10 facts about using hands as play toys for your cat

Man invites his Bengal cat to use his hand as a play toy

Man invites his Bengal cat to use his hand as a play toy. Stupid. Screenshot.

Here are 10 pretty obvious facts about using your hands as a play toy for your cat. It is a definite no-no. The man in the video is being silly because he wants to create an interesting video. It’s a kind of masochism to titillate viewers and frankly it is very stupid because you end up training your cat to regard your hands as a cat toy.


  1. Domestic cats see fingers and hands stuck in their face as either a threat or a prey animal to be smacked and sometimes bitten.
  2. It is strongly advised not to push your hand with fingers extended into the face of your cat. They might not mind but a lot of cats respond in an inappropriate way from the person’s standpoint. Ouch ?.
  3. The man in the video is essentially training his cat to treat his hands as a play toy. Domestic cats relate to play toys as prey animals and they try to kill them. This is why this Bengal cat is aggressively slapping the man’s hand. If you look closely, you can see that at least one claw is extended on the right-hand paw when it makes contact with the man’s hand. This must have hurt but the man continues to do it because he wants to make an interesting video. It is amazing the extent to which people go to attract viewers to their videos and gain some celebrity. It is masochism.
  4. If you consistently do what this man is doing you may well end up with a problem petting your cat because you pet your cat with your hands. It is likely that this cat will learn to twist and turn when they are petted on their flank in order to bite the hand.
  5. If you train your cat to use your hand as a play toy you are interfering with the relationship that you have with your cat and the degree of bonding that you will achieve with your cat.
  6. Playing with your cat or kitten with your hands is one of the mistakes that cat caregivers fall into. It is quite a common problem because people like to touch their cat as it feels nice and they want to pet their cat in order to please them and please themselves.
  7. If I am a stranger to a cat, I tend to present the back of my hand to them as it lets them sniff me and become acquainted with me without treating the hand as something hostile.
  8. Also, you should not move your hand quickly in front of a cat’s face. Not all cats will respond in an aggressive way but quick moving hands near a cat can represent prey animals scuttling in the undergrowth. Cats instinctively respond to this kind of movement and may have an urge to attack. Hand movements should be slow and calm and ‘flicking fingers’ should be avoided.
  9. Common sense dictates that a cat tease of some sort should be used instead of a hand if you want to play with your cat using your hands. This places your hands at a distance from your cat’s face and claws and it allows your cat to be as aggressive as they want in attacking the cat tease.
  10. I have decided that this is a Bengal cat judging by appearance. Bengal cats are predisposed to be slightly more aggressive than your typical domestic cat because they are wild cat hybrids; they have some wild cat inside them namely the Asiatic leopard cat. Clearly, if they are F5 Bengal cats, there is very little leopard cat inside them but it’s a given that Bengal cats can be a little more aggressive and a little twitchier and more hyped up than your typical moggy. All the more reason to not do what this man is doing in the video.

This is a cat tease used by Ken Flick during a photo session with Helmi Flick on the camera.

The cat tease

The Cat Tease – Photograph by Michael at PoC

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Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.
Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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