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Is Your Kitten Playing Rough?
Remember that your kitten is learning about their environment and will likely to be excitable and playful. Cats engage in behaviours such as stalking, pouncing, jumping, chasing and catching which are normal and instinctive behaviours.
When your Kitten Bites
Like all small fluffy things, kittens are irresistibly cute. They also have quick reflexes, which are like lightning and can clamp round your hand in a flash, latching on with teeth and claws. Not a big issue when they are tiny, but as they grow into their strength, it can result in painful scratches. The best way to react is stop playing and ignore your cat. It’s also important to provide outlets for your cat to engage in these behaviours so to direct the play biting and scratching to an appropriate object e.g. a safe cat toy. Ensure your cat has plenty of toys that they can direct these instinctive behaviours towards.
Read up on cat body language and cat behaviour so that you can predict when your kitten is feeling excited and active and you can have the cat toy ready to direct their energy towards the toy instead of you. You can reward your cat for playing with the toy with a food treat. Always ignore rough play; your cat will learn that playing rough with you does not lead to any reward or attention, so they will tend to stop doing it.
Signs of Impending Play
Cats like to ambush prey and your kitten may try to practice on you. You’ll get to know where he’s likely to be hiding, and you can use the technique outlined above to abort the pounce. Body language to look out for includes the ”wind-up“ involving tail and hindquarters. There may also be a pointed stare at the target. When this stare is directed at your hand during lap time, this is a useful indicator that he’s had enough stroking, and may be about to swat you.
Safe cat toys, large balls (large enough so they can’t be swallowed) even empty yogurt cartons and cardboard boxes can all be used to distract him and allow your cat to burn off energy safely. Avoid any string toys or any toys that may be swallowed as these can cause intestinal obstructions that can be fatal. Be patient, they will generally grow out of it.