SOCIALIZATION AND HEALTH OF OUR KITTENS


Crazy things we do to let kittens adjust to their new homes.

The socialization period is the time in a young animal's life during which it forms relationships with others of its own species or, in the case of domesticated animals, also with other species such as humans and other animals.

It is rather well known that dogs need to be socialized. Few people know that this is important for cats too!
 

This sensitive period in a kitten's life starts at the age of 2 weeks and finishes by the time the kitten is about 7 weeks old. After 7 weeks the socialization still continues however, because even then the kittens still learn a lot from their mother and the other cats. This is one of the reasons why we do not want the kittens to leave their mother already at 13 weeks of age, therefor we keep them a little longer.

We want our kittens to get used to all kind of noises and experiences when they are young, so they will not be afraid of it when they are older and living in their new homes. 

Our kittens are raised underfoot and are not being caged. They are handled from the day they are born and when they are older we also ask other people to carefully handle them and play with them. We do not have children, but invite friends with children to come over and play with the kittens. For safety reasons they are not allowed to lift the kittens from the ground. 

They play and interact with our other cats and learn their place in the group. 

The character of the kitten is partly formed by the handling and socialization we are giving them. Another important part of their character comes from their parents. We try to carefully select the parents of our kittens by their character, health and type. So far our kittens turn out to be big and lovable cats with rather naughty tricks!
 
 

Vaccinations

By the time the kittens have had their last shots, they stay with us for a few more weeks to see if there might be side effects from the shots. After that we prefer to bring the kitten to it's new home, which saves the new owner from dragging the kitten away from it's family and starting out with a possibly crying kitten in the car. 

With the kitten we provide a "Kitten book" loaded with pictures, lots of information about the Maine Coon, health information and advises how to let the kitten adjust to it's new home (which always is stressful for a kitten, no matter how well it is socialized.) 

For the first period we also supply some food for the kitten and a list of advised food. 

Before being bred our females are tested for health and we often have our vet come over and inspect the kittens after they are born. At 8-9 and 11-12 weeks the kittens will be checked again and will receive their shots. When a kitten arrives in it's new home it should be tested by the vet of the new owner within 72 hours. 

Tortilina, 11 weeks, getting used to 
the noises of the outside jungle

Health tests and certification.

The parents of our kittens are tested for Feline Leukemia and Aids (FIV).
They are also tested for Patella Luxation.

In 1998 we started testing systematically our breeding cats for Hip Dysplasia (HD).
In 1999 we also started testing their hearts,
In 2002 we started to have the kidneys checked for PKD along with the heart check.

Our breeding cats have an overview of their test results at the end of their respective pages.


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