It is common for kittens to have aggressive play behavior as it ‘wrestles’ with its siblings and mother. Pouncing, chasing, stalking, and biting are part of its natural way of playing. It’s the cat version of family bonding, and does not indicate that the kitten has a ‘mean’ temperament.
However, by playing with its siblings, it will learn to inhibit over aggressive behavior as its siblings growl or retaliate whenever he bites too hard or does something ‘socially unacceptable.’ The cats have their own signals to tell another that the bite is purely for fun.
Curbing aggressive behavior
As the kitten learns ‘acceptable’ behavior from its siblings it can also learn ‘acceptable’ behavior from its owner. Say no or make your displeasure clear when he nips or scratches you.
Even if the play is cute when he is a kitten, you won’t find it as amusing when it’s older and he actually breaks the skin or draws blood. Set boundaries no to avoid confusion and irritation when he’s older. Just pull away when they scratch and then say in a very firm voice, ‘No!’ and walk away. You can also clap your hands very loudly. If they catch you unawares, and grab your leg, then resist the urge to pull them off right away. They might think you are playing with them! Freeze, and then very quietly take them off your leg.
Kittens can also become aggressive to get your attention. They want a playmate! Left alone they may start scratching furniture (read tips on how to stop that). You can give them toys, including a stuffed toy that’s about their size, and then teach them to ‘wrestle’ it. This will give them a good outlet for all their playful energy!
Photo from mylot.com