Phew, you’ll be glad you read this! It’s all too easy to let a cute kitten get away with things that, once grown up, you wish they hadn’t! Here are a few pitfalls to avoid when playing with Kitty…
1 – No hands! Or other body parts…Toys and games should never involve parts of your body like hands, feet, fingers & toes, or be closely related to these, otherwise you are essentially training your cat to attack yourself! Cats may not see the difference between toes wiggled under the bedclothes, and toes accidentally wiggled when you’re only wearing socks – owch! Similarly, if you have a cat that likes climbing, don’t let them climb up your leg, but instead provide cat-friendly climbing equipment. Would you really want a fully grown 5kg cat clawing up your bare legs in summer?!!
2 – Never reprimand, including shouting, hitting, slapping or growling at your cats. Cats simply don’t respond to being told off. If you want your cat to know what is right and wrong, concentrate on rewarding them for doing the RIGHT things, and ignore the wrongs. So, if your cat gets carried away with a game, and starts to scratch or bite you, or climbs the ornamental tree in your hallway, then stop the game, and give your cat a chance to calm down before restarting the game.
3 – Play is not the same as a fight! Never play physically with your cat, like wrestling, ruffling & pinning down. These will turn play into a fight, and if your cat becomes scared will have a significant negative impact upon your relationship. If your cats wants to play physically, it is normally better to get a feline companion for him/her to play with, or to channel the play energy into alternative hunting games (see Interactive Play)
4– Don’t prevent success. For play to be fun, your cat must experience success. Let your cat catch the toy periodically during a game, and particularly at the end of the game.