How to Handle Aggressive Play in Cats

Does your cat like to play rough? Kitties are very frisky and playful. Most of Fluffy’s playful antics are actually based on hunting behaviors, as all that pouncing, biting and scratching helps cats hunt their dinner in the wild. Unfortunately, this means your furry little friend may think that attacking your fingers and toes is great fun. Those little teeth and claws hurt! An Essex-Middle River, MD offers advice on how to handle aggressive play in cats below.

Start Young

If your furball is still a kitten, you have the upper hand. Kittens are more likely to engage in aggressive play, because, well, they’re basically furry little balls of energy. That said, it’s much easier to teach a kitten proper manners than it is to correct bad habits in an adult cat.

Tired Kitties Are Good Kitties

Make sure to provide your cat with plenty of suitable toys. Let her take her aggression out on a catnip mouse instead of on you! Also, take time to play with your kitty every day. Use interactive toys, like wands or laser pointers, to really get your furball moving. These play sessions will keep Fluffy entertained, and hopefully tire her out a bit. Tired kitties are much more interested in napping than causing mischief.

True Aggression

If Fluffy usually pounces when she’s acting frisky, or starts purring in the midst of her attack, she’s probably just playing. If your cat is hissing, has her ears back, or is attacking violently, there’s likely something more going on. Consult a professional if your cat’s aggression is more than rough play.

Correcting Bad Habits

The next time your furball attacks you, reprimand her in a firm tone of voice. Studies suggest that kitties can learn some language, so you’ve got a decent chance of teaching your furball what ‘Don’t Bite’ means. After you’ve voiced your displeasure, walk away and ignore your cat for a while. Sooner or later, Fluffy will get the hint!

What Not To Do

Don’t punish your cat for playing rough. Fluffy won’t associate her actions with the punishment, and won’t understand why she’s being reprimanded. This can cause your furball to become anxious or angry, and can lead to more behavioral issues.

Do you have any questions about your cat’s health or care? Call us! As your Essex-Middle River, MD veterinary clinic, we are here to help!