Socialize an adult cat
If you decided to adopt a cat or have a long time but can not socialize with dogs or other cats entered the appropriate site. In this article of Animal Expert we show you what are the factors that influence the socialization of a cat and what possibility are there for a cat that is welcomed in a house, be a docile animal with people.
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When someone rescues a cat from the street and takes it home, it 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 (sometimes impossible). If it is a docile animal, no problem, but it can be the case of being an aggressive and / or fearful animal, which can make it very difficult to live with humans. Keep reading and find out how to socialize an adult cat .
How is the behavior of a cat formed?
The cat is a feline, solitary and territorial predator. It may at times share territories with other cats (especially matched females), but hierarchical tensions are frequent .
In the cat there are several variables that influence his behavior, the most important being 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 its environment. So you can become familiar with the environment, relate to other cats, other animals, places, odors, food or the presence of humans among many other things.
During this period the animal develops multiple experiences and receives various information from the environment around it, and there is no fear response until the end of this period. Anything that “lives” during this short time will mark the cat’s future behavior. In addition, there are other factors that influence the behavior of the cat, which we explain below. Using positive reinforcement for example is a way to guide you to a desired conduct.
What other factors influence a cat’s behavior?
On the one hand, the mother’s feeding during pregnancy and lactation greatly influences the ability of the kittens to learn and the conduct of fear and aggression. Poor feeding during this period gives rise to cats with little learning ability and with fearful and / or aggressive responses.
The father’s mildness influences the future behavior of the litter. A docile father and a period of socialization with the presence of humans will originate very docile cats. A docile father will give way to docile kittens, although it is the period of socialization that shapes this behavior more in the case of contact with humans.
One aspect that should be taken into account is that the most aggressive cats are those that in principle have a greater reproductive success, since they acquire the “right to mount the cats in heat”, although the cat’s sexual behavior causes other cats the less aggressive the possibility of transmitting their genes.
Why is it so complicated to socialize an adult cat?
The best advice one can give is to rescue a kitten during the period of socialization. This 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 one does not know who the father is, even different cats can be parents of the same litter.
In case you want to adopt an adult cat, the criteria of choice are more complicated. A cat approaching spontaneously to a human is a good candidate (in principle it is gentle and curious), although later new problems may arise , such as adaptation to the new territory, the presence of other cats, etc. In spite of everything we think we should try!
Tricks to socialize a cat
The basic and essential requirement of this process will be the patience and affection that we can offer our cat. Socializing this animal can be tricky but not impossible if we devote adequate time. If you have doubts or if the situation gets complicated do not hesitate to consult a professional who can help you.
Socializing a cat with the human being
To win the trust of the cat use some tricks previously mentioned such as offering moist food that the cat considers irresistible (preferably give in your hand), speak softly and play with it. However not all cats will accept this close conduct with the human being, it is even normal for the cat to flee from you . We must be patient and respectful and never force the animal to do something it does not want.
Socializing a cat with other cats
It can happen that the cat is aloof with the people but that it relates very well with other felines since it has always lived in group. If you do not know anything about your past and are considering adopting another cat or you already have one and you do not know what it’s going to be like when you put both together, we recommend the following:
First of all, you should know that cats are tremendously territorial, that is, in the beginning, they should avoid being found many times. Let them get used to smelling the 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 them look at a distance and observe their behavior. A glass door, for example, is perfect to see as they come. Although notice positive behavior do not join them immediately, let two or three days pass.
The cat fights are extremely terrible, so you must be present at your first encounter. Put a tab or harness on both cats (though it will be uncomfortable for both) to be able to stop an attack if it happens.
Socialize a cat with dog
The procedure of socializing a cat with a dog is very similar to what we explained in the previous case. First it will be crucial for both of you to realize that there is another animal living in your same home. Leaving pieces of clothing smelling the other on your bed is a good way to start.
Then we must make sure that there is eye contact between them to observe their reactions and to prove what each one does. Finally, the safety of the first meeting will be paramount to avoid misfortune.
Take some time between each step so that both of you tolerate each other and begin to accept each other. Never force a date if you both try to run away. The consequences can be very serious, even for you.
How can you socialize an adult street cat?
The behavior change of an adult animal is quite complex. On the one hand it is necessary to develop a strategy of patience so that the animal gradually loses its sensitivity to certain stimuli.
The presence of a human in a constant way, at a prudent distance and without negative consequences for the cat , can cause the animal to go little by little relying increasingly closer to the human. At this point it must be remembered that the cat is not as social an animal as the dog, so the calls, caresses and attempts to play with them can be dangerous to the well-intentioned owner.
After desensitization begins, it is possible to start rewarding the cat with something he likes (especially food) in the face of some conduct. This is called “positive reinforcing operant conditioning.” If the cat associates some conduct with the prize, it will repeat that conduct again.
The response of cats to these strategies is often very individualized, so it is not possible to give success times or percentages.
What if I can not socialize my cat?
In these cases the most recommendable is to have a professional to advise us some tricks or advanced guidelines that we can follow in order to, little by little, move forward in this stage of learning.
If you want to read the similar articles as Socialize an adult cat , we recommend that you enter our behavior problems section .