Play aggressive cats can appear ferocious and scare their owners. Most cats that are play aggressive are young cats that are attracted to moving stimuli.
Play aggressive cats will sometimes be more attracted to one member of the family that they find more fun than other members of the family. This family member might scream and run from the attacking cat. The play aggressive cat will do one or all of the following: stalk, crouch, chase, tail twitch, and stare. Watch two cats fight and you will see many of these behaviors but during an actual fight the cat’s ears are back; during play aggression the cat’s ears will be forward.
Why are cats play aggressive? –
Many cats become play aggressive because they lack adequate opportunities for play. Cats are intelligent creatures that need to play and be stimulated. If cats do not get adequate attention and adequate play they can become play aggressive. Play aggression is considered unacceptable play with the result being deep bite wounds and scratches on the affected humans.
Treatment for play aggressive cats –
The best thing for play aggressive cats is more opportunities for appropriate play. This means play with your cat using toys not your hands. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on cat toys there is plenty around the house to play with. Some cats like to chase string others like wads of paper to bat around. The tube from an empty roll of toilet paper is a great cat toy. Cats love to play with anything they can chase, bat, or pounce on. Cats love paper sacks and boxes to play in, be creative.
Also, don’t allow the aggression to take place.
If your cat attacks you when you enter through the front door, try using the back door. If your cat attacks you when you wear skirts, change into pants before you get home. The idea is to avoid the situations when play aggression usually took place.
A young play aggressive cat might also benefit from a feline playmate. Cats enjoy the company of other cats when introduced properly. Cats that grow up with other cats learn cat etiquette and social skills.
Punishment should be consistent, immediate, and appropriate. Appropriate punishments are water guns, throwing something soft, or making noise, for example a pop can with pennies inside. I personally have the most success with water, hit them right in the face and they get the message. When using any kind of punishment the key is to be consistent, so you will need to carry the water gun (or whatever you are using) with you to be prepared for the cat attack.
Many owners are scared of their play aggressive cat, with good reason. If you are struggling with an aggressive cat consider seeking help from a professional animal behaviorist. The ideas I presented may not help all aggressive cats.