Skip to Content

How to Socialize your Cat with People, Children and Other Pets

How to Socialize your Cat with People, Children and Other Pets

❇︎Affiliate Statement: The services and products that I may link in this article are ones that I use myself and am proud to recommend. If you follow one of my links please be aware that I will receive a small commission from Amazon or other vendors. I’d also like to say a big Thank You for your trust if you do.

A huge misconception about cats is that they are not social creatures – they are, just not in the same way as dogs are. Cats are social when it suites them, some like attention more than others it all depends on your pet’s personality.

Begin Socializing Your Cat at Young Age

The best way to ensure you have a friendly animal is to begin socializing it as young as you can, the older a cat is the less susceptible it will be to your efforts to get it to hobnob with you and your guests.

Cats usually will only bond with a select few people, usually those humans it lives with, but that does not mean it has to be skittish around all other people. If you are working with a kitten make sure you spend a lot of time with it – stay in the same room with it, play with it, cuddle with it. This helps the bonding process but also gets the cat used to humans as a general class.

Cats were domesticated by people to work independently and without instruction so it is not unusual for them to naturally shy away from people if a human does not make the effort to be around the cat. It is also helpful to invite people over to your home when your kitten is young because if it becomes used to strangers in its territory early it will be less afraid of them as an adult cat.

Three kittens are playing with a toy.
Kittens are socializing with each other by playing.

Socializing Rules for Older Cats

Different rules apply when a cat is older. As they age cats become more independent and stubborn making socializing a fully grown cat considerably harder if it has already developed antisocial tendencies. Though love may seem like a good route to take, you should never force your cat to do anything, especially when it comes to socialization. The harder you try to get your cat to do something the more it resists.

If Fluffy is just in a bad mood it is best if you leave him alone until he comes to you. If you are working with a cat who has not been socialized before you need to take baby steps – let the cat get comfortable to new surroundings, let it get comfortable living with a human, try to stay in the same room as the cat but do not openly pay attention to it.

Hopefully, curiosity will eventually win out and the cat will approach you. It is okay if your cat is just content to come up and sniff your hand for several weeks, eventually, if you play your cards right, you will gain its trust and it can become an affectionate pet.

Two old cats are friendly to each other.
Old cats tend to sit, eat and sleep much more.

Kitty and Friends: Interactions with children and other pets

Fluffy may be a family pet but that does not mean he wants to play dress up with your four year old. Small children should always be supervised around pets because children often do not understand that their feline sibling can sometimes be antisocial and does not appreciate a rambunctious child.

Make sure you, as an owner and parent, help to facilitate a loving and understanding bond between animal and child and, in the case of cats, that means making your children aware that cats can be temperamental and antisocial sometimes. If your child does not understand this it can cause a lot of stress for your pet and your cat may even become afraid of your child, choosing to hide from the family rather than interact with them. Likewise, make sure your cat knows boundary lines, especially in the case of infants.

Cats for the most part will shy away from the strange, screaming, small human-like creature that is your baby but it is a good practice to make sure your cat knows that it is not okay to jump in your baby’s crib or sleep on their clean cloths.

Read Also: Is It Safe to Raise Babies with Cats?

Cat is sitting on head of a man while driving a car.
Image Credit: Jenny Milestone, Catsel

Interactions with Other Animals

For interactions with other animals, it is important to start, if possible, when your cat is young so they can grow accustomed to other cats, dogs, or other pets.

Introducing a new pet into the home of a fully grown cat that has had no previous experience with other animals can be traumatizing and extremely upsetting for your kitty friend. Sometimes it will adjust within a few days but sometimes, depending on the temperament of your cat, it simply will never get over the new housemate.

This will put you in the difficult position of having to decide what is the best course of action – do you get rid of one of your pets? Do you hope that your cat can learn to tolerate if not like the new addition to your family? In most cases your cat will eventually calm down enough to ignore the existence of an unwanted housemate and hopefully lead a peaceful life.

Cats, though they can and often do enjoy the companionship of another animal, are naturally solitary creatures that, in the wild, only cross paths with other cats for mating purposes. For this reason in households with multiple cats it is not uncommon for the cats to pretend the others are not there. If they do acknowledge their feline companions their group dynamic will always be shifting because, unlike a dog packs, there is no ranking system among cats. With a cat attitude, they are all the king of the hill, the most important kitty on the block.

Cat and dog are comforting each other on bed.
Cats and dogs can be best friends.


The notion that cats and dogs cannot get along is incorrect. In many homes cats and dogs make good companions as long as the dog realizes that the cat is the boss. Not every dog is cut out to be the alpha of its pack so in cat-dog relations that makes the cat the alpha.

Generally this situation is agreeable to both parties because the dog is just happy to have a friend while its owners are away and the cat is happy to have a slave to play with when the cat feels so inclined. This situation may seem pitiful to humans but it works in the animal world. As long as the neither the cat nor dog becomes aggressive with one another there can be harmony in your home.