Kittens are very curious and love to play, and how you engage in play when
they first enter your home partially sets the stage for how they will
play for the rest of their lives. A checkup with a veterinarian at an
animal hospital is an important first step in integrating a new kitten into your home,
as the vet can ensure that there are no health issues that could impact
your kitten’s health, behavior and well-being. Set the stage for
a positive and playful relationship with your kitten with these tips.
Don’t Use Your Hands as Toys
It may be sweet to watch a small kitten darting back and forth trying to
catch your hand as you move it all around, but that trick won’t
be fun as your kitten gets bigger and his or her bite gets stronger. Start
out using appropriate cat toys for all of your games, and try to keep
your hands out of the equation. Feline feather wands and laser pointers
make great cat toys. If you do get nipped somewhere in the game, don’t
yell or spank. An angry reaction from you won’t teach your kitten
how to play nicely, but will make him or her fearful of you instead.
Cats play only one game; It’s called Hunt, Pounce and Catch. This
game often includes lying in wait for you and pouncing at you from around
corners, from underneath draperies or from behind doors. Not only can
this lead to nipping and scratching at your ankles, but it can also be
dangerous, as a surprise pounce could cause a person to fall. When your
kitten tries to turn pouncing into a game, correct him or her with a firm
no. When your kitten is lurking but doesn’t pounce, offer praise
and give him or her a toy to encourage appropriate play.
Your kitten wants your attention, so withdrawing it when he or she behaves
inappropriately is a powerful motivator. When your kitten won’t
respond to other corrections, leave the room for a brief period. Don’t
put your kitten in another room as an alternative, because your touch
will seem like a reward.
Let Chastain Veterinary Medical Group guide you through all the stages
of adjusting to a new kitten with spay and neuter services, cat teeth
cleaning, and more. Make an appointment with a
veterinarian in McKinney or north Dallas by calling (972) 239-1309 for Preston Road Animal Hospital in Dallas or
(972) 529-5033 for Meadow Brook Animal Hospital in the McKinney / Frisco area.