My cat seems to attack me for no reason. When I pet him, he turns around & starts to bite and grab my arm with his claws.
How do I make him stop doing that?
Being petted arouses your cat, this is not necessarily a sexual thing – petting & cuddles can arouse your cat’s hunting instincts too. Particularly if you pat their bellies or paws – these are a cat’s most vulnerable areas if they were attacked in the wild.
We are their primary source of food – hence there is no need to hunt prey. However, your cat still has those instincts and will need stimulation & enrichment to fulfill those needs.
Your cat might have also attacked you around the ankles a few times as you walk past or go up the stairs. This is also part of their prey drive, and your legs are the best substitute to live prey. This will take some time and patience on your part to teach your cat to play gently. You may try using a water spray bottle to discourage your cat from sinking his teeth into you. Gently spray your cat and they will run off. Repeat this a few times and your cat will learn quickly.
So, here are some solutions you can try to stimulate your cat and fulfill their hunting needs:
- Start with a fishing pole toy that you can dangle in front of your cat. This will replicate moving prey and encourage your cat to use toys instead of you.
- Crinkly ball toys or a ball with bells is also a great toy to play with. Remember a cat will go after moving prey, so that ball has to be pretty interesting to get some action happening. Try putting it in a paper bag on its side, or engage with your cat and throw them down the hallway for your cat to chase it.
- Again moving toys are the best, so there are some great electronic cat toys you can try such as the Frolic Pounce Interactive toy. These toys are great to leave on for your cat when they are by themselves.
- Of course, cats being the fickle creatures they are, may find your expensive and varied toys to be uninteresting. This is where you can get creative! Small foil balls, loose leaves and simple ball of string or twine will get your cat into play frenzy.
- If you are in an apartment, access to fresh air & outdoor views can be difficult to provide for your cat. Ensuring they have access to windows where they can sit & watch the world go by will help prevent boredom.
- Another great way to fulfill your cat is by providing an outdoor enclosure with tall columns and cat runs in your backyard or courtyard. You can connect the cat enclosure entrance to a window in your house or you can simply put your cat into its cat enclosure. Not only will your cat have fresh air and a space for itself, it will also prevent your cat from roaming & hunting during the day.
- If you do not have access to an outdoor area, you can train your cat to be on a harness. Desensitize your cat by allowing them to sniff and explore the harness on the floor. Then practice putting the harness on their body and taking it off again. Once they are comfortable with the harness, you may attach a leash and practice walking around the house. You may find your cat will enjoy these outings together and you will feel safe and happy knowing where your cat is.
- As always be careful with the toys you choose for your cat – non-toxic and toys that won’t pull on your cat’s claws.