Felis ISSN 2398-2950

Lack of appropriate socialization and/or habituation

Contributor(s): David Appleby, H Ellen Whiteley

Introduction

  • Cause: behavioral problems related to a lack of adequate or appropriate socialization and/or habituation.
  • Signs: may be manifested as problems of over or under attachment to owners, excessive fear reactions to people, other animals or the environment and inability to respond appropriately to the environment.
    Ensure handling and restraint of aggressive cats performed by trained staff to avoid risk of injury to owner.
  • Treatment: prevention is simple but requires adequate education of breeders and new owners.
  • Prognosis: often slow but can be quite good.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Kittens that have lacked adequate or appropriate socialization and habituation between 2 and 7 weeks of age are likely to have a lower reactive threshold to stimuli later in life leading to fear responses and an inability to relate to people, animals and the environment in an appropriate manner.
  • Trauma can trigger a second sensitive period of behavioral development and if the kitten's experiences during this period are inadequate or inappropriate there can be a triggering of behavioral symptoms similar to those exhibited when there is a lack of primary socialization and habituation.

Predisposing factors

General

  • Lack of adequate socialization and habituation between 2 and 7 weeks of age.
  • Inappropriate genetic influences from mother and very importantly father. The father has an influence of the trait of boldness and when the absence of the boldness trait is combined with a lack of appropriate or adequate socialization and habituation behavioral problems are very likely. The mother will influence the kittens response to socialization and habituation both genetically and through the role of observational learning.

Pathophysiology

  • Lack of ability to respond to everyday stimuli due to inappropriate or inadequate attention to the behavioral development of the kitten between 2 and 7 weeks of age Kitten socialization.
  • Onset of inappropriate responses following a trauma and the triggering of a second sensitive stage.

Diagnosis

This article is available in full to registered subscribers

Sign up now to purchase a 30 day trial, or Login

Treatment

This article is available in full to registered subscribers

Sign up now to purchase a 30 day trial, or Login

Prevention

This article is available in full to registered subscribers

Sign up now to purchase a 30 day trial, or Login

Outcomes

This article is available in full to registered subscribers

Sign up now to purchase a 30 day trial, or Login

Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

Organisation(s)

  • For veterinarians wishing to refer cases on to a behavioral counsellor:
    • Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (APBC):  www.apbc.org.uk/.
    • A list of registered Certified Clinical Animal Behaviourists (CCAB) is available from the website of the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour at: https://www.asab.org/.
    • European College of Animal Welfare and Behaviour Medicine - Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law (ECAWBM-AWSEL) www.ecawbm.com/.
    • American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (ACVB): www.dacvb.org/.


ADDED