Cat Veterinarian -Veterinary
Cat veterinarians will tell you that play-motivated aggressive behaviors are commonly observed in young, active cats less than 2 years of age, which live in one-cat households. Play in cats incorporates a variety of behaviors, such as exploratory, investigative and predatory behaviors. Play provides young cats with opportunities to practice skills they would normally need for survival. For example, kittens like to explore new areas and investigate anything that moves. They may bat at, pounce on and bite objects that to them resemble prey.
Aggressive behaviors can be identified as play based on the type of situations in which they occur, the cats' body postures and the types of behaviors displayed. Playful aggression often results in scratches and inhibited bites that do not break the skin. Playful attacks often occur when an unsuspecting owner comes down the stairs, steps out of the bathtub, rounds a corner or even moves under the bedcovers while sleeping. Play that involves aggression can be initiated by the owner or by the cat. Owners may inadvertently contribute to this problem if they encourage kittens to chase or bite at their hands and feet during play. The body postures seen during play aggression resemble the postures a cat would show when searching for or catching prey. The cat may freeze in a low crouch before pouncing, twitch its tail, flick its ears back and forth, and/or wrap its front feet around a person's hands or feet while biting. Cat veterinarians will tell you that these are all normal cat behaviors, whether they are seen during play or are part of an actual predatory sequence.