Helping kittens to become confident cats—why they and their owners need the support of the veterinary team. Part 2: environmental effects and support

Despite having outcompeted the dog in popularity in UK, the cat has lived in close proximity to man for a relatively short period of time. This shorter period for domestication has affected the nature of the cat's level of domesticity, creating limitations on the behavioural flexibility that companion cats can offer. A previous article examined possible genetic predispositions that may interfere with a kitten's social flexibility. This article examines whose responsibility it is to assist a cat in maximising that flexibility while considering the question of how the cat's experience during its early weeks of life can place considerable restrictions on its capacity to relax with and interact with other cats, humans and a human environment. Following this, the article considers the nature of the advice that veterinary clients may benefit from, if they are to improve the behavioural welfare of the kitten that is expected to become a confident, sociable, companion cat.

Claire Hargrave - Companion Animal Behaviour Referrals, Llannon, SA14 8JW