kittens. Psychological Reports 5, 497-501 SAGE Journals.
  • Seitz P F D (1959) Infantile experience and adult behavior in animal subjects: II. Age of separation form the mother and adult behavior in the cat. Psychometric Medicine 21, 353-378 SemanticScholar.

Other sources of information

  • Yin S (2011) Kitty Kindergarten: Creating the New Improved Cat Through Early Kitty Socialization. Webinar available in PDF form at: http://www.hsvma.org/pdf/webinars/kitty-kindergarten.pdf.
  • Yin S (2009) Low Stress Handling, Restraint and Behavior Modification of Dogs and Cats: techniques for Developing Patients Who Love Their Visits.
  • Case L P (2003) Chapter 7: Developmental Behavior. In: The Cat: its behavior, nutrition and health. Iowa State Press, pp119-130.
  • Bickett A (2002) The impact of early socialization on cats reared in a re-homing shelter. MSc thesis, University of Edinburgh.
  • Mendl M & Harcourt R (2000) Individuality in the domestic cat: origins, development and stability. In: The Domestic Cat: the Biology of its behaviour. Turner D C & Bateson P (eds), Cambridge University Press, pp 48-64.
  • Landsberg G, Hunthausen W, Ackerman L (1997) Behaviour Problems of the Dog and Cat. Butterworth Heinemann. Oxford, England.
  • Seskel K (1997) Kitty Kindy. In: Proceedings of the First International Conference on Veterinary Behavioural Medicine, Birmingham, UK, April 1-2. Eds: DS Mills, SE Health and LJ Harrington, 20-27.
  • McCune S, McPherson J A & Bradshaw J S W (1995) Avoiding problems: the importance of socialisation. In: The Waltham Book of Human-Animal Interaction: Benefits and responsibilities of pet ownership. Ed Robinson I. Pergamon, pp 71-86.
  • Appleby D L (1993) Socialisation & habituation. In: Fisher J (Ed) The Behaviour of Dogs and Cats. Stanley Paul.
  • Ledger R (1993) Factors influencing responses of kittens to humans and novel objects. Msc Thesis, University of Edinburgh.
  • Bradshaw J W S (1992) Chapter 9: The Cat-Human Relationship. In: The behaviour of the domestic cat. CAB International, pp169-171.
  • Beaver B V (1992) Chapter 4: Feline Social Behavior. In: Feline Behavior: A guide for veterinarians. W B Saunders Company. Philadelphia, USA, pp 95-97.
  • Karsh E B & Turner D C (1988) The human-cat relationship. In: The Domestic Cat: the Biology of its behaviour. Eds. D C Turner & P Bateson. Cambridge University Press, pp 159-177.
  • Mendl M (1986) Effects of litter size and sex of young on behavioural development in domestic cats. PhD Thesis, University of Cambridge.
  • Karsh E B (1984) Factors influencing the socialization of cats to people. In: The Pet Connection: its Influence on our Health and Quality of Life. Eds. R K Anderson, B L Hart and L A Hart. pp207-215. University of Minnesota Press.
  • Immelmann K & Suomi S (1982) Sensitive phases in development. In: Behavioral Development. Immelmann K, Barlow G S W, Petrinovich L & Main M (eds), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
  • Bateson P (1981) Control of sensitivity to the environment during development. In: Behavioural Development.  Immelmann K, Barlow G S W, Petrinovich L & Main M (eds) Cambridge University Press, pp 432-453.

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