Rescue Kitten

karekeg

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On Thursday, June 9th, I rescued a male kitten from a nasty, flea infested trailer. He is 16 weeks old. I’ve gotten him all cleaned up, and I’ve taken him to the vet and got all of his shots. Now on to the problem (if it even is a problem, and not just something kittens do). When I rub his belly, he latched onto my arm and hand with his paws (and claws) and bites on my hand and arms. Is this normal play behavior or is he just feisty?
 

ArtNJ

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100% normal yes. Some cats can NEVER be pet on their bellies. This one may allow it when older. Do NOT pet this one on the belly since encouraging play with hands and arms tends to be a bad idea. Just cross the belly right off.

Ok, ok, some might flout this rule at times. And maybe I've done it too :) Its fun to play rough with a kitten. But there are better ways, and it really can lead to them thinking that latching on is a fun game that they will play in other contexts. That can be something you have to train kittens not to do regardless. So play is with toys, not with hands.
 

susanm9006

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Young kittens need to wrestle and play. Absent another kitten, you become it’s playmate and it doesn’t realize what it is doing isn’t okay. As A ArtNJ said you can discourage that kind of play by not touching his belly but it also helps to have some toys present he can wrestle with, like a small stuffed animal or a larger cat toy that he can wrap his paws around and bunny kick. If you keep a few of these around you can redirect his energy from you to his toys when he starts to leap at you or grab you.

He also need several period of play a day with a wand toy or laser where you can have him running and leaping until he is worn out. And lastly lots of toys he can chase like balls, cat springs, and little mice.
 
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karekeg

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100% normal yes. Some cats can NEVER be pet on their bellies. This one may allow it when older. Do NOT pet this one on the belly since encouraging play with hands and arms tends to be a bad idea. Just cross the belly right off.

Ok, ok, some might flout this rule at times. And maybe I've done it too :) Its fun to play rough with a kitten. But there are better ways, and it really can lead to them thinking that latching on is a fun game that they will play in other contexts. That can be something you have to train kittens not to do regardless. So play is with toys, not with hands.
Thank you for your reply and advice! I guess I’m used to rubbing on a dogs belly so I assumed a cat would like it too! 😆
 

ArtNJ

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Thank you for your reply and advice! I guess I’m used to rubbing on a dogs belly so I assumed a cat would like it too! 😆
He might well have liked it! Some don't and will nip, but the ones that grab often seem to like it -- unclear! All we know is that it riles some cats up, and its not a great idea to let them think that latching on is a fun game.

If you want to play a little rough, and the kitten already likes you, try putting your hand under the blankets on the bed and moving it around. The cat will pounce and you can play rough. Once that is a game, you can get the cat used to being covered with the blankets and play rough from the top. Of course, this game has a big downside too! Makes it a LOT harder to cuddle/sleep peacefully with a kitten! But at least it doesn't encourage rough play with your actual body parts.

...mostly best to just not play rough, but I'm far from the only one that does the covers thing, they really do like it, so maybe its worth the downsides!
 
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