Curbing Cat Aggression
Dealing With An Aggressive Acting Kitten.
I use the term “aggressive acting” because the roughhousing engaged in by a kitten isn’t inoffensive. This is juvenile cat aggression and should be addressed early on. Although a kitten will get carried away using her teeth and claws, she is basically acting out a predatory play behavior. She is practicing her stalk, attack, and killing maneuvers on you! A kitten acts this way because she has boundless energy. Of course, in between these energy bursts, there are those angelic catnaps. Consider adopting two kittens. They would release their energy on each other and not on you.
You have selected your new kitten. Your cat was hopefully properly socialized. Proper socialization means that when your kitten was still nursing, the owner took her out of the litter to be held and handled by all sorts of people—big and small, male and female. The kitten learns early on that people are gentle, fun to touch, and occasionally have great food treats.
It is important for you to expose your new kitten to all kinds of people. When your kitten is sleepy or wants to cuddle in your lap, you have an excellent opportunity to teach her that touching in certain sensitive places is not to be feared. Softly rub her toes, lift her lips and touch her teeth, fold back her ears, and run her tail through your closed hand. She will not be afraid of getting touched by other people. Your veterinarian will love you!
Training Your Kitten, De-escalation.
Teach your kitten to go into a carrier by placing food tidbits inside. Then, let her go in and out freely. Give her praise for doing this by saying, “Good Kitty!” This will make it less traumatic for her when you do have to take her to the veterinarian or go on a trip. With your kitty in the carrier, take short trips at first. Carry her from one room to another, then to the car and back. Take a drive around the block with your cat once she is used to her carrier, . Eventually, your kitten will get accustomed to traveling in her carrier.
Mama cat will warn her kitten immediately by a growl, or even a tap on the nose if she plays too roughly. Similarly, if your kitten plays too roughly with you, say loudly, “OUCH!” until she stops, then praise her for ceasing her rough play. It is important always to follow a reprimand, “Ouch” or “No” with “Good Kitty” when the behavior stops. It is a good way to nip cat aggression in the bud while kitty is still young.
How to respond to cat aggression
Never punish your kitten by hitting, chasing, or throwing something at her. For a cat, these acts constitute abuse, and surely this form of punishment causes a cat to become aggressive. If your kitten is getting too rough in a play session, after saying “Ouch” or “No Biting” discontinue the play. A kitten who wants to play badly after the play is ended a few times will soon learn to play your way.
Some feline experts advise to give light tap on the nose with a forefinger. It will signal your dislike for their behavior that kitty will understand.
Keep lots of cat toys available for energy release and use a string or a squeak toy to divert the biting, scratching kitten’s attention.
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