Helping cats and dogs live their healthiest lives.
Sacred Birman kitten stood next to an adult Yorskhire Terrier in black and white.
Sacred Birman kittens with mother black and white

Kitten socialization and play

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

Kitten socialization FAQs

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

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

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

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

Your kitten will learn most of its social behaviors 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 socialized and find out about their personality is to observe their reactions.

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 socialization. However, if they are shy and try to run away when you approach, you will need to start from the beginning.

The basics of socialization

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

Kitten sitting indoors with a little girl

How to look after your kitten’s mental and physical well-being

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 can help them to:
  • Stay healthy
  • Learn new skills
  • Keep mentally agile
  • Explore their surroundings
  • Avoid obesity
  • Protect themselves against health problems later in life
  • Build a strong bond with you

Tabby kitten playing in a kitchen with a ribbon on string

How to keep your kitten active

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 behavior


Disinterest in toys and games

Training your kitten

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

Training your kitten
Maine coon kitten black and white

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.

Learn more
Royal Canin Cat Food for Kittens