Cat wrestling gloves
April 2, 2024 8:08 PM   Subscribe

Our ferocious cat (tax) loves to wrestle. However, she is very serious about it, and her front and back claws get involved as well as her teeth. Can you recommend a cat-proof gauntlet I can wear that will protect my hand and forearm while I give my cat a good loving workout?
posted by Winnie the Proust to Pets & Animals (13 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Having cats that liked to play like that, I've used "welding gloves" that I used for dutch oven cooking.. similar to these.

I figure the leather ones can't be too bad for them. That being said, they are a bit thick (which helps from the needle claws) so you have to be aware you can't feel too much when playing with them
posted by niteHawk at 8:17 PM on April 2 [7 favorites]

Seconding welding gloves. Two other things that help are regular claw trims and using a plush toy 2/3 the cat's size as a substitute for a human hand.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 9:06 PM on April 2 [2 favorites]

A full-length kicker toy is good too for cats who like to wrestle.
posted by matildaben at 9:46 PM on April 2 [6 favorites]

(Just here to say I love her! What a gorgeous and expressive kitty!)
posted by cnidaria at 9:51 PM on April 2 [14 favorites]

I would do more in the line of getting objects, stuffed things you can manouver, instead of your arm. Cat may be interested in attacking that fun arm outside of play time when it isn’t armored. Some cats like chasing little bird like things, yours wants to wrestle down larger prey, find some good prey that satisfies that.

Cat knows it’s your arm and fun, don’t teach them to try and kill it. They don’t respect the same boundaries dogs do.
posted by ixipkcams at 9:58 PM on April 2 [9 favorites]

Definitely get a couple full length kicker toys. I’ve had the most success with the kind that have something that makes a crinkly noise inside, and woven fabric that the cat can get their claws into (and not a fleece or velvet.) Also good, especially if your cat is loooong, is one of those cute plush draft stoppers that goes along the bottom of a door but looks like a stuffed animal. They have a good amount of weight so can be a workout for a kicking and pouncing cat - put one in a big ziploc with a bunch of catnip for a few days to thoroughly scent it.

I agree that you should avoid teaching her that your hands and arms are targets for destruction. But I also understand that nothing else quite acts like wiggly fingers forming the claw and sometimes you have to make do. For now, as soon as she starts doing a violence, redirect her to a toy. And when you find the right protective gear, redirect her to that, even when you aren’t wearing it. Cats vary in nuance and intelligence, but I’ve definitely had cats who understand stuff like “do not make biscuits on bare human skin, only make biscuits when human has a blanket or clothes on” and “I can lick the human but I cannot bite the human and if I get too into grooming them and bite by accident I should run away in shame.” The trick is to make high itched whiny yelps of pain immediately upon a low level infraction, every single time. Including love bites when being licked or clawed biscuits that just barely poke a thigh below the shorts. So for you, make the bare hand and arm an absolute no-go zone, and make the armored hand and arm a super fun play time wrassle buddy, with associated vocal energy from you.

Welding gloves will do the trick but also I think some simple leather gardening gloves combined with a thick sweatshirt should do fine. Tuck the gloves under the cuffs of the sweatshirt. If that’s not enough padding you could cut off the legs of a pair of old jeans and put them on underneath, and you could even sew them on if you like. Go thrifting for appropriate components instead of buying new things, especially if it’s intended to be destroyed via cat. If not gardening gloves, look for skiing gloves, which will have longer bits around the wrist and fairly well articulated fingers.
posted by Mizu at 2:50 AM on April 3 [5 favorites]

When I had a cat like this, a plushie puppet did the job. He would absolutely whale on that gorilla.
posted by humbug at 5:22 AM on April 3 [7 favorites]

Yeah, we have switched to kickers for play, and we're staying with my extremely crafty mom right now, so she engineered an extra-long kicker pillow (with a catnip pouch) so that one doesn't even have to bend down so far to get the belleh.

We're actually working on calm nice-kitty belly touching with our hands. Interestingly, she now more frequently comes and rolls over for us, and we respond by going over and doing gentle touching, but if she wants to play (or when she's done tolerating nice-kitty touching) she will push the hand away with the back feet, no claws, to tell us to get the kicker.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:06 AM on April 3 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions of kickers. I didn't realize those were a thing! I'll be curious to see how well they hold Orchid's attention. In general, she loses interest in toys that don't fight back or try to escape.

After reading the responses, I realized I have an old pair of thick leather fire-tending gauntlets that I think we'll be perfect. I'll wrap them in one of her play towels and see how that works. A hand puppet is also a great idea. We used to have so many, but I think they're all long gone. I'll have to ask around on the local Buy Nothing.

I appreciate the concerns about not training her to fight, bite and scratch. We'll make sure we use very specific times when we're playing with her this way, and make sure to reject any moves she makes to fight when it's not appropriate.
posted by Winnie the Proust at 7:38 AM on April 3 [3 favorites]

What a gorgeous cat!

A suggestion.

A shag or jute rug (hallway runner size or 3 ft by 5 ft, nothing too big) that can be rumpled up or partially folded to make cat-size opponents that have more heft than kicker toys. My pro-wrestler cat discovered this by their lonesome.
posted by spamandkimchi at 8:32 AM on April 3

she loses interest in toys that don't fight back or try to escape

Oh, in OUR implementation the kickers are our hand-extensions. The kicker DEFINITELY is trying to Get The Belly.

Our cat does sometimes play with them alone, or holds them like a body pillow when she sleeps.

Agreed also on the small rug, all my cats have enjoyed the dollar store rag rug sprinkled or sprayed with catnip, for wrasslin' purposes. You could, I suppose, roll one of those up and tie it into a log for kicking and belly-poking purposes.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:12 AM on April 3 [2 favorites]

I picked up a pair of these ~$20 PetFusion grooming gloves last year and they work fantastically on my fully-clawed hellion. They're impervious to bites, slashes, and even those disemboweling back leg attacks (all playful, ofc). Plus the palms have a subtle texture on them that enhances the petting experience.
posted by Rhaomi at 1:28 PM on April 3 [2 favorites]

Primate handling gloves are pricy but they give serious protection.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 1:06 PM on April 4

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