Friday, February 6, 2015

Kola Loves Boxing

A little while ago, I wrote about how Kola’s enjoyment of having his back and neck rubbed produced actions akin to swimming. I am beginning to think that my foster-cat is quite the athlete, because he also enjoys boxing.

Like most cats, the Floof King gets rambunctious now and then. His favourite means of showing this is to rush into the parlour, up the arm of the couch there and on to the platform of the cat-tree by the window, where he will throw himself down, roll about and challenge me to a fight. He did the same one day while on the tall cat-tree in the sitting room.

When I put my hand up to him, he swats it. I will attempt to seize his swiftly-moving paws, which he will punish with more whaps. If I grab him somewhere, he bleats like a goat encountering a troll on a bridge and tries to hit me. The pupils of his eyes grow enormous and he’s filled with energy and defiance.

Some people have suggested that cats should not be encouraged to do this, because it leads to biting, scratching and other anti-social behaviour. It may very well with certain animals, but I think it depends on the human’s approach to it more than on anything else. I will play with Kola for several minutes, exchanging blows and giving him quite the work-out. But when we are finished, I tell him, “all done,” and he accepts that. I let him calm down and a minute later, he’s purring because I’m stroking his fluffy fur.

Similarly, Tucker will try to bite me when I innocently crush his melon-head. If he becomes too enthusiastic, I chastise him gently, and he calms down, a little guilty, as if he has done something wrong. I make sure he knows he hasn’t. Kola has none of the roly poly’s guilt, but he knows we’re just playing. I feel that responding negatively to his invitations would be what would inspire anti-social behaviour - or, rather, no social behaviour. Even if he wants to keep boxing, his actions will peter out if I stop participating. And if I don’t want him to box, I will say, “all done”, instead of “no”, demonstrating the difference between inappropriate timing and not being allowed to play at all.

I think any pet can pose a danger if it’s not instructed to know what is in fun and what is not. Kola knows, and when he’s shown me how skilled he is at pugilism, he relaxes and expects to be fussed over and petted. That’s better than a gold medal at the Olympics.


  1. so sweet - it really is about knowing the personality of the cat. Mo could have his belly scratched until the end of time....try that on Ivy and lose a finger. :) What a fun game.

  2. Obviously he has great skill at boxing, and we love that last photo, in particular.

    I used to play quite vigorously with Annie, who was a wild kitty in her day, but when she got over-stimulated and wanted to bite, I'd just get up and walk away and ignore her. It seemed to work just fine with her, as she wasn't given to biting any other time. I don't play that way with Nicki or Derry, though, and didn't with Chumley, either. Definitely depends on the cat!

  3. I would say you know the cats well, what they like and tolerate, and they trust you and appreciate your care. Kola is such a lovely boy, I hope he finds his forever home with someone who appreciates him.

  4. I never could understand that "no hand play" admonition. True Einstein was feral but he is learning not to use claws or bite and we end when he gets that look. Cats love to interact and this builds deep bonds in both directions.

  5. Kola looks like he is really enjoying his game. Flynn likes to box also and is very gentle when he does it. Sometimes he forgets himself and extends his claws, but a firm "no" and he immediately retracts them.

  6. Cats are like small children that way. rough housing is all fun and games unit somebody gets scratched. I think they are just enjoying themselves. Jessica sometimes becomes so excited when I brush her that she grabs the brush and madly bites it. Luckily not my hand. I bet Kola is really enjoying his play time.

  7. Annabelle will do the same 'boxing' with me when she is up high on the cat tree. She is telling me NO I don't you to pet me now. Kola is having some fun with your little game. I think he well understands that is what it is.

    1. I hadn't thought that Kola may be telling me 'no', as well. Hmm. I think when he's in the parlour, he's inviting play, by the way he acts. Up on the sitting room cat-tree, it may be a different matter. Poor Kola, being harassed by that bothersome human...

  8. I think it is great that you interact with Kola. Obviously, he knows when it is time to quit. They will figure out that if and when they use their claws that all the fun stops. You all have a super Monday,

  9. What a wonderful game. Alot like Abbe and I where she play bites my hands when I tie my shoes gleefully and it ends as soon as I stop tying :)