Cat Facts, Cat Health

How To Play With Kittens & Teach Them To Avoid The Hands

don't let your kitten play with your hands

Why you should not let your kitten play with your hands.

Is it okay to play fight with your cat? We all know how cute it can be when you have a kitten in hand nibbling your fingers, play fight your toes, or bunny kick your arms. It’s often the case that owners will play along, using their hands and feet as impromptu toys, but is this how you should be playing with a kitten

These behaviors may seem harmless when a kitten is small, however, if encouraged this type of interaction can raise a kitten to be an aggressive cat who can do some serious damage. Playing with kittens should be enjoyable for you and your furbaby, but it’s important to know how to play with kittens

We recommend that you never let your cat or kitten play with your hands or any part of your body. This includes anything you might be wearing (for example, try to avoid cat toys that are made to be worn as gloves).

Cats or kittens playing with your hands teaches them that biting and scratching is an acceptable behavior. Soon enough, they will begin to associate your appendages as something to be attacked, which can then occur more frequently and violently if not curbed.

Here’s how to play with your kitten, instead.

Not sure how to play with kittens? Whether you have a kitten or an adult cat, use a cat toy that separates your body from the cat. Wand toys or laser pointers, for instance, are great substitutes. This way, the focus of your cat’s playful aggression is kept apart from you and your appendages.

How to address aggressive behavior in your cat.

Make sure your cat is supplied with an enriching environment, including a designated scratching area, interactive toys, and places to explore. This will help alleviate boredom, which can lead to destructive behavior.

Do not punish your cats, as it can exacerbate their aggression and negatively affect your relationship with them. Instead, use positive reinforcement by rewarding calm behavior with treats. Just as well, if a cat starts to act inappropriately, you can also refocus a cat’s attention with treats or a toy.

To sum things up

Is it okay to play fight with your cat?

The short answer is no. The way cats fight with each other is very different from how humans fight with each other. Humans tend to wrestle and pin one another. Doing this with your friends may be fun and silly but doing the same to your cat can seriously injure them. 

Should you let kittens play with your hands?

Not if you don’t want that behavior to continue as they get older. As kittens, cats start to learn acceptable forms of play. If you don’t let them play with your hands as kittens, you won’t have to worry about them playing with your hands as they get older. 

How do I get my kitten to stop playing with my hands?

A sharp no and redirection. The next time your cat tries to play with your hands, firmly say “no” and redirect their attention to a toy. 

These are only a few ways felines can be trained to have good behavior, which will ultimately benefit them as much as you. Always remember: 1) Don’t let your kitten play with your hands, and 2) with enough patience and kindness, you can achieve amazing results with your four-legged friends— no matter if they’re a kitten or fully grown!