The reason kittens are best adopted between 8 and 12 weeks is because this is the ideal time to socialize them. Socializing them means you teach them how to interact with people and other animals in a positive fashion. After a kitten is 12 weeks old it becomes harder to socialize them. It is the first twelve weeks of a kittens life that lays the foundation for how they will interact with the rest of the world. How you interact with your kitten when you bring him home will determine his or her relationship with you as they grow into adulthood.
Kittens that leave their mothers too early or are not allowed to interact and play with their siblings in their litter grow up with behavior problems. By being with their mothers until they are appropriately weaned from them; as well as being with their litters at that time, teaches a kitten how to behave. As they grow they learn from watching and interacting with their mother and siblings. Every time they interact with their mother or their siblings they learn what is appropriate behavior for them with each member in that cat family. Play time for kittens with their family is very important for their behavioral and neurological development. Pouncing and stalking strengthens their neural and muscular development.
When your kitten comes home he still has the urge to pounce, stalk and prey. These natural instincts are satisfied when we buy toys and encourage kitten to play. Also when you let kitten play you are letting his aggression be expressed and this gives way to a calmer less aggressive adult cat. When kitten chases a toy and stalks and pounces on it, he is channeling his aggressive nature in a positive way.
In addition to playing kitten needs to be pet and handled as part of his socialization process. The more he is touched and handled in a good way, the more affectionate and friendly he will be as he grows into a cat. This helps kitten grow into a socialized cat that is human friendly. Besides bonding with you, its good to expose kitten to other people including children so he does not fear people as he grows up. In this way he won’t fear strangers or act aggressively to them. Kittens that are not exposed to people or children tend to reject them when they become adult cats. You don’t want a cat that attacks people out of fear because they don’t know how to behave around them. This way exposing kitten to people in a positive fashion allows kitten to be friendly with people as he grows and then ultimately you can have a friendly, loving cat on your hands.