Managing Your Cat’s Rough Play
Is it normal for a cat to play rough? Play aggression is one of the common behavioural issues in cats. You cat may play rough from time to time. Play aggression is most often seen in kittens and young cats. Cats are natural rough players. Play aggression is commonly seen among littermates and is predatory in nature. Sometimes, this aggression can be directed toward humans, usually in form of biting, ankle attacks and ambushes. It is a frustrating problem for many cat owners as play aggression can actually cause injury.
Causes Of Play Aggression In Cats
1.Natural play hunting behaviour
Felines are natural hunters and that instinct kicks in at a very young age. It is very common in kittens to pound, stalk and chase each other. They will learn how to play appropriately from time to time. During play with littermates, they learn to control the intensity of scratching, biting and wrestling, including how to keep their claws sheathed and not inflict injury.
2.Lack of proper socialization
If a kitten is taken away from her mother or littermates too early, she will not get this vital socialization and may then develop unhealthy play habits that include more aggressive scratching and biting. This is why it is crucial to leave a kitten with her mother until 10 to 12 weeks.
Meanwhile, cat owners need to teach kittens that hands and feet are not toys. Never use your hand or leg to play with your kitten. it is not going to hurt too much when she is still little. However, it is another matter when a 6 to 12-month-old kitten sink her teeth into you.
How To Deal With Play Aggression In Cats
1.Never play directly with your hand or leg
You must never use your hand or leg to play with your feline friend. This will encourage inappropriate play and play rough with people. The bites and scratches may hurt you as she grows up. If you don’t want her to bite you when she’s not in a good mood, teach her that biting a human during playtime is a no-no.
2.Don’t pull away
If your feline friend bites you, never pull your hand away because that’s what a prey does. Pulling away may trigger your cat to bite down even more. Instead of pulling away your hand, you can gently push toward the cat. This act may momentarily confuse her and will cause her to loosen her hold, according to Cat Behavior Associates.
Always use cat toys to play with your cat, instead. You can move the toy away from your cat and mimic the unpredictable movement of prey – this will encourage her to chase and catch the toy throughout the playtime. You can schedule regular playtimes during the day to initiate play with your feline friend. This will help her understand that she doesn’t have to be the one to initiate play by pouncing on you.
Never use punishments such as hitting or kicking to deal with play aggression in cats. Physical punishments can cause your cat to become afraid of you and teach her to be more defensive. More importantly, the punishments may lead to a more aggressive, undesirable behaviour.