It is well known, kittens tend to be more sociable, more playful and more curious about the world around them. Then, when they grow up and become adult cats, they settle down and sometimes even become less cuddly, or even more suspicious, especially towards strangers. How to explain it?
Kittens don’t have a past yet
If kittens are so friendly, whether with humans or with other cats (as well as other animals), it is for the simple and good reason that they have not yet had any experience negative. Indeed, they only think about playing and discovering the world, like the real little adventurers that they are.
Not to mention that everyone they meet is particularly nice to them. And respond to their every wish… It’s no wonder they’re always happy!
But, as they grow up, they are likely to have unpleasant experiences. Even sometimes traumatic (child pulling the tail, guest walking on the paw…). They will then associate these experiences with a feeling of insecurity. Consequently, this will push them to be more fearful, more suspicious, especially towards those they do not know.
The socialization phase, a period not to be missed
From the moment a kitten reaches 2 weeks old and up to 14 weeks old, they are said to be in their socialization phase. This means that it is during this short time that part of their future temperament will be defined.
Indeed, the socialization phase is THE moment in the life of a feline when it must be confronted as much as possible with all kinds of people, noises, movements, smells… And for good reason, this is where it is the most receptive.
If it encounters as many different things as possible during this period, there is a good chance that it will not become anxious and fearful as an adult. The reason? It will be familiar with most of the elements that could trigger anxiety (handling, fireworks, evening at home, children’s cries, etc.).
Thus, it is essential to only give kittens positive things during this period. Otherwise, in the event of a bad experience, it could certainly affect them for life.
Why do kittens get along better with other cats?
Regarding the relationship that kittens have with other kittens or even with adult cats, it is often more friendly. Again, the explanation is simple. In reality, kittens usually come from a litter that includes multiple cats.
They therefore have a habit of living together, playing together and sleeping huddled up against each other to keep each other warm. Being sociable and friendly with your peers is, at this age, a guarantee of security – and therefore of survival.
But, as they grow up, kittens gradually lose this natural instinct to reach out to others. Why? Because they begin to develop their own defense mechanisms. Staying in a group is therefore no longer essential to their survival.
Additionally, adult cats are, by nature, solitary hunters. It is for this reason that it can be difficult for a cat to accept a new feline in its territory. In question? The competition for food. Because even if two cats living in the same house each have their meal, they can still have the impression of sharing the resources offered by their territory. And that is something very difficult to accept for our feline friends.