a crouched alert cat in a doorway staring at feet readying to pounce

Why Does My Cat Hit Me When I Walk By?

Why does my cat hit me when I walk by? It is usually either redirected aggression, playful behavior, attention-seeking, or because you took them by surprise. Read on to learn more…

Redirection of Aggression

A redirection of the aggression they feel is one of the major reasons why your kitty decides to have a go at you from time to time.

In this scenario, another environmental trigger influences the reaction in your cat, and you just happen to be the poor sucker that gets in the way.

Since you’re the closest thing to them, they reach out to you to calm their nerves by giving you a good swatting. Typical.

While most of these vents are minor, some of them can lead to injury if your cat is feeling wired or aggressive that day.

Even if your cat ends up drawing blood from you in their fit of rage, it’s important for cat owners to keep their cool and never punish their kitty for their transgressions.

close up of a tabby cat aggressively gnawing at owners hand

The key to eliminating this behavior is to discover the trigger affecting your cat. For instance, the dog walking past them might be the trigger, and you walking into the room after fido is all the cat needs to release that aggression on your ankles.

Playful Behavior

While redirected aggression is the most common cause of your cat swatting, swiping, tapping, or hitting out at you, there are several others that are less ominous.

Sometimes, your cat might just take a swipe at you to initiate playtime. They might feel bored and want to romp around with you for a few minutes of fun.

These actions are harmless, and there is no ill intention from your kitty during these types of swipes or hits. You might notice the cat does this to your kids or even the dog before launching into a chase.

If this chasing behavior occurs, your cat will rarely extend their claws or bite; they’re just doing it for fun.

a flame point cat running toward camera over a lawn

Catching Your Attention

Your cat might hit you as you walk by to catch your attention. If you haven’t spent much time with your cat that day, the swiping behavior or tail lashing might be a simple reminder from your cat, letting you know they’re there for you when you need them.

Your cat might also be trying to catch your attention to tell you they’re feeling hungry or need a drink, or perhaps they need to go outdoors.

You Startled Her

Another reason why your cat might swat or bat at you as you walk past is that you startled it.

A scared cat will respond with lightning-fast reactions, and sometimes, they initiate a defensive offense, involving lashing out blindly at whatever’s near them.

Too Much Affection

Why does my cat bite me when I pet her? Sometimes, cats know that you’re not into petting them, and they’ll tell you that they’re not just some petting toy.

If you’re zoning out to a movie and stroking your cat, you can get repetitive with your stroking action. Your cat is likely to find this irritating.

They may swipe at you, growl, softly bite or hiss to get you to stop or pet them with a different style. If you keep stroking them, they’ll get aggressive, and you’ll know all about it – they will probably bite!

Sometimes, you might reach out to pet your cat and unintentionally give them a dose of static electricity. That will cause a lightning-fast swipe from your cat in response to your electrical assault on them.

young woman carrying a contented tabby cat over her shoulder

In most cases, cats will control their biting behavior, making it soft and playful. However, if you notice your cat’s biting habits intensifying over a few weeks or months, it might be a sign of a behavioral change in your kitty.

Why Does My Cat Swat at Me When I Pet Her?

Some cats swipe at their owner when you go to pet them. If that’s the case, then don’t try to force your affection on the cat.

This swatting behavior is a sign that your cat is feeling irritable. If you try to pet her, she’ll likely try to bite or scratch you.

Like people, cats aren’t always in the mood for physical contact. Sometimes they just want you to leave them alone in that new shoebox you brought home for them this week. If you’re lucky, they won’t bite the new shoes.

a cat crouching with raised paw preparing to attack an incoming hand

Why Does My Cat Bite Me without Me Provoking Her?

Sometimes, your cat might decide it just wants to bite you. You’re sitting there minding your business when you suddenly feel your kitty bite into your toes.

While most cats will bite gently, some will keep biting with further intensity until you pay attention to them.

Your cat might also start biting you to signal the end of playtime. They may grow weary or restless with you and bite you to let you know that it’s time to stop.

Why Did My Cat Suddenly Start Biting Me?

Some cat owners find that their kitty seemingly develops this biting behavior overnight. One day everything’s fine, and the next, their cat randomly bites at any excuse!

Cats bite, claw and swipe as a natural part of their lives and playtime. If you find your cat suddenly develops this behavior, it could be due to them reaching developmental points in their lifecycle.

These changes unlock this behavior, such as the start of adolescence in your cat and sexual maturity.

Why Does My Cat Bite Me When I’m Playing with Her?

If you find that your cat starts biting you when you’re playing with her, it’s because they’re trying to tell you they love you.

But seriously, it’s usually a display of their natural hunting instincts.

Cat owners can stop this behavior by praising their cats for gentle play. You also have the option of giving your cat a toy if they start the biting behavior, redirecting their aggression.

Why Does My Cat Try to Attack Me When I Walk Away from Her?

If you find that your cat starts attacking you when you walk away from it during playtime, it’s usually your feline friend’s way of telling you they want some more playtime.

They’ll attack your feet with the hope of stopping you from moving.

Cat’s natural predatory instincts also kick in when you start moving away. The cat’s instincts are to advance on its prey when it starts showing signs of weakness.

Since your ankles are the closest contact point, they’ll likely go for that area when attacking.

a tabby cat with arched back brushing against a pair of leg and wrapping their tail around legs

In Closing – Why Does My Cat Hit Me When Walk By?

In summary, your cat could hit you as you walk by it for several reasons. From redirected aggression to initiating playtime or catching your attention, your cat adopts this hitting behavior for many reasons.

As long as it isn’t regular or displays too much aggression, there shouldn’t be any problem for cat owners.

However, if you notice personality changes in your cat and more aggressive behavior, it could be a sign of something else, like a hidden medical issue.

Some cats with hyperthyroidism end up developing aggressive behavior. If you notice your cat is acting out of the ordinary, take them to the vet for a checkup.