We’re thrilled you’ve chosen to adopt from Meow Parlour and we’re here to help you understand your new companion.

Here are resources we find really useful, and as always do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns.


  • Have regular, interactive play sessions using fishing pole/string type toys that simulate the unpredictable movement of prey.

  • Cue the beginning and end of the play session with the same phrase every time, so the cat knows what’s going on.

  • Play only with remote toys that are far away from your body, so the cat cannot get near your hands or feet.

  • Make sure the cat gets to catch and bite the toy frequently.

  • Gradually wind down each play session, so the cat is not over-excited when you finish.

  • End each play session with a small treat.

  • Put away the toys with strings when you’re finished playing.


  • Touch your cat anywhere at all when you are playing with him.

  • Play using your hands, feet or any body part as a toy.

  • Play roughly or wrestle with the cat.

  • Tease the cat with a toy but never let him catch and bite it.

  • Lift the cat off the ground as he is biting or grabbing a toy by lifting the toy or the cat

  • Swing or toss a toy directly at the cat’s head or body.

  • Hit a cat with a toy, no mater how soft it is.

  • Stop playing as long as the cat is looking at the toy (even if he’s not jumping or pouncing).

  • Abruptly end a play session without a wind-down period.

    Beth Adelman - Certified Cat Behavior Consultant -

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Always reinforce polite requests for play or any kind of attention (a gentle paw, meow, or look) with play or some other kind of positive attention. Reinforcing good behavior is more effective than correcting inappropriate behavior. Always withdraw attention when behavior is inappropriate.

Regular play therapy

  • Regular, interactive play sessions using fishing pole/string-type toys that simulate prey (remember to put them away when you’re finished playing)

  • NEVER play using your hands or any body part as a toy. Do not play roughly with the cat.

  • Three to four play sessions every day, at least 15 minutes each

  • Try to be consistent about the play schedule (cats appreciate routine)

  • Schedule the play sessions so they come before your own quiet times and activities that do not include the cat

  • Schedule at least one play session in the morning

  • Gradually wind down each play session, so the cat is not wound up when you finish

  • Play only with remote toys, so the cat cannot get near your hands.

  • End each play session with a small treat.

    Avoid situations that trigger aggressive behavior

  • Always withdraw your attention when the cat’s behavior is inappropriate.

  • Observe his body language and distract him with a thrown toy or treat BEFORE the bite incident, whenever possible.

  • Startle/redirect the cat AS he starts to play inappropriately, so the behavior stops immediately. Use the minimum startle necessary to stop the aggression as early in the sequence as possible. DO NOT USE AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIORS.

  • Interrupt inappropriate behavior on a lap by standing up.

    Types of movement that stimulate a cat’s prey drive

  • Across the cat’s field of vision

  • Away from the cat

  • Rapid, jerky movements

  • Sudden bursts of movement

  • Movement accompanied by crinkly, rustling noises

    If the cat takes any part of your body in his mouth or sinks his claws into you

  • Freeze

  • Howl like you’ve just been bitten by a lion

  • If necessary, gently push toward the cat; he will release you

  • AS THE CAT IS RELEASING, put the behavior on a cue: “No biting.” Always use the same cue, and always use it as the cat releases. No need to yell.

  • When the cat releases, praise him in a quiet, happy voice: “Good cat.”

  • Immediately leave the room and/or withdraw your attention
    If the cat persists in aggressive requests for attention, put him in another room until he is calm (maybe 10 minutes). Let him out and give him calm attention.


  • Only pet the cat when you are looking right at him and paying attention.

  • Always pet with the grain of the fur.

  • Stick to spots he likes: most cats like under the chin or behind the ears.

  • Avoid the flanks and rump.

  • Never touch a cat’s belly.

  • Watch for signs of overstimulation, and stop petting immediately when you see them:

    1. Ears back, sideways or flat

    2. Tail flicking or lashing

    3. Skin twitching

    4. Eyes slit or very dilated

    5. Claws out

    6. Whiskers forward

    7. Legs and shoulders stiff or crouching posture

    8. Raised paw.

      You can eventually use the “No biting” cue as the cat starts to open his mouth and reach for you; it’s now a way to head off the bite.

Calming attention

  • Make direct eye contact only with half-closed eyes.

  • Touch him only when he makes social advances toward you. Start by extending just a single finger and let him walk into your hand.

  • 5 to 10 minutes of individual, calming attention (singing/talking/grooming/massage) each day. This should be at a time when cat is naturally quiet.

    Environmental enrichment

  • Always have out a few large. soft catnip toys that he can grasp and bite; these he will play with by himself. Never intervene when he is playing with these mock prey items.

  • Food hide and seek; leave his dry food in areas around the house for him to find during the day and work at retrieving

  • Food toss and other food foraging games

  • Elevated areas that he is allowed to climb on, with a small plush toy that he can knock down

  • Scatter so cardboard boxes and large paper bags around the house for him to investigate and destroy. Let him chew/tear these up as he wishes. Make it a rule that no one is to disturb him when he is in/on/playing with these items.

  • Create some private hiding/sleeping places for him, preferably high up. Make it a rule that no one is to disturb him when he is in these places.

Beth Adelman - Certified Cat Behavior Consultant -