You were just minding your business, walking through your house, when all of a sudden, a paw of danger comes out of nowhere and hits you. What did you do to deserve that? Probably not much, yet it got you googling ”why does my cat hit me when I walk by”, desperately looking for an answer.
It’s okay, every cat parent out there has been in your shoes at one point and probably will be many times in the future. Our feline companions aren’t always the easiest to understand, no matter how hard we try. That being said, we should still make the effort to figure out what our feline friends are trying to tell us.
The truth is – there could be a couple of reasons why this happens, and it’s important to recognize them so you can react accordingly. Training your cat is a life-long process, and it doesn’t end when she grows up. When some of her actions are not okay, it’s important to let her know and correct them.
Cats are feisty, but they’re also playful and attention-seeking, so good luck figuring out what caused your feline to hit you. One thing is for sure, though, it’s not because she doesn’t like you. No matter how many times her paw hits your leg, you’re still her favorite human. But let’s see why she still might be doing it.
Why does my cat hit me when I walk by? 4 possible reasons
It’s not always easy to understand what our furry friends are trying to tell us, and they’ll find a way to communicate with us, one way or another. Your cat hitting you when you walk by is nothing more than her trying to express herself.
Of course, if it happens often, together with hissing and biting, it shouldn’t be something you ignore and let slide. If you do, you might end up with an aggressive feline on your hands that would be impossible to deal with.
In most cases, however, our kitties are just being playful and messing around with us, and we should take it lightly. If she’s asking for your attention, devote some of it to playing with her and she’ll end up happy. There are a couple of the most common reasons behind this behavior, so let’s go through some of them.
1. You might be her punching bag
“I still don’t understand why does my cat hit me when I walk by?! It happens a lot, and I can’t seem to get to the bottom of it.”
Well, the most common reason behind your cat hitting you when you walk by is redirected aggression. Although it’s not fair, sometimes you’re the victim of your cat’s anger, even if you’re not the cause of it. But hey, at least you didn’t do anything wrong, right? That’s a plus, right?
Sometimes, other things in your feline’s environment can make her angry. Even if you’re not the trigger, but you happen to be the closest person to her, she might vent her anger on you and give you a nice little pawnch.
These little venting methods of hers can hurt, so be careful. In that situation, she doesn’t think much about whether or not she’s using her claws or hurting you – she just wants to punch something. We’ve all been there.
Don’t take it personally. This behavior might seem unfair and rude, but you shouldn’t get angry at your furball. Most of us know how to deal with the feeling of anger, but cats are different. They don’t see this type of behavior as rude or particularly wrong – they just want to express how they’re feeling.
What you can do, though, is find out what is it that triggered your feline and limit her exposure to it. On top of that, try helping your kitty socialize more. That way, she’ll get used to other people, animals, and situations that might trigger her now.
2. She’s just being playful
Something less serious but just as common is that your cat might be hitting you when you walk simply out of playfulness. It’s a harmless gesture that you should see as your feline pranking you and inviting you to have some fun with her.
Think about it. She’s been napping the whole day, changing positions on your couch, waiting for you to finish your work. She can’t take the boredom anymore and she has to do something about it. The little ninja’s waiting for you by the door and anticipating a perfect opportunity to paw your ankle.
You might notice her doing this with kids or other pets before she starts running around your home for a chase. In this case, she won’t use her claws or bite – she’s not angry or trying to hurt you. She’s just initiating playtime.
Next time this happens, don’t get mad at her but try to spend a few minutes playing with your feline bestie. Cats are simple and easy to entertain, and you’ll get a nice little break from whatever you were doing before. In the end, both of you will be much happier, and you can go back to your day.
3. She’s trying to get your attention
We all know our felines can get a bit attention-seeking. Once they want you to notice them, cats will do everything to get the spotlight – they might even hit you when you walk by. Don’t take it personally. She probably tried everything else to get your attention, but it was less efficient.
If this happens, think about your day and how you’ve spent most of it so far. Did you spend any time with your fluff? Or was she walking around your desk, rubbing against it, trying everything to get your attention? If the answer is yes, then that’s probably why she got your leg on your way to the kitchen.
Cats are social and love their human parents, which means you should devote some time of your day to playing with your feline buddy. She might even want some belly rubs and head scratches, and I can’t see how that can be bad for you, either. It’s a perfect anti-stress after a long day.
Another reason she could be trying to get your attention is that she’s hungry or wants to go outside. So, next time you feel a little paw on your ankle – read her body language and try to figure out what your feline wants. Now that she got your attention, she’ll probably lead the way, you just have to follow her.
4. You scared her
“Why does my cat hit me when I walk by? Did I do something wrong?”
Sometimes, you don’t have to go too deep into the reasons why your cat hit you when you walked by her this morning. It’s highly likely that you just startled her.
Our little cuddle buddies can be real fighters when they want to. That’s why they go into full fighting mode when you suddenly appear out of nowhere. This is especially common with newbies that you just welcomed into your home.
The change of environment and people around her can make your new kitty pretty nervous, which is why it might seem like she’s always on her toes. Or maybe your little hunter just has an intense prey drive. Whatever it is, you probably triggered her fight-or-flight response and got pawed.
To avoid this, try to keep your household calm and relatively quiet, especially if you just got your new feline baby. It will help her adapt faster and not lash out at you and your family every chance she gets.
What to do when your cat hits you when you walk by?
After you figure out the reason why your cat hits you, it’s important to learn how to react to it properly. If you don’t, your kitty might start doing this more and more often, leading to her becoming aggressive. It could become a problem for your family, and the people who come to visit you.
There are a couple of things you can pay attention to if this happens again. Make sure not to punish your feline just for being herself. We have to remember that our fur friends have their wild side and we can’t expect them to ignore it completely. Here’s our advice on what you can do.
1. React calmly
It’s completely normal to get irritated by your cat’s sudden attack, especially if you haven’t done anything wrong. It all seems unfair, I know, but your feline has instincts that she can’t and shouldn’t ignore. If your first reaction is to get mad at her, try taking a moment to calm down before you react.
When this happens, remember that your kitty isn’t attacking you out of spite or hate. She’s either scared, irritated, or just wants your attention. None of these things are worth punishing, so try to understand her. Being aggressive with your cat is never a good idea and it could create even more issues in the future.
You don’t want to ruin the relationship with your feline bestie over such a minor thing. A strong bond between a cat parent and their fluff is one filled with mutual understanding and trust. So, instead of getting angry, try to react calmly.
Monitoring her behavior is the best thing you can do. See what triggers her and if there are any spots in your house that make your feline scared or irritated. Try to make some adjustments that will make your furbaby feel more at ease and safe in her environment. These outbursts might become a thing of the past.
2. Make your presence welcomed
Whether you’ve just adopted a new kitty or you’ve been friends with yours for years, creating a stronger bond is always a good idea. We can easily get distracted by work or school, and our relationship with our felines often suffers because of it.
It can happen to everyone, so don’t beat yourself up over it. If you notice your kitty and you getting distant, try to spend more time with her. Give her a treat from time to time or surprise her with a new toy.
All of this will help your kitty create a positive association with your presence. A stronger bond means more respect, and your cat won’t get irritated by you simply walking past her. Try spending time with her in different areas of the house so that your company is welcomed no matter where you are.
Playing, cuddling, or just letting her be by your side will do wonders for your bond. And your cat might even stop hitting you when you walk by! Sounds purrfect, doesn’t it?
3. Make certain parts of your home off-limits
Sometimes you try everything, from spending more time with your kitty in certain areas of the house to making adjustments to them – but it’s still not good enough. In that case, the best thing you can do is to make some parts of your home off-limits.
Our kitties can get pretty defensive over their territory. Whether it’s around their food bowls or some other places they’ve chosen, they can be aggressive in their attempt to guide it. If this happens, it’s a good idea to block the area when your cat is not there.
Your feline shouldn’t stick to only one part of the house, but rather feel free to roam around. If it’s a new environment for her, it might take some time before she gets comfortable enough to explore. If this goes on for too long, you might have to take things into your hands and help her.
She probably won’t like the fact that you shut down the room she loves the most, but in no time she’ll feel comfortable enough to spend her time somewhere else as well. This will help her feel free, safe, and happy in your home, and there will be no need for her to be defensive.
4. Be vocal
Punishing isn’t the best way to train your cat, but being vocal is. No, I don’t mean you should yell at your feline. It could only worsen the situation. Rather, make sure you let her know that hitting you isn’t okay.
For people who don’t have a kitty, it might seem silly when they see cat parents talking to their fluff. What they don’t know is that most of the time, our felines understand us perfectly well, especially when we tell them “No!”
So, next time your cat decides to hit you on your short walk past her food bowl, make sure to let her know she shouldn’t do that. It might take a few tries, but after some time, she’ll understand that hitting you isn’t something you allow.
Whether it’s redirected aggression or an invitation to play and cuddle, just know your cat’s never hitting you out of spite. Next time it happens, react calmly and make sure your kitty feels safe to express her feelings.
If needed, make a few adjustments to your home so that both of you can feel comfortable in the space you share. It’s the first step to a calm and harmonious home.