Providing plenty of distractions may help redirect an aggressive cat's energy. Learn how to encourage appropriate playtime behavior.

Posted: Mon Nov 3 00:00:00 PST 2003

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Cat learning to redirect aggression from owners to toys.Playing roughly with your cat encourages her to use her teeth and claws on people, a difficult habit to break. Cat scratches and bites are prone to infection, so discourage kittens and cats from engaging in rough play with human companions.

Sometimes rough play can be redirected onto toys. Distracting a cat with an interactive toy can stop some playful attacks. Providing your cat with plenty of toys helps keep her occupied and reduces her motivation to attack you.

If distractions don't work, try making a sudden loud noise. Don't hit, slap or kick your cat. Such physical punishment is inhumane and often makes the problem worse.

You must learn to distinguish rough play from true aggression, where the cat's motivation is to do harm. Aggression can be caused by illness, pain, fear or territoriality; your cat may also redirect aggression aimed at another animal toward you. Aggression is a serious problem. Consult your veterinarian before referring the situation to a certified behavior specialist.

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Reader Comments

Tara    Monument, CO

12/24/2014 4:27:46 PM

My two cats are SERIOUSLY addicted to fighting. This is REALLY helpful. You don't know how much this article has aided me. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!

Lisa    Ludlow, MA

8/2/2013 10:15:56 AM

My 2 cats Rocky and Hercules used to chase each other around the house and wrestle all the time. It was obvious they were only playing, and it was good excersise for them. Now that Rocky has died, Hercules just lays around the house.

Selena    El Paso, TX

5/15/2013 11:34:37 PM

nice info

Janet    Bethlehem, PA

2/28/2013 6:00:07 AM

thanks for the info

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