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.

In the first few weeks of your kitten’s life everything is new. Effective socialisation helps them to understand new surroundings and approach different people, places and situations without fear. It also helps them to form healthy behaviours that will impact the rest of their lives.

At first, kittens are socialised by their breeder, as well as their mother, litter mates by follow their example when it comes to habits and behaviours. Once they move into your home, you'll need to complete their socialisation and by doing so limit unwanted behaviours and help them settle in to their new life.

Socialisation is a core developmental stage and without it your kitten will struggle. Effective socialisation helps them (and you) in a number of ways:
  • Removes the fear and anxiety of new experiences
  • Make them feel at home in their new surroundings
  • Helps them to get used to other people, animals and places
  • Teaches them which behaviours are right and wrong
  • Keeps them more curious and inquisitive in adult life

Your kitten will learn most of its social behaviours in the first three months. So, the sooner you introduce your kitten to new experiences, the better. One good way to tell if your kitten has been properly socialised and find out about their personality is to observe their reactions to the following stimuli below.

There is a simple test. If your kitten is happy to run up to you, seeks attention and rubs up against you, there's a good chance that they have had a good basic socialisation. However, if they are shy and try to run away when you approach, you will need to start from the beginning.

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.

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

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.

Training your kitten

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.

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