Friday 21 January 2011

Cat handled during the first 8 weeks of life builds a confident cat

I think the title to this short post is actually common sense but it was one of the findings of a research study: Ontogeny of individuality in the domestic cat in the home environment by Sarah E. Lowe and John W. S. Bradshaw , Anthrozoology Institute, University of Southampton, UK.

Domestic cats have varying personalities and the factors that mold these personalities is the same sort of things that create our characters.

Ideally, domestic cats need to have rounded and confident characters if they are to be the best kind of cat companion. The more extrovert sociable cat interacts better with his or her human companion and mixes better with other cats and people. The frightened and/or shy cat is more likely to be defensive in nature and that can translate to aggression through fear.

What creates this boldness is correct handling during the first 8 weeks of life - in short excellent socialisation. These are the formative moments that are equivalent to the first 6 years of life of a person. Excellent socialization includes handling by people, interaction with other animals and other people.

The best cat breeders ensure that their cats are not only good looking but well socialised so that they do their job: be a fine companion to their human caretaker.

Incidentally, in feral cats boldness or a proactive character is beneficial as it improves the chances of having offspring (reproductive success) but a negative is that the bold feral cat is more likely to fall foul of the serious illness of feline aids. Overall natural selection seems to say that there is a benefit, however.

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  1. On 4/28/10 a ferel queen I was feeding(friendly to me only)scratched on my front door in labor.I accompanied her in giving birth to 5 beautiful kittens.The next day I brought them in my house & gave them the entire upstairs;2 rooms and bathroom.

  2. ....anyways,9 months later the kittens treat me like a friendly loyal dog.They all dont mind me holding them.They even roll over like dogs on command & sit on my shoulder like a parot.So I can attest that handling cats from day 1 makes a huge difference...

  3. Matt, you're a good person. Thanks for the comment.


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