This post is sponsored by Hill’s. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Hill’s® Science Diet® and Food, Shelter & Love™ Program, but BLING, BITCHES & BLOOD only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. is not responsible for the content of this article.
Nothing trumps kittens for furry love, but when March kitten season rolls around, your local animal shelters drowned in a furry tide of cats of all ages that need adoption. Kittens can become pregnant as early as 4-5 months of age! Yes, babies having babies–that explains the bumper crop of kittens, right?
Thank heavens for fostering, dedicated shelter staff, and you–yes, YOU, one of the folks who volunteer, visit to help socialize the pets, donate your time or toys, or just SHARE this message to help give cats a paws up. Just spreading good information about care helps ensure kitties get the best chance for adoption. Y’all do the work of the angels.
THREE T’s OF KITTEN SOCIALIZATION
Yes, kittens (and cats) CAN be trained! I know that I’m preaching to the choir. Never doubt that you can make a positive difference while fostering, helping the babies through proper socialization. While kids are taught the three Rs, kitten socialization involves learning the Three Ts:
- Touching: Touch the baby all over gently with pets, handling the ears, paws, tummy and more. Being taught that touch is pleasant helps with bonding to people, and hearkens back to how Mom-Cat cared for her babies. A kitten that accepts and trusts handling will be less stressed by veterinary exams, and so get proper timely care as she grows up.
- Talking: Kittens don’t use words to communicate, but will need to pay attention to humans who do talk. She won’t understand all your words, but certainly understand the emotion. You can teach kittens to pay attention to humans simply by responding to them with the same words and phrases each time. Try saying, “You’re beautiful.” or “I love you.” or “I’ll keep you safe, baby.” And mean it–and she’ll understand, and blossom and BECOME beautiful, and more confident.
- Timing: Kittens and adult cats pay exquisite attention to the details of their life. They easily learn consequences when they make mistakes (or do something right) if you tell them THAT is what I like, or THAT is not acceptable. Since cats do NOT respond well to punishment, think about catching kittens and cats in the act of doing something RIGHT and rewarding the behavior with praise, toys, healthy treats, or praise. Give the reward immediately–timing is key–to ensure good communication.
HILL’S® FOOD, SHELTER & LOVE ™ PROGRAM
More help is always welcome, of course. That’s where the Hill’s® Food, Shelter & Love ™ Program comes in, and not just for kitten season. The company donates food to shelters across the country 365 days a year, to date $240 million worth of food to nearly 1,000 shelters, helping over 6 million pets find a new home.
How kewl is that?! but it’s the babies–kittens–that benefit most, because proper nutrition has such a lasting impact on health and happiness. Good food even impacts kitty mood.
I sure wish my two cats had the benefit of good nutrition during their first months of life. Y’all have read how my Serendipity showed up as a dumped kitten nearly 19 years ago, and then barely a year ago Karma-Kat did the same thing. I often wonder if Seren, still barely 6 pounds, wasn’t somewhat stunted by her lack of good early nutrition. Karma, on the other paw, is obsessed with food probably because he had to scrounge and struggle to survive.
Today, of course, they’re both spoiled rotten (sorta kinda in a way) centers of my life! Yep, they have the perfect perch on the dining room table under a stained glass lampshade (heat lamp?) in front of my laptop computer. Doesn’t every cat?
Is your shelter a part of the Hill’s Food, Shelter & Love program? Do you want to be? Find out all the details here.
Now it’s your turn. Do you volunteer at your local shelter? Do you foster? How did you find your kitty-of-your dreams? Do tell!
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