The first few months
Everything a kitten experiences in her first, formative months has an effect on the rest of her life. So the more she can experience during this important time, the more open and trusting she’ll be as an adult.
Watch (and learn) with mother
A kitten’s first and most important teacher is her mother, who'll teach her everything she needs to know to survive, from how to look after her coat and nails to all aspects of toilet training. The kitten will also learn about potential dangers and that some things are just not allowed! In this way, the most important aspects of a kitten’s personality are cast at a very early stage in her life.
Lessons in social behaviour
A kitten’s character will already be formed by the second to seventh week of her life, and her behaviour in later life will depend on this. If there’s been intensive contact with human beings during this time, there’s a good chance she won’t be shy later on. So, if you want your kitten to be an open and active member of the family, it’s important to handle her, talk to her and stroke her while she’s still very young.
Early learning lasts a lifetime
By the time your kitten is eight weeks old, her mother has taught her all she can and it’s time for you to take over. As her new parent, you’ll need to teach her everything she needs to know about living together happily with humans, like using the scratching post instead of the furniture, for example. As a rule, soothing words and lots of cuddles should reward good behaviour. On the other hand, if she's been naughty it's best not to shout as she'll just get scared. A few firm words are best. As a result, she’ll associate good behaviour with fuss and attention, and be deterred from behaviour that gets a less than favourable response.
Even easy things have to be learned
It’s a good thing to expose your kitten to as many normal things as possible as early as you can, so she can get used to everyday life with her new parents. Simple things like being in the car, or being faced with the hoover can be daunting to a small kitten, but with frequent exposure, she’ll soon realise there’s no danger and take them in her stride.
Not surprisingly, the same goes for food. It’s best to expose her to a variety of flavours and textures early, because if she learns to eat only one type of food, you may have difficulty varying her diet later on. Whiskas® Kitten is ideal for this, as both pouches and Whiskas® Kitten Complete dry food come in lots of different flavours, and give her everything she needs to satisfy her taste buds as well as her nutritional needs.