Discouraging Rough Play in Cats

Does your cat sometimes playfully attack you? If so, you aren’t the only one. Kitties are hunters at heart, and often think that pouncing and biting are great fun. Those little claws and teeth can be pretty sharp! Luckily, most kitties can be taught to play nice. In this article, a Poway, CA veterinarian discusses teaching Fluffy proper petiquette.

Love Bites

Sometimes kitties nip gently as a sign of affection. It’s easy to tell when Fluffy is giving you a friendly nibble: she may bare her teeth, but she won’t bite hard. This may be a bit disconcerting for first-time cat owners, but, believe it or not, those light nips are a sign of affection, and one of our feline friends’ many interesting quirks.

Play Fighting

Play fighting is not uncommon in frisky kitties, especially young ones. To discourage your furball from attacking you, address her behavior as soon as she pounces. Don’t punish Fluffy, as this may only make her feel frightened or angry. Instead, tell your feline buddy to play nice, or perhaps instruct her to put her claws away. Use a firm, disapproving tone, but don’t yell. Then, walk away and ignore your feisty pet until she is ready to be more polite. You can also try squirting your cat with water when she pounces on you. If your kitty doesn’t get the hint, try using a taste deterrent, which you can find in most pet stores.


True aggression is a very different story than playful pouncing. If Fluffy is seriously attacking, her ears may be laid back, and she might hiss, growl, or scream. She also won’t hold back as far as force. Aggression in cats can have many different causes, from fear to anxiety to medical conditions. You’ll need to figure out what is setting your furball off before you can address the issue. Ask your vet for specific advice.


Make sure Fluffy has plenty of fun and suitable toys to take her aggression out on. Catnip mice, little balls, and other kitty toys are all fine. We also recommend taking time to play with your feline pal every day. This will help her burn off extra energy, leaving you with a calmer, better-behaved cat.

Does your feline friend need shots or an exam? We are here to help! Contact us, your local Poway, CA animal hospital, today!

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