I’ve seen several clients lately that are having problems with feline play aggression with their young kittens. Feline play aggression can be a serious problem that destroys the human-animal bond and can lead to relinquishment later.
It helps to understand normal kitten play development to understand why feline play aggression occurs.
- From birth to weaning (8 weeks) kittens engage in social play where they interact with their mom and littermates.
- From 8-10 weeks of age, kittens engage object play where they become interested in objects in their environment. They will pounce, chase, stalk, batt, swipe, bite and claw at objects which is an integral part of a kitten’s eye-paw coordination and hunting skills.
- From 10-12 weeks of age, kittens engage in locomotion play where they develop their agility and balance skills.
Most kittens are acquired around 7-8 weeks of age; therefore, it is important to help and encourage them with object and locomotion play. Unfortunately, I believe that indoor only kittens have less environmental stimulation than outdoor cats which is usually why feline play aggression occurs. Most kittens that I see with feline play aggression problems are either bored or the owner is using their hands to play with the kitten.
Five ways to curb feline play aggression:
- Avoid using your hands while playing with kittens. Part of object play involves biting and clawing which can lead to injury to yourself. Playing with your hands encourages the kitten to continue feline play aggression with your hands.
- Provide plenty of toys. Ideal toys for kittens include smaller objects that can be batted around or picked up with their mouth. Avoid toys that are small enough to be ingested. Wand toys that contain feathers or mice at the end are excellent toys to dangle in front of your kitten or drag along the floor to help them develop their predatory skills.
- Encourage your cat to explore and investigate their new environment without destroying your property by providing appropriate perches, scratching posts and lounging areas. Most cat towers supply all three of these things.
- If your kitten happens to bite or scratch you, yell “ouch” loudly and clearly. Slowly remove your hand. If you move your hand too fast, your kitten may think it’s a toy and go after you again.
- Anytime your kitten is playing inappropriately, redirect their attention to something more appropriate. Engage in five to ten minutes of active play.
It all boils down to providing an enriched environment for your kitten, so they don’t get bored. I recommend rotating toys and giving your kitten three different toys daily.
Here at Guthrie Pet Hospital, most folks are aware that we have two clinic cats—Sylvie and Felicia. Some people don’t know that there’s one other animal member of our clinic family. His name is Dante, and he’s a twenty-year-old Yellow-Naped Amazon Parrot. Our clients are used to hearing him scream “hello,” “okay,” and “bye” as they move through the hospital. If you’ve ever met him, you’ve also probably been warned to keep your distance from his cage. You see, like many birds, Dante can be less than friendly with people he doesn’t know and trust. He’s also not opposed to biting people who get too close to his cage without his permission. This includes those of us who work at Guthrie Pet Hospital. Continue…
Most people are aware that chocolate is toxic to dogs and cats. During the Christmas and Easter holidays, Guthrie Pet Hospital sees an influx of calls and cases involving chocolate ingestion. Learn what you need to know about chocolate toxicity in pets. Continue…
Hello, Silvi here! As the official Cat of Guthrie Pet Hospital, I see a lot of stuff. I see puppy dogs and kitty cats and delivery people and clients and a couple of weird guys that come to steal our rugs every few weeks. There are lots of new faces every day. I don’t know if you have noticed, but we have had some new faces working at the clinic lately as well. We have Felicia, my apprentice clinic cat, who is still trying to get the lay of the land. She is doing a pretty good job for the most part, but she is still kind of a newb. I told her if she licked the windows it would make her look smart…she totally did it! I think she will fit in fine once she quits trying to climb Dr. Anna’s trees. Continue…
In May of 2017, Guthrie Pet Hospital developed an app for the clinic. You can download the app on your Apple or Windows phone directly from the app store by searching for Guthrie vet. The app pairs with our office software through your e-mail address, so it’s important to update your e-mail address with us. Once you have downloaded the app, use your e-mail address as your login and enter a password. Wait at least 24 hours for the app to sync with our office software. Once the system has synced, your pets will be added into the app automatically.
What can you do with Guthrie Pet Hospital app?
- View your pet’s vaccination history
- Call the clinic directly from the app
- View upcoming appointments
- Request appointment
- Request prescriptions for pick up at the clinic
- Receive push notifications: You will receive notifications about upcoming appointments, once a month heartworm prevention reminder and our monthly special announcement.
- Post your pet’s selfie to share with others
- Search our extensive Pet Health Library for common health problems
- Connect with us on our social media channel
You must have the Guthrie Pet Hospital app downloaded on your phone to use the loyalty program. You will receive $100 credit on your account for every 16 stamps that you earn.
How to earn loyalty stamps:
- One stamp for downloading the app
- One stamp for every $100 spent on each invoice. TIP: If you are checking out and owe $95.00 for your visit, buy your pet a toy or some treats to reach that $100.00 goal.
- Watch for push notifications and monthly specials offering additional stamps
If you don’t have our app, please download and take advantage of all the great benefits and start earning your rewards today. Contact Guthrie Pet Hospital if you are having trouble connecting and we will be happy to help you.