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What is "Play Aggression?"

Posted on April 7, 2013 at 3:10 AM

Play Aggression

Also called "play-fighting," (play aggression) starts at an early age with littermates, or with non-related kittens sharing a household, but is not confined to kittens. Cats have a natural instict for survival, whether in the wild or in a cushy home, and early-on are taught predator-prey behavior by their mothers.

Kitten stalking prey.

One kitten will "stalk" the other, then pounce his unsuspecting prey, and the fun is on. You will then see them trade off roles, with the victim chasing his former predator. The "chase me" game is a favorite in my own cat-ruled home, either between Jaspurr and Joey, littermates, or often including Billy, the younger non-related kit.

Play-fighting is usually harmless fun, and I only intercede if it appears that a cat is being hurt; if the fighting continues for too long a period, in my judgement; or if it turns into sexual aggression. (You can help ensure against injury from scratching by trimming the kittens' claws regularly, a practice which should become part of your normal maintenance routine.)

It should be mentioned also that play aggression is the first step toward establishing a permanent hierarchy, or "pecking order" among feline housemates.

Kittens establishing dominance order.

by Fran Sufy

(images selected and downloaded from the internet 3 March 2013 by ForestWind Siberians).


Categories: Playtime, Care Practices, Behavior