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Cat Tips

Give your cat a nose-to-tail exam, making sure that its ears and teeth are clean and odorless, fur is free of parasites, skin is lump- and bump-free, and weight has remained stable.

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Expert Q&A

My kitten likes to pounce on my fingers, so I sometimes “hand wrestle” with her. It doesn’t hurt, but a relative recently told me this form of play could be dangerous. Why?

Kittens are often attracted by anything that moves, so your twitching fingers probably stimulate the hunter instinct in your mouser. That's common, and kittens will also sometimes try to nibble on fingers with their "baby" teeth. By seven months of age, your kitten will have its full set of adult teeth. Such playtime can be innocent and harmless in the moment, but you could be unknowingly training your cat to view your hands as a toy. This gentle kitten nibble can later turn into a full-fledged damaging bite as your cat gets older. Another problem is that cats can easily become overstimulated. They get so tuned into what they're doing that they forget it's your hand and not a toy. When that happens, it can be difficult to get your cat to stop. Instead of "hand wrestling," dangle a pole toy teasingly in front of your kitten or offer another toy. When your cat settles down, reward that calm behavior with a head rub and treat.

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