Aren't For Wrestling
are accustomed to taunting their pawed pals with wrestle-like play. Cats,
however, are different.
There are a lot of fun games you
can play with kitty, but wrestling isn’t one of them.
Play is like hunting for cats, and kitty would never
choose to hunt prey that’s bigger than herself. So whether you use your hands or a
big stuffed toy to get her riled up, she reacts because she’s feeling
scared and threatened — not because it’s fun.
One way you can tell your cat is not having fun is
that she starts kicking with her back legs. Back-leg
kicks are reserved for killing very large
prey and for serious fighting. A cat’s powerful thighs drive the
force of their rear claws, and they’re used to tear open the abdomen
of an adversary. Surely, that’s not a game.
Yes, cats sometimes wrestle with each another in play.
But they ‘speak’ the
same language. Plus, cats are all roughly the same size, while humans
are much bigger.
I know it’s very tempting to tickle a cat’s tummy, especially
when they’re kittens. But when you touch a cat’s tummy, she
instinctively grabs on, kicks with her back legs and sometimes bites — all
of which are survival instincts. If you think it’s cute behavior
from your kitten, please remember that kitty is doing it because she
feels threatened. Plus, when your kitten grows up, she’ll be able
to do some real damage to your hands and arms that way.
Another problem with wrestling is that you teach your
cat that it’s
OK to grab, scratch and bite you. Even if she eventually comes to regard
this as a game and not a threat, do you really want her thinking of your
body parts as toys? How do you expect her to know when it’s OK
to grab and bite you and when it’s not?
It’s great fun to engage your cat in some wild, hunt-like games.
But stick to soft, mouse-size toys on the ends of sticks and strings — far
from your body. You can watch wrestling on TV.