A growing number of animal shelters and veterinary clinics around the country are offering kitten kindergartens in an innovative way to socialize kittens and increase their adoptability. Australian veterinary behaviorist Dr. Kersti Seksel developed the program about a decade ago. The classes are intended for kittens between 8 and 15 weeks of age. To be eligible, kittens must have received their first round of vaccines and be cleared by a veterinarian.
In class, they’re taught how to interact with other cats and people. Games teach proper play, with some using clicker training to mark a desired behavior. Kittens are handled and brushed to encourage their acceptance of physical touch. An extra benefit is that they become accustomed to being in carriers and riding in vehicles. The San Francisco SPCA, Atlanta Humane Society and Maryland SPCA are among shelters offering the classes.