How to Get Your Cat to Stop Playing Rough

Tired of getting swiped and swatted at as you walk by your cat, suffering painful scratches on your hands and arms? Use these helpful hints from a Colorado Springs veterinary professional to nip your cat’s rough play in the bud.


There’s a good chance your cat is playing roughly with you because he doesn’t have anything else to play with. Make sure your cat is provided with plenty of toys to get out his scratching and batting instincts. Scratching posts can work well too, and they can dull the claws a bit. Switch up your cat’s regimen of toys every once in a while—they can get bored with the same old things.

Introduce New Items

Try regularly introducing new items and objects into your cat’s immediate environment. Offer cardboard boxes, paper bags, paper towel tubes, or other safe-to-play-with household items. Your cat’s aggression will be taken out on these environmental intruders, and with any luck, he’ll be too worn out to attack your hands!

Redirect Cat’s Attention

Try carrying a small toy with you as you go about your business around the house. If you’re approaching your cat and you know he’s going to swipe as you go by, try tossing the toy ahead to redirect your cat’s attention. This can save a lot of painful swipes as they’re taken out on the toy.


Try giving your cat a time-out every time he starts playing rough. As soon as he scratches or bites, get up and leave the room. Ignore your cat completely for a few minutes. If you keep up with this and ignore your cat every time he plays rough, he should get the hint that rough play equals no play.

Ask a Pro

If you’re still having trouble, you may need to seek the help of a certified animal behaviorist or animal trainer. These professionals have multiple ways of fixing your cat’s inappropriate behavior. Ask your Colorado Springs veterinarian to put you in touch with one—call today to get started!