June 21, 2010

Cat Aggression During Playtime

Filed under: cat aggressive behaviour,Cat behavior,Kitten Care — Dr. Amber Reed @ 5:39 pm

Anybody who has had a kitten can tell you that their play can be aggressive.  In fact, you may be able to spot a new kitten owner by the scratch marks on their hands and arms.  While some owners can withstand the sort of aggressive attacks that leave marks on the skin, as kittens become cats the scratching becomes more serious (not to mention more painful).  At this point, you want to teach your cat to play without the aggression so as to avoid injury to friends, family, and children.

cat aggression while playingFirst of all, you need to understand that kittens playing aggressively are only acting out on natural instincts.  As hunters, kittens need to develop and hone their skills so that they can feed themselves, or at least this is how cats have evolved.  One of the best ways to prevent this behavior is to direct aggressive play to another target like a toy, or maybe another kitten.  String toys are great for interactive play and they allow kittens to practice pouncing and attacking without damaging your skin.  Also, use a variety of toys to keep your cat stimulated and make sure you can always keep your hands well clear of the toy.

Sometimes during play your kitten, and even cats, may bite you.  While they may not break the skin, they can become overly excited and may even hold on to your hand for an extended period.  Your hand is like their prey and they want to keep control.  Do not try to pull your hand away forcefully as kittens will instinctively try to hold on more tightly.  Instead, relax your hand and attempt to distract your cat with another toy.  Otherwise, you can also try to distract your cat with your free hand by scratching or tapping some furniture.  Your cat should release its grip.

Most importantly, when you’re trying to teach your kitten not to be aggressive, you must be consistent and patient.

About Dr. Amber Reed

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