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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-21-2006, 04:10 PM Thread Starter
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Cats and Hands

Figured I would post in a new thread so as not to derail another.

So I always here "Playing with your cat using your hand as a toy is bad." This confuses me a bit.

The reason so, is I have 2 cats, both which I use my hand to rough house with them, do "the claw" with hovering infront of their face and letting them pounce and tackle it.

I have never seen any negative side effects from this. Tink who is 4yrs old now, and even Chleo who is only 4 months, both were brought up the same way and both have a healthy respect as far as rough play.

I don't ever have either of them wanting to attack my hand when its normal petting, and usually needs me to instigate a "rough house" with them before they start to play in this manner. Nor do they ever do this with company, and its even to the point where my wife doesnt like this kind of play (hurts her hands too much) and they will not do it with her at all... ever.

Also, the odd time where they try to initiate this kind of play, with a very simple sound/movement gesture they stop and do not continue to try to initiate it again.

I guess my question is, what is the negative issues that comes from this? If it happened I just got lucky I could understand, however, 2 kitties in a row I have been able to cultivate through communcation with my cats in order to have these results...*shrugs*
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-21-2006, 05:00 PM
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What makes it "bad" is that sometimes kitties take it too far and can draw blood, which is undesireable. The worst case scenario, and I do NOT see this here with your kitty-play, is the cat can become aggressive and anti-social thinking it must always 'attack people' who try to interact with it.

I feel, if the kitty knows the difference between play and not play time, it is fine.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-22-2006, 08:26 PM
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The principle is to instill in a cat the notion that it's not acceptable to bite a human, even a love bite or a play bite. Cats have fur to protect them; humans don't. A cat needs to learn the difference. So when a cat is stressed or afraid or otherwise in an abnormal situation, when it might bite out of instinct, hopefully the conditioning prevents the cat from biting or at least causing injury.

I think vets appreciate clients whose cats have been taught not to bite.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-22-2006, 11:43 PM
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I'd like to just chime in and say that a lot depends on the kitty's level of awareness. Most cats sre willing and able to learn how to control their instinctive impulses, and even enjoy learning to "go beyond their instincts".

I've had a lot of cats in my life, and only a few could not tell the difference between acceptable play (not hurting), and unacceptable play (causing pain).
run
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-23-2006, 12:15 AM
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You've never been scratched (hard enough to break the skin) by a freaked-out cat?

Cats (and even humans) revert to the primal basics when confronted with a sudden fear/aggression inducing stimulus. If it was just play, there'd be no concern.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-23-2006, 03:22 PM
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Yes, I've been bitten painfully hard, and gotten cut by terrified kitties.
Every cat owner has. It's something you just accept as a part of having cats in your life. Those situations are rare, and not associated with play.

Almost invariably though, the scared kitties rapidly realize what they're doing. It's a startle reaction, and tempered by love for their human companion. They let go very quickly, and apologize for hurting me.

Most kitties learn early in life that we humans don't have a nice cushiony fur coat to protect us from teeth and claws. They learn they can't play as rough with us as with their feline friends.
I think whether you say love or conditioning is just a matter of semantics.
I prefer to think that kitties learn to play gently and not hurt their human friends because they love us.

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-23-2006, 03:58 PM
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I can't argue with that.
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