Aggression in Kittens and Young Cats
Your kitten may look harmless, but watch out! That sweet little ball of fur still has teeth and claws that can bite and scratch. This is especially true if you got your feline pal at a young age.
Kittens raised with littermates see first-hand that behavior that’s too rough and causes pain to a sibling kitten will result in retaliation or the end of play. But kittens raised without littermates run the risk of becoming improperly socialized.
You can recognize play aggression in your cat by observing body posture. The tail lashes back and forth, the ears flatten against the head and the pupils dilate. Kitty may actively stalk moving objects, such as your hands and feet. Or your little pal may hide then jump out and attack as you pass by.
If you notice your kitten doing any of these things, try to keep track of when the behavior occurs to see if there’s a pattern. Encouraging play prior to an anticipated attack may be able to help you curb this behavior. Denying your kitten access to his or her favorite “stalking grounds” may also help stop the aggression.
You can also try to startle Kitty into ceasing his or her behavior by using noise deterrents such as a loud hiss. Whatever else you do, avoid physically punishing your cat. The resulting pain may cause Kitty to become even more aggressive. Walking away is more effective and teaches your little feline pal that rough play yields no play.
When you do play with your kitten, keep all toys at a distance from your hands. That way, you minimize the chances that Kitty will bite or scratch you. Consider buying or making small balls your cat can chase or fishing pole toys you can use to dangle feathers in front of your cat.
If your little feline pal still resists your efforts at socialization, contact either the Wells Branch or South Branch Pet and Bird. Our vets can offer advice on behavior modification techniques specifically geared for the needs of your cat as well any medical care he or she may need. Contact us today and see why we’re the veterinary clinic more Austinites trust!
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