White kitten playing with a pink toy.

Rules of Play

Kittens love to play. In fact, it’s part of their normal behavioral development. However, realize that there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it. Follow these “rules of play” to be sure that your approach is the correct one.

When selecting toys for your new kitten or cat, be sure that they cannot be torn apart easily and that they do not contain small parts that could be swallowed. Wrinkled paper and shoeboxes are intriguing to most cats. Rubber balls or mice too large to swallow, as well as cat-nip toys (again, constructed for safety), are also considered safe toys.

If a string is attached to a toy in order to entice a cat to play, always remove it after the play session is over. Along the same lines, never use ribbon or laces as play items. If a cat swallows such items, they could damage their intestines and have to be removed surgically.

It is fine to play intensely with a kitten, but overt roughhousing should be avoided. If a play session progresses from a friendly romp to an all-out frontal assault, end it immediately. Your pet needs to learn how to keep its activity level to a socially acceptable intensity. Also, be sure that the youngster gets plenty of time to rest after an especially active play period.