Get lucky and find your furever friend at the SPCA of Texas! $25 adoptions for all dogs 40lbs+, March 1st-31st at the SPCA of Texas’ Dallas Animal Care Center, the Ellis County Animal Care Center, and in foster.
THE Myron K. Martin Clinic is open for spay and neuter surgeries for dogs and cats. Make an appointment today.
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Does your kitten attack your ankles from under the bed as you walk by? Bite your hand hard enough to hurt when you play?
Kittens and young cats use play to practice their survival skills, whether they’re going to need them later or not. They’ll treat any moving object, including people and other animals, like prey; chasing, pouncing, biting and all. Kittens learn from their mother and their litter mates how to regulate their bites so that they don’t hurt, so if your cat was separated from their feline family at a young age, they may play rougher than you like.
The best way to teach your kitten what’s acceptable is to encourage and reward the play you want. If your kitten stalks and attacks your feet as you walk down the hall, be ready to redirect them with a few toys in your pocket to toss for them to chase. When your cat wants to wrestle, redirect them from your hands with soft stuffed toys that they can grab onto.
Encourage your cat to chase and pounce on fishing pole-type toys or fuzzy mice on strings. If you initiate a few brief playtimes each day, your kitten will have an outlet for their energy, and they’ll know when to expect the fun. Tire your cat out before bedtime and they’ll have an easier time leaving you alone at night.
Instead, make sure everyone who comes in contact with the kitten is consistent about following the rules. If one or two people keep playing with their hands instead of toys or encouraging your cat to chase and attack their feet, the boundaries won’t be understood. When your cat crosses the line by playing too roughly, interrupt immediately and redirect with an appropriate toy. Make sure you have plenty of toys around so that you can be ready to redirect your cat anytime.
You can also use time-outs to teach your cat that inappropriate play will make you and all your attention go away. Every time your cat starts rough play, just as they start, calmly walk away, leaving the room and shutting the door behind you. Stay away for a few minutes at least. With consistency, this will teach your cat that the way to get your attention and have someone to play with is to stay within the boundaries you set for appropriate play.
Be aware that kitten and cat bites and scratches can be serious, so make sure to treat them carefully, seeking medical attention if necessary. By teaching your kitten the manners you want them to have when they’re older, you can avoid much larger problems later.
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