The time it takes for a kitten to get used to you varies.
Some kittens take just a few hours, while others may take weeks. It also depends on the kitten’s personality and skills in socialization.
If you are lucky enough to have found an orphaned kitten, be patient. It will eventually come around when it feels safe and comfortable with its new surroundings.
You can speed up the process by slowly introducing yourself in small doses.
Until they reach 3 to 4 months of age, kittens have a developmental stage known as socialization.
This is the time when they are learning social skills and building confidence in different situations.
The earlier you get your kitten used to being touched and petted by people, the easier the process will be.
You can do this in a number of ways.
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19 Ways to Help Your Kitten to Get Used to You?
1) Give your kitten time to adjust:
Your kitten has just been through a radical change in his life.
He’s been separated from his mother and siblings and is probably feeling quite insecure and vulnerable.
Give him time to settle into your home, get used to the way it looks, feels and smells.
Hopefully, he won’t suffer too many mishaps in the meantime, but if he does, try not to get angry or anxious – this will only make things ten times worse for him.
2) Be patient and kind:
Kittens develop at their own pace.
Some will be jumpy and skittish, while others will be confident and relaxed at an early age.
If you find that your kitten is nervous and timid, don’t blame him or fuss over him.
Show patience and understanding during this time, as it will pass in its own time.
3) Try not to make a big fuss:
Screaming children, loud music, or televisions can all add to a kitten’s stress levels.
If there are young children in the household try to make sure they’re aware of how fragile and timid kittens can be.
They need to understand that they must behave gently around the new family member.
4) Speak calmly and softly:
Kittens are sensitive creatures with an enhanced ability to hear and interpret human speech.
Speak in a soft tone, although you should not whisper. Whispering close to their ears can be painfully loud to them, especially as they’re still developing their hearing abilities.
If you must speak at a higher volume then take care not to shout or use angry or aggressive language.
5) Don’t forcefully pet your kitten:
If you make the mistake of petting your kitten when he makes no attempt to accept it, he could become very agitated and uncomfortable.
It’s better to wait until your kitten is adopting the behaviour that signals that he wants contact.
By slowly increasing the amount of petting you give your kitten, he’ll learn that you are a friendly and caring person and reduce his fears.
6) Let them approach you themselves:
If your kitten is reluctant to go near you, try not to make a big fuss about it. Let him know by rewarding him with treats or praise.
Do this again every time he comes close to you so it becomes easier for him to understand that contact is a good thing.
7) Make sure you have food out for them if they’re hungry:
It’s important that the kittens have food at all times during their stay in your home as this will help them avoid becoming stressed and nervous.
If they’re still hungry then they may become even more nervous.
Feed them at the same times each day or just before you plan to take them out of their cage – this will help your kitten get used to being out in the open without being immediately rewarded with food.
Make sure you dispense the food or treats into a deep bowl as kittens can’t see their own food very well and could accidentally step in it, trip over it or eat something that’s not been purposefully put there for them.
8) Praise and reward them:
Praising your kitten when he shows any signs of bravery will show him that he is doing the right thing and will help him adapt more quickly to his new surroundings.
A treat is okay every now and again but it’s not a substitute for praise.
You may even want to consider using training clickers to help your kitten learn faster.
9) Don’t make your kitten feel bad with any negative comments:
Scolding or making negative comments will only make him feel worse and more insecure.
Be firm but kind during this time.
He needs reassurance that the actions you’re asking him to do are not bad – you can achieve this by praising and rewarding him when he does something well.
10) When playing with your kitten, never discipline them too harshly if they misbehave:
Kittens are extremely sensitive and are very good at picking up on the wrong signals.
If you respond to his misbehaviour by scolding him or becoming angry then he’ll only feel more insecure.
Instead, try to talk to him calmly when he makes a mistake and then reward him when he’s done the right thing.
11) Try not to make a big fuss:
If you keep your kitten in a cage or small room, it’s important to make sure the room is secure and separate from the rest of the house.
Other than this, try not to make a big fuss about leaving your kitten somewhere by himself.
He’ll soon get accustomed to his new surroundings after a while and should be fine as long as he eats routinely and has access to a clean litter tray.
12) Be careful when mixing different breeds:
If you’re bringing your kitten home and planning to introduce him to a new breed of cat, it’s a good idea to check out the various “cat-person” forums on the internet before you do.
Many people have serious concerns about introducing a kitten too early to a full-grown cat – this may be because they’ve heard of an awful case of cats killing kittens.
It’s important to remember that pets are always people’s best friends and as such, pets should always be introduced gently to other pets.
If you do introduce your kitten too early he’ll become fearful and this could lead to aggression in later life.
While you’re finding out about the new cat breeds, it’s also a good idea to check out the various cat behaviour problems forums on the Internet.
They have a lot of good advice for helping felines to adjust to their new homes.
You should also make sure that there is enough space for each cat – kittens will need lots of space so ensure you get an appropriately sized cage or room for him to play in.
14) If your kitten has toys, make sure you’re consistent with how you play with them:
If you can, try to leave the toys in the same place each time.
This will help your kitten learn how to go and get them when he’s hungry or bored and it’ll also help build on his trust in you as a friend and carer.
It’s important that kittens have toys so they become used to being played with by their owners.
If they don’t have a toy, they may well grow up feeling that playing is just something that other cats do which could lead to aggression later on in life.
15) Make sure you give your kitten some play time on his own:
Kittens that don’t have enough playtime on their own are likely to become frustrated and more likely to lash out when they’re around other pets or people.
Make sure you always make time for some playful engagement with your kitten at least once a day.
If you can do this before bedtime too, it will ensure that he’s feeling happy and content with himself before he goes to sleep.
16) Give your kitten plenty of attention:
It’s important to make sure that kittens get plenty of attention when they need it – this is something they’ll really want when they’re feeling insecure or if they’ve been handled too much.
If he’s always neglected in this area, he’ll start to feel this as a lack of nurturing and may want to stray away from you when he’s feeling insecure.
17) Do not leave your kitten too much on his own:
It’s important that every cat receives some time on his own every day.
If you don’t leave him for long periods of time on his own, he’ll start to become stressed and needy for attention which could lead him to become fearful or aggressive later in life.
The best way to ensure that your kitten has enough time alone is by having a litter tray for him to use every day and by having some playtime with him at least once a day.
18) Try to keep your kitten active:
One of the best ways to ensure that your kitten grows up contented is by playing with him every day.
Make sure you give him a good variety of toys and different play areas so that he can run around and explore.
If he gets bored, he’ll start chewing on things that he shouldn’t or even get into scrapes with other pets.
By providing a good variety of toys and activities, however, you’ll help him to grow up into a well-adjusted adult cat.
19) Do NOT punish your kitten:
Any kind of punishment will make both you and your cat worry about what’s going on when he misbehaves.
Instead, make sure you reward him when he does something right so that he learns how to behave around you and your other pets.
Your kitten won’t understand why he’s being punished if you do this and he’ll also become afraid of you.
Reward him instead with food treats or even a good game of chase so that he can learn how to behave around people.
The time it takes for your kitten to get used to you will be determined by his temperament.
If he’s a fearful kitten, it might take him several weeks or even months to become comfortable with you and the other pets in his new home.
On the other hand, if your kitten is outgoing and well-mannered, it may only take a few days before he’s happy to come back to you from his hiding place.
Being consistent in all of these areas will ensure that your kitten is feeling loved and secure so that he’ll grow up into a contented, well-adjusted cat.