Does Your Cat Play Roughly?
14 October, 2013

We love our cats in all shapes, sizes and different quirky behavior.  And we love to play with our kitties to keep them active and spritely.  However, sometimes when we play with our kitties, they tend to play roughly.  And, despite our best intentions, it might just be that they keep playing this way, because they get attention from us and then think that this is OK.   We need to stop this behavior in our kitties before someone gets hurt!

Why do cats play roughly?

Cats often pick up on behavioral cues from our household members and we sometimes inadvertently teach our cats’ bad behavior. When we use our hands and feet to play with our cat or allow a member of the household to play roughly with our cat, it will only encourage this type of behavior.  (I am guilty of this when I pet Sammy, my cat, with my foot)!


People are not the only ones that can teach our cats to play roughly; other pets in a household can also cause rough playing habits to develop. If a dog or older cat allows a kitten to play rough with them, the kitten will grow into a rough playing cat.  Luckily this type of behavior can be discouraged if animals are separated when they begin to play too rough.

Cats will play roughly to gain dominance

It’s common for your cat to play roughly because it gives him a feeling of dominance. This type of play will eventually cease to be a game, and rough play will instead be used as a way of maintaining control or dominance over other pets and even people.  This behavior can result in an attack which is never a good thing.

Cats are naturally very playful creatures and they should be encouraged to play as often as they want to. However rough play, where the cat bites or scratches other people or animals, should be firmly discouraged in order to prevent future behavioral problems.

To discourage this type of behavior, below are some recommendations to help:

Start training your kitty early not to play roughly

While it is sometimes tempting to use your hands and feet to play with your little kitty, this type of behavior teaches kittens that it’s OK to play attack your hands and feet. Kittens are naturally rough players and allowing them to attack, kick, and bite your hands encourages this type of behavior as your kitten grows.  You should try using toys to play with your cat instead.  Let your kitty bite and play roughly with his or her toys!

Cats can pick up rough behavior from kids or other household members who are not aware that they are playing too roughly with your kitties.  If you are introducing a new cat to your children, make sure they know how to play with the cat and emphasize the importance of gentle interactions.

You can separate your pets if they are playing too roughly

If your have other cats or dogs in your home, you can also teach your new kitten or cat that playing roughly is not OK. Try to discourage this type of behavior by separating your pets if they get too roughly during play time. If a cat or kitten starts to become too rough during playtime, take the cat to a quiet room where he or she can settle down. 

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