“Why does my cat grab my leg when I walk?” you ask yourself for what seems to be the millionth time since you’ve rescued the little rascal from the shelter.
You try your best to be a great pet parent. You provide her with the best cat foods and cat treats, and you snuggle with her for hours and hours each day. But, when she starts pawing at your toes while you’re trying to walk to the kitchen, you can’t help but think “What do you want!?”
And, she doesn’t even care what you’re doing the moment that the thought of grabbing your foot crosses her malicious mind. Oh, she does whatever she pleases and she gets away with that – every single time.
Now, cats are curious creatures. And we’re not referring to cats’ eagerness to experience the world and learn something about everything. We’re referring to the fact that they’re strange, weird, peculiar, and even eccentric – grabbing your leg as you walk seems to be the tamest of purrsonality traits cats possess.
Oh, they absolutely adore the predicament they put you through when they make you trip trying to dance around the paws and beans!
Maybe your fluffy friend gives you a headache every time you walk to your laundry room. Or she headbutts your Nikes whenever she catches you going to the kitchen without her.
Or perhaps she grabs onto your pants every morning you try going to work (how dare you!?) Whatever the case might be, cats tend to do everything for a reason and we’re here to help you understand what her reasons might be. Grab your pen and paper, and get to jotting!
Why does my cat grab my leg when I walk? What does she want?
“Why does my cat grab my leg when I walk?” you type into the search box hoping Google would offer you an answer. And, turns out Google has your back because we’re here to give you the answers you’ve been looking for.
Does your furry friend ask for attention that way? Does she ask for food? As a matter of fact, cats employ body language as means of communicating what they want or how they’re feeling.
When your cat knocks things down and meows your ears off, she’s probably looking for attention and putting her boredom on a platter right there and then. Or, when she paws at the floor or rubs against you, she’s marking her territory.
But, but, but… What is she trying to achieve by grabbing onto your leg while you’re walking?
1. “Let’s play tug of war!”
“Why does my cat always grab my leg when I walk somewhere? She’s such a precious little purrincess and I have nothing negative to say about her, but… She does grab onto my legs, causing me to trip and tumble every single day. Why the heck does she do that?”
Sounds like your fluffy friend needs another fluffy friend – or more playtime!
Cats are active animals! Running and chasing after butterflies, playing with different toys, and socializing with other cats are a regular part of their daily routine. They need to play with you to create a lasting bond – and there’s a pawsibility you haven’t provided your cat with these things yet.
So, your furry beast might be grabbing your legs because she’s trying to communicate her need for a play buddy! This might be your cue to either get another cat or spend more time with the one you already have. Good luck with that!
2. She’s simply displaying one of her attention-seeking behaviors!
Oh, cats and attention go together better than birds of a feather! Trust me, cats display a bunch of attention-seeking behaviors all the time without you even noticing. They knock things down, meow your ears off at 3 a.m., expose their butts to the world, and grab onto different body parts for different reasons.
And, what better way to grab your attention than to clutch onto your leg?
Maybe she’s doing so because she noticed you were headed towards the kitchen and she wanted to munch on that chicken bone she’s been sniffing. Or she’s pawing at your toes because she noticed you prepared to go outside and she wanted to come, too.
There’s a chance she’s only looking for attention and you have nothing to worry about. Other than figuring out whether you want to give her that attention, of course!
3. She’s marking her territory
“Why does my cat grab my leg when I walk? Does she want something from me? Or does she want to hurt me with her claws?”
Here’s the thing you’re forgetting: Cats mark their territory with methods other than urinating. As a matter of fact, cats have scent glands that secrete pheromones on their cheeks, heads, tails, and paws!
So, when your four-legged friend grabs your leg, she’s leaving a trace of her scent on you. She’s doing that because she’s marking her territory, making sure other cats know that she’s been hanging out with you. Oh, she’s a territorial queen and she doesn’t want other cats taking what’s hers!
4. She’s claiming you as one of her own
“Wait, what? Does that mean the same thing as marking her territory?” While these two things are similar, when your cat claims you as one of her own, she doesn’t only mark you as her territory. She marks you as a part of her pack, a member of her tribe, even as one of her kittens.
So, when she leaves her scent on you by grabbing your leg with her paw pads, she’s sending a message to other cats that you’re off limits. And, she’s sending a message to you that she accepts you and appreciates you – she’s pretty much showing her love and affection.
Trust me, a cat that doesn’t like you would never grab any part of your body.
5. “I’m way too fine to be this stressed, yeah!”
Oh, truer words have never been uttered (and of course, they’re uttered by our favorite Lizzo!) So, when you find yourself wondering why your cat grabs your leg when you walk, you might want to consider the pawsibility that she’s stressed out over something and looking for your support.
Some of the most common signs of stress among cats include hiding under the table, becoming reserved and withdrawn, becoming annoyed with other people, decreased appetite, excessive thirst and urination, excessive meowing and growling, and a bunch of other things.
So, make sure you keep an eye out for her behavior when she doesn’t know you’re looking. Trust me, that little grab might mean a lot more than you think – and we’re keeping our fingers crossed she feels better soon.
6. She’s annoyed and you’re the one to blame!
“Why does my cat grab my leg when I walk? We playfight, we chase after each other, and we meow back and forth. But, when I try walking away she attacks me! She grabs my leg and claws at my toes!”
Oh boy. Your fluffy friend might be a bit annoyed and agitated with your idea of “fun.”
Spending quality time with your furkid doesn’t seem like something you should have to give much thought to. But there’s a right way of doing it. More times than not, playfighting and pushing each other’s buttons nurtures aggressive behavior.
And such behavior might end with her grabbing your leg, biting you, or scratching your eyes out. Check yourself before you wreck yourself!
7. “Because I’m happy…”
Oh, we’re going hard with these song references! But that’s true – there are times when cats grab onto you (or your legs) to communicate how they’re feeling. More times than not, they’re happy and they want you to play with them, snuggle with them, or simply spend some time with them.
How adorable can they possibly be!? But how can you be one hundred percent sure your furry friend’s grabbing your leg because she’s happy and not because she’s angry?
Observe everything she’s doing beforehand – whether she’s rubbing on your legs or growling at them, whether she’s kneading on them or scratching them. Trust me, cats aren’t that difficult to decipher once you know what to look out for!
8. Because that’s what cats do!
“I’m pretty sure my cat’s broken because she keeps making strange sounds and doing things that freak me out, like grabbing my leg when I walk.” Oh, cats are notorious for their kooky kitty antics and that’s what makes them… them! And trust me, you can never be bored with a finicky feline hanging from your legs!
Cats communicate with humans and other cats using strange sounds (meowing, purring, hissing, growling…) and body movements (headbutting, tail swishing, back arching…). Grabbing onto your legs while you’re walking seems pretty tame compared to other things your feline friend could be doing.
How do I stop my cat from grabbing onto my leg when I walk?
Oh, the leg grabbing can be such an endearing moment when you know your fluffy friend’s showing her affection and marking you as a member of her pack! But (there’s always a but when we’re talking about the oddities she puts you through for entertainment purposes) you might want her to stop.
How do you stop your cat from grabbing your leg when you’re walking, you might ask? First things first, figure out the whys and hows of the situation and make sure you understand where she’s coming from.
Whether she’s happy or angry, whether she’s marking her territory or attacking you because she can’t stand your face at that moment.
After that, make sure you provide her with plenty of activities, exercises, walks, and toys. Cats get grumpy and needy when they feel like you haven’t been paying enough attention to them and you’re better off giving them what they want. And, consider getting your fluffy friend another friend to play with.
Just don’t forget: On the off-chance your cat starts displaying aggressive behavior – attacking you, biting you, or scratching your eyes out – you might have a behavioral problem on your hands. Contact your vet and schedule an appointment with an animal behaviorist before things get out of control.