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Kitten Behavior:

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Why is my Kitten acting like that? Games Kittens Play
By: Alfred

It has been observed that there are at least two distinct
aggressive play games performed by kittens, and maybe even a
third category.

* Attack, Retreat!

It is important for your kittens to learn how to attack and
retreat efficiently. The ability to handle themselves
properly can mean life or death to them as adult cats.
Learning to attack and retreat while playing, where the
stakes aren't as high as in a real situation is very good
for your kitten.

Kittens will signal each other that they want to play by
arching their backs and tails and prancing around their
intended victim. The playing then begins with a springing
attack that looks serious, but the intent is to grapple. The
two kittens will roll around clinging to each other for a
few seconds and then they will break apart and run off with
one chasing the other.

If you were to take a picture of the first spring you would
see wild, wide eyes, open mouths with lips peeled back to
show teeth and claws out. This is all done mostly without
noise and teaches your cat a lot about attacking an intended
target without getting harmed.

* Stalking the Prey!

This play is all about learning to stalk and catch prey. The
kitten will crouch low to the floor with its ears almost
laid back. The kitten is intent upon the other kitten, the
toy, tissue or whatever the objective may be. Most of its
body is tense, with usually only the tip of their tail
flicking back and forth.

Unknown is the signal that says CHARGE! But all of a sudden
the kitten will race as fast as can be, streaking across the
floor to pounce on the target. In the beginnings of this
type of play often two kittens will manage to knock each
other over and fall all over the place. As the play
continues the kittens will begin to actually manage to
pounce, pin and grapple with the other kitten.

They will then release each other to try again another time.
If you see your kitten slinking around and hiding and
generally trying to maneuver to a good vantage to charge
then you will be seeing this type of play/learning in

* Hooking Up!

The final type of play is observed in juvenile male kittens.
This can be preparation for mating. This play involves
chasing and pouncing upon the other kitten. Sometimes this
will include biting of the other kitten's scruff as a tomcat
will do to a queen, and then the kitten will let go of the
other kitten. As with a lot of other species, aggression and
mating habits are closely related.

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