Home Cats Why Does My Cat Swipe At Me When I Walk By?

Why Does My Cat Swipe At Me When I Walk By?

by Lucy

Cats are such playful creatures and it hard not to try and get involved too when you see your kitty jumping around and full of life. Cats often take playtime to a new level and at times can be very cheeky. They love anything that moves quickly and you will find your kitty likes to stalk most items that move. Pouncing is their thing!

Sometimes you may notice that your cat gets a bit boisterous and rough during playtime which is something you shouldn’t worry about as it is completely normal. Cats don’t really see the difference between physical toys that move and your moving body parts which often means you are part of the action too. In fact, we mean the prey.

One owner that we spoke to recently let us know about her cat that swipes her legs often as she walks by. She wanted to know if this was normal behavior and why it was happening so we decided to delve into this subject a little deeper for you.

So, why does my cat swipe at me when I walk by? Cats will try their very best to swipe at you when you walk by because they simply love to play. They love to stalk, pounce, and jump just like they would if they were catching a mouse outside. Your legs can move pretty quickly when you are walking and this is the ideal prey for cats.

Why does my cat hit me when I walk by?

Cats love anything that moves quickly. It excites them to see something that zooms by such as your legs and can often result in them reaching and giving you’re a swipe.

It is usually carried out in jest and most cats are not vicious with this behavior. It is true to say though that sometimes they don’t know their own swipe power and if their claws happen to be out it can result in injury to your skin.

In the wild, cats hunt for survival and even in a domesticated environment cats still have this innate behavior. It may not be the case that your domesticated kitty is swiping you for survival, but it is fair to say they will happily give you a cat swipe for a bit of fun.

Cats can find moving objects highly entertaining and if you have been out of the house all day your kitty may have gone and got themselves a bit bored. You always need to remember that you are the entertainment (in your cat’s eyes at least).

When you walk around your house all your cat really sees are your legs. Legs that can move pretty quickly and this is the ideal bait for your cat. It is an automatic reaction for your cat to swipe and the thought process for them is likely to be ‘this moved fast past me. I must grab it!’

Most owners are okay with this behavior providing their kitty isn’t too violent with it, however for those owners that are not, it can be a very difficult behavior to stop.

The best way to try to deal with getting swiped by your cat is to totally ignore the behavior altogether. This is less fun for your kitty and they may eventually get bored of swiping out at you.

You could always try to walk extremely slowly everywhere you go so your legs are not as enticing to your kitty, but where’s the fun in that?

Why does my cat attack my legs when I walk by?

There are two different levels of cat swiping. The one we mentioned previously and the all-out attack. There’s no doubt about it, the latter is not as fun for you and there is always a chance you could get seriously injured.

Cat attacks are far more severe than swipes and we are inclined to think that a full-on cat attack from an adult cat (that should know better) is not a bit of fun and actually full-on aggression. If this is a regular occurrence you may need to seek some professional advice on this one.

Luckily however this extreme type of behavior can usually be seen in kittens and young cats more frequently. It is a technique used for hunting and is therefore an innate behavior that will normally occur when kittens play.

Just in the same way a lion would go in for the kill, your kitty is mimicking this same behavior (unfortunately for you it’s directed towards your leg!).

You will most commonly find that when a kitten (or cat) goes in for the attack they will grab you with their front legs, grab hold of you with their teeth and kick at you with their back legs.

A word of warning from personal experience: The back legs are lethal and this is likely where your kitty may cause you some harm.

Why does my cat try to trip me when I walk?

If you are a cat owner you will notice this is one of your cat’s favorite things to do. You’ll be trying to walk to the kitchen or even the bathroom and kitty will be all-around your legs like a fly on poop! It can be very frustrating at times when you are trying to get somewhere quickly, but every step has to be monitored so as not to trip.

Cats move pretty quickly when they want to and when a cat is entwined in your legs as you are trying to walk somewhere it may seem like they are trying to trip you up. It is fair to say however that things aren’t always what they seem and kitty usually doesn’t have anything of the sort on their mind.

There are a few reasons why cats will exhibit this type of behavior, but it isn’t usually anything of the menacing kind. If a cat is constantly under your feet everywhere you turn one of the most common reasons for this is that they are trying to get your attention. Which isn’t so bad after all, right?

Cats absolutely adore attention. They love to be seen and heard by their loving owner and will often do everything in their power to get your undivided attention. Most cats like to think they run the show and have been known to try and herd you in the direction they would like you to go.

You will find that most of the herding takes place towards the kitchen as they are always hoping and praying for a tasty snack. They think if they direct here you will have no choice but to feed them. Who knows, gentle persuasion does work sometimes!

There is also another valid reason why cats may try to trip you up. They like to claim what is there’s and by scurrying around your legs they can transfer their own scent glands over to you. They are effectively telling you that they now own you.

It is important for cats to transfer their scents so they can mark their territory. It also makes them feel much more comfortable and safe. You won’t be able to smell this yourself, but you can guarantee if you are a cat owner your feline’s scent is all over your home, including all your furniture.

Why does my cat zig-zag in front of me?

When a cat does ‘the zig-zag’ in front of you when you are walking this is usually an attention-seeking trait. Many cats do this to their owners and saunter out in front so they can clearly be seen. Here are a number of reasons why your cat does this, but most reasons will boil down to seeking attention.

Cats are renowned for being hard-core attention seekers and love to know that they are your world. They love you to be at their beck and call which is why the saying ‘dogs have owners, cats have staff’ couldn’t be a truer sentence.

It is fair to say that cats in general are very independent creatures and for the most part do a fair bit of taking care of themselves however you always need to remember this is on ‘their’ terms and not yours!

Let’s take a look at some of the key reasons why your cat zig zags in front of you:

  • They don’t want you to leave them on their own
  • Your cat is hungry and wants you to feed them
  • They would like you to stroke them
  • It’s playtime and they want you to join in the fun
  • They want to snuggle up on your lap

The list is endless, but it all boils down to one selfish reason: attention-seeking. Although cats are fiercely independent, deep down they do usually really enjoy your company.

Try to pay your kitty as much attention as you can and take part in regular playtimes with them in order to hopefully eliminate some of this unwanted behavior.

Up Next: Why Do Cats Touch Noses?

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