By Francine Miller
The amount of handling a cat receives, the age at which this occurs, and the number of handlers all affect a kitten’s degree of friendliness towards people later in life. Frequent gentle handling and play with varied people including men, women and supervised children is ideal. It is important to encourage the cat to be comfortable with being held, picked up and touched in different places, such as the ears, paws and belly. You can socialize a kitten very well in as little as 15 minutes of daily handling during the sensitive period. Cats that have been handled by only one person can be held for, on average, twice as long by that person than by any other, but cats with experience of four handlers will stay with any person, including a stranger (the multi-person cat becomes socialized to all humans that behave in broadly the same way). Kittens can do this easily until they reach the end of the socialization period, when they become naturally wired to be more suspicious of things they have not yet experienced. Read more.