As long as raising kittens are concerns, the technique is almost similar to raising children. It is only when you provide proper training and care when they’re young that they can grow up to be well-adjusted and healthy cats as they grow up. If you’ve brought home a new kitten, it can be loving, fun and playful. Petting a kitten is also going to be easy, relaxing and enjoyable for you that will work as a stress-buster.
When you first get a new kitten, it is vital for you to socialize her so that she can soon get accustomed to the humans and other animals around her. She has to gradually understand that being touched is a safe, pleasurable and rewarding experience. A cat that has been socialized properly will throw lesser tantrums while you need to brush her teeth, trim her nails or groom her.
How to Pet a Kitten
Drop yourself down to the level of the kitten
Initially, when you let the kitten get used to you as a co-human, it’s best to droop down to her level whenever you wish to interact. Birds of prey usually are enemies of felines and hence there is always a looming fear of being attacked by such birds of prey. Whenever you wish to pet your cat or play with her, sit on a chair or a couch or on the floor to make yourself seem less like a giant to the little creature. In case you feel comfortable, you may even lie on the ground.
Allow the kitten to sniff your hand
In case you’re dealing with a semi-feral, shy or an unsocialized kitten, let the cat sniff you before you touch her. Once she approaches you, let her smell your hand. If you find her to be calm and not scared, reach out gently and pet her. Pet her by touching the areas that mark their scents. They usually prefer to be pet in areas near their chin, tail, ears and cheeks.
Pet her around her chin
Gradually as the pet gets habituated with you petting her, you’ll get to learn the favorite sports where she prefers to be pet. There are several cats that prefer being rubbed under the chin. Once you find your kitten approaching the smell in your hand, move your hand gradually below the chin and use the back side of your hand to scratch her chin or rub it. They love to be pet in the area where the skull and jaw connect.
Scratch on her cheeks
As soon as you pet her chin, gradually move your hand up to rub the cheeks of the kitten, right behind her whiskers. In case you find the kitten rotating her head or pushing her face towards your hand, this is a sign that she is enjoying the way you’re petting her.
Rub near her ears
While there are some cats that don’t like to be touched near their ears, there are many others that love it. They like to be scratched near the base of their ears, between and behind their ears and also at the area between the eyes and ears. Gradually move your hand from her chin to her ears, gently scratching and petting her face while you move between the areas.
Rub the base of the kitten’s tail
The buttocks and the area around the thigh or the haunches is a nice petting spot for many kittens. Rub your hand gently around the base of her kitten’s tail. If you find her lowering herself by bending down her front legs or raising the back portion into the air, you’ll know that she is enjoying it.
Gently stroke her back
Place the hand gently on the top of the head of the kitten and stroke her back all the way to her tail. While some cats don’t mind being stroked in an opposite direction, there are some that don’t prefer to be stroke in a manner that is opposite to their fur orientation. As soon as your cat gets habituated to being pet, you can then start rubbing her cheeks, chin and ears.
Know how to remain gentle while petting
There’s no doubt when we say that kittens are extremely delicate creatures and even a small accident can injure them. Dropping them from your hand can hurt them badly. Never hold the kitten too tightly or squeeze it or grab her ears or tail. When you hold her, keep one hand behind the kitten’s front legs and use the other to provide support to her backside. Children under the age of give should not be allowed to handle kittens as they don’t understand the difference between rough touch and gentle touch.
Stop when the cat looks distressed
Cats and kittens show fear, distress and anxiety in different ways. Whenever your kitten exhibits any of the negative signs, make sure you instantly stop petting her and try to calm her. Some such signs are growling, hissing or spitting, ears turned sideways, backwards or flat against her head, fur standing at its end or an arched back.
Work your way to touching her ears
You can begin by scratching the back of her ears, use one finger and gently stroke one of her ears. Repeat the same thing with the other ear and then give her a treat. Increase the total amount of time that you spend touching her ear until there is no issue. Don’t forget to give her rewards.
Brush her once in a week
Use a small brush or a special brush that has been designed for cats. As the fur of the kitten begins to grow, brush in the direction of the growth for few minutes every week. This will make the kitten get accustomed to being touched in different ways.
Therefore, if you’ve brought home a kitten lately, take into account all the above mentioned techniques of petting the kitten in a proper manner. The more organized you are about petting her, the healthier she can be as she grows up.