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How much of what we discuss about dogs (socialization, personality, training, etc) applies to cats too?

For example, we talk about the crucial puppy socialization periods. Is it basically the same for a cat?

Or when we talk about breeding for temperament (social dog with social dog) does the same apply to cats?

Just wondering how similar they are.
 

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All I have is my own personal experience...totally anecdotal, but may have some value anyway...

IMO, it is very important to socialize kittens much like you would puppies, except perhaps taking them to new places outside your home (unless you are planning on using them for therapy or travelling with them alot.) I was 13 when I got my first cat, and I was way overprotective of her. She was 6-8 weeks old when we brought her home from my grandparent's farm. The first night I wanted to keep her in my bedroom, but she cried so much that my mom and I finally decided to put her down in the basement for the night so I could get some sleep. She continued to sleep down there by herself until she was fully litter trained, and I think this contributed to her being rather aloof and prefering to be alone in a quiet place most of the time. We also made the mistake of not having alot of people over to pet her and play with her when she was very young, and to this day (she is now 14) she will run when new people come to my parents' house and will hide until they leave.

My husband and I got 3 littermates 1 year ago, and they are a totally different story! Although we still kept them confined at night to a certain room until they were fully litter trained, we made sure to spend plenty of time with them during the day. They had each other at night, so that probably helped, too. We cuddled them lots and lots and lots, and they are some of the most snuggly cats I've every seen! We also took them to the vet alot (not really by choice, though) when they were little, so they had some interaction with new people outside our home. We also had alot of company over when they were kittens, especially people we knew would care for them when we had to be away from home. Although they are cautious around strangers, each one will eventually come up to our friends and at least "check 'em out" and even allow some petting. And they love it when their "babysitters" come over! Cats are naturally much more cautious around new people, but I think the more socialization they have as kittens, the better!
 

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In general, cats are entirely different from dogs.

But of course cats have needs, too. Kittens should not be taken from their mother and littermates too early (10-12 weeks at the earliest). They should be properly socialized if you want a friendly cat. Most cat breeding is uncontrolled (pet cat gets out to consort with feral tomcats), but social cats do tend to have more social kittens. But early human socialization makes the most difference.
 

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I had a cattery and showed in CFA for awhile. I socialized my kittens both at home and in the car. They had to learn to travel to shows. I taught them to walk on leashes and took them a lot of places.

I had other pet cats who would also go with me places. I had several that would hike with me in strange places off leash such as on the 100 acre wood at my parents house (no other people and no dogs except my own that the cat knew).

Cats are different than dogs. It has been said that dogs live FOR you and cats live WITH you. I can say that my cats often present behavior that would place them as equals or even as superior beings. It has also been said that Dogs have Masters and Cats have servants. Of course, in my house the dog AND the cats have a servant... (life is NOT fair).

One thing that I notice is that cats learn by watching other cats or even the dog. Dogs do not seem to learn this way at all. If I am training Atka and Oliver watches her (free shaping session) he will frequently come over and do what I have been teaching her but all at once. Sort of like, "There! Now were is my click and treat!"

My cat retrieves more reliably than my dog. I have one cat who will growl at strangers who drive in the driveway (shile my dog is ready to let them in the front door!).

In day to day living with both species I find both can be trained but dogs are faster to train (more value on rewards such as food and play). Cats OTOH seem to be much more clever at figuring out puzzles and problems than any dog I have owned.

Dogs are more adaptable to situations and changes than cats are. Cats are more aware of their scale (size) than dogs are. Cats understand their limitations. Dogs don't sleep as much as cats do. Dogs are better at doing jobs as partners to humans than cats are (herding, guide, dog sports, hunting).

I am better at working with cats than with dogs and both my dog and my cats are trained and cooperative.. in spite of this bumbling human counterpart.
 
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