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Cat Social Behavior - Shy, Playful, Aggressive & More

Many people think that cats are haughty and aloof creatures who prefer solitude. However, this is not always true. Some felines may prefer to stay alone but there are many who seek out groups and human contact. The genes of the father often determine cat behaviour. So, whether they grow up to be bold or timid, friendly or aggressive can, thus, be hereditary. However, if our furry friends receive human attention and handling when they are 2 to 7 weeks old, they may grow up to be more friendly, affectionate, and less aggressive.

While felines may not be as effusive as dogs, they have their own unique ways of exhibiting affection. For example, if you are wondering, why my cat keeps meowing and rubbing against everything? It is a friendly gesture. The meaning of cats licking owners or a cat rubbing against leg, curling up against us, and purring at us shows that we are dear to them and that they need our attention.

Here are some tips on how to socialise with furries.

Why and How to Socialise with a Cat?

If you are a cat parent, you won’t want your furry little munchkin to fight with other animals or be aggressive towards other people, especially children. You need to train your fur babies at the kitten stage to avoid such unnecessary aggression. Kittens are very impressionable and the social inputs they receive determine their personality. If you introduce your kitten to other animals or children or have frequent visitors who shower the kitty with affection, they will grow up friendly. If they do not meet other people or animals like kittens, they will be wary of strangers as they grow up.

One easy way to ensure that your furball meets many people and socialises even if you lead a solitary life is to take them out for walks, frequent grooming sessions, or regular check-ups at the vet's clinic. This shall mean that your kitty meets other people and animals and interacts with them very early in their lifespan. Thus, you provide them with opportunities for happy, stress-free socialisation. They get used to playing with others and being touched, thereby growing into a friendly, playful cat.  If you have an aggressive cat, you have to be very patient with them and gently help them to get accustomed to people and other animals on their own terms.

Socialisation with Shy Cat

A shy cat will flee, hide, or cower upon meeting strangers or other animals. The best way to socialise with them is to help them feel safe and secure. You can do the following —

  • Create spaces where they can hide easily so as to reduce their anxiety
  • Follow a regular socialising routine with your kitty
  • Ensure that your fur baby isn’t being bullied by other animals
  • Sit quietly in your kitty’s presence so that they get used to you and approach you. You may give them a treat while you read or listen to calming music so that they associate you with a happy experience.

Taking these steps will help your shy cat become friendlier and more confident. You may then socialise with them by playing using small toys, or rewarding them with treats when they approach you, building up to where they will get used to you stroking and petting them.

Socialisation with Playful Cat

Cats like to play and a friendly, playful cat is a cat parent’s dream until they get the zoomies and start running around at full speed, toppling things over, or start playful fighting with resident pets that soon turns into a full-fledged feud! If you have such a playful little munchkin at home, you may follow these steps to socialise with them.

  • Use their playtime effectively to ensure energy release. Involve them in high-energy but structured games and/or activities.
  • Take them outdoors but ensure they aren’t being bullied by other animals or children.
  • If your kitty is being hyper-energetic and playful only for a burst of a few minutes, simply allow the cat behaviour until they burn out. Not everything needs to be remedied.
  • A cat licking her body vigorously indicates an itch or even nausea. If they continue to remain hyperactive or stressed over long periods of time, consult your vet and check for hyperthyroidism which may often trigger such restless behaviour.

Socialise with Scared Cat

If your kitty is particularly timid or scared, it may be hereditary or it may be a sign of some bad experience or trauma in the past. These furballs require extra love, care, and attention. Here are some ways in which you can help your scared little feline friend.

  • You have to be extremely patient with a scared feline. You have to be gentle and kind, and let them approach you in their own time. Do not do anything that might startle them. Always keep their needs in mind before you plan an activity.
  • You may create a routine around them so that your kitty knows what to expect from their day and when they might be visited by you or others you want them to socialise with.
  • You may also create hiding spaces for them around the house so they have safe spaces to go to when they feel anxious.

Socialisation with Aggressive Cat

First, you have to understand what is causing such aggressive behaviour in your feline friend. Some triggers may be temporary and manageable while others may be a bit trickier. Here are some tips on how to socialise with an aggressive cat.

  • Prevent games where your munchkin is allowed to bite you, claw at you or fight with you, even if it seems harmless at first. They may bite or claw at a stuffed toy instead.  Cats licking owners or a cat rubbing against leg is fine. Biting or clawing should be prevented. A rubbing cat means that the cat may be in heat or may be marking their territory.
  • If you bring in a new pet or if the kitty is a new member and you already have another pet, keep the feeding, sleeping, and litter zones separate in the beginning until they get used to each other.
  • ‘My cat keeps meowing and rubbing against everything’ is a common query with cat parents. It means your feline friend is either marking their territory or is in heat. Ignoring is often a better way to deal with aggressive behaviour than meting out punishment.
  • Avoid over grooming in cats and seek veterinary advice if aggressive cat behaviour persists.

Other Tips to Socialise with Cats

  • In order to make your cat social, use a calm voice around your furry babies and be composed and regular in your actions. Loud, startling sounds or actions may create a stressful environment for your little furry munchkin.
  • If you are lifting your kitty, make them feel secure by placing your palm under its chest and lifting them gently. They should not feel stressed or tense as you lift them.
  • As you begin stroking your fur baby, remember that they too are just getting used to you and may have their own boundaries. Stroke their heads and backs gently and stroke their bellies later as they become more at ease in your company. They will actually let you know when you can pet them on their belly. Cat purring while lying close to you on their back and exposing their belly is usually a very good indicator of this!
  • When you first bring home your furry baby, and especially if they are small, bend down to their level or stay as close to the ground as possible for the first few weeks so that they don’t feel anxious about you towering like a giant over them! This helps reduce a lot of stress and anxiety in kittens.

FAQ on Cat Social Behaviour

How do I get my Cat to Socialise More?

Getting kittens socialised is a very good start. You may also try to take cats out for walks, to the park, to grooming sessions, or to regular vet check-ups where they can meet other animals and humans in order to make a cat social.

How do I Socialise my Cat with Strangers?

Be patient with your furry munchkin and give them the freedom to approach strangers on their own terms. Never push it! Always ensure gentle and positive experiences with strangers so that they feel comfortable and at ease when socialising.

How do I make my Cat not Scared of People?

You have to be patient with your kitty. Create hiding spaces where they can retreat when they feel stressed. Allow them to approach people rather than the other way around. Encourage positive experiences with other people through treat rewards.

How do I stop my cat from being aggressive towards strangers?

Remember that aggression may stem from traumatic experiences of the past. Be extremely kind and gentle towards your kitty and ensure positive experiences with strangers to mitigate the effects of poor past experiences. Avoid over grooming in cats and consult a vet for expert advice.

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