Sacred Birman kittens with mother black and white

Kitten socialisation and play

Socialisation should start as early as possible, to avoid any unwanted behaviours and help them develop into confident, even tempered adult cats. Find out how and why you should socialise your kitten.

Kitten Socialisation FAQs

While kittens are often seen to be independent, it’s important to guide their behaviour early on in life, set simple rules, and encourage sociable habits. Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions about socialisation and tips on how to get started.

Kitten sitting indoors with a little girl

The basics of socialisation

To be able to successfully socialise your kitten and introduce them to new sights, sounds, people, places and smells, there are a number of things to take into consideration.


Respect their independence

Your kitten organises its life around four key areas: The feeding area, the sleeping area, the hygiene area and the play area. When socialising your kitten, it’s important that you respect these different territories and your kitten’s day-to-day activities.

Ginger kitten playing with a toy on a white rug

Reward good behaviour

Letting your kitten know that they have done something right is an important part of the training process. Try using a snack, a healthy treat that you know they like, or giving them extra affection when they behave as requested. All of these will act as an incentive for your kitten to repeat good behaviour.

Sacred Birman kitten being held by its owner

Start early

Young kittens are fast learners, so it’s a good idea to start socialising them as soon as they come into the home.

Tabby kitten indoors interacting with its owner

Make time to play

Playing is key to your kitten’s socialisation, as it allows them to explore their surroundings, develop their physical capabilities and form a strong bond with you.

Grey and white kitten playing with a ball indoors next to a window

Fill your kitten’s life with new experiences

A kitten that’s been in contact with different people, noises and experiences from a very early age will be far more confident and comfortable. One of the key things here is ensuring that they are used to meeting and being stroked and handled by new people.

That being said, if you do too much the kitten might be overwhelmed and develop a negative association with the person or experience. So, be careful that your kitten always feels safe and pay close attention to their body language.

A ginger and a black and white kitten standing on a step outdoors
Tabby kitten playing in a kitchen with a ribbon on string

How to look after your kitten’s mental and physical wellbeing

Mental and physical exercise is key to kitten's early development and long term health. Therefore daily exercise, play and stimulation are vital. Keeping your kitten active helps them to:
  • Stay healthy
  • Learn new skills
  • Keep mentally agile
  • Explore their surroundings
  • Avoid obesity
  • Protect themselves against health problems in later life
  • Build a strong bond with you



When your kitten is playing they are getting mental and physical stimulation and practicing natural behaviours. So, you should aim to play with your kitten two or three times a day for around 15 minutes each time.

Tabby kittens playing together on a grey sofa

Running and chasing games

The sight of a moving object immediately unleashes your kitten’s desire to run and chase. Toys that will keep your kitten moving include:

  • A mechanical or moving mouse
  • A scrunched-up ball of tissue paper on the floor
  • Flashlights
  • Fishing rod toys
  • A dangling string
Siamese kitten playing indoors with a red ball


Kittens love to climb, which is why cat trees make a perfect perch for your pet. Here are some other ways to encourage your kitten to stretch themselves and climb:

  • Placing a cushion on high shelf that they can reach without injuring themselves
  • Tall scratching post towers

Be aware, though, that kittens may not have perfect coordination and are more likely to fall. In the early months, supervision may be necessary.

British Shorthair kitten standing on a cat tree next to a window

Making mealtimes active

Cats hunt in the wild, and you can easily replicate this at home by choosing games and toys which release small amounts of food when your kitten carries out a required action. This makes your kitten more active during mealtimes and offers both mental and physical stimulation. Alternatively, you can hide their food and encourage them to track it down.

Black and white kitten standing inside playing with a ball

Signs that your kitten needs more exercise

If you’re wondering whether your kitten needs more exercise here are a few of the tell-tale signs to look out for:

Excessive weight gain

Destructive or aggressive behaviour


Disinterest in toys and games

Maine coon kitten black and white

Training your kitten

Training your kitten should start as early as possible, to avoid any unwanted behaviours and help them develop into confident, even tempered adult cats.

Pack shot of kitten products

Tailored nutrition for kittens

ROYAL CANIN® kitten nutrition supports growth and development by providing all the nutrients essential to a kitten's needs in the first year of life.