I have an angry cat, it goes for my leg

Published: 02nd November 2016 03:45 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd November 2016 03:45 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

My cat is getting very aggressive inside the house. He runs wildly around and knocks things down. Sometimes, he grabs my leg as if pouncing on prey. Is he entering adulthood? 
—Vikas Kumar

Hi Vikas,

Young cats and kittens enjoy playing as it is Nature's way of tuning them to develop physically and hone their predatory skills. Kittens tend to role play amongst themselves, with one pretending to be the prey and the other lying low and then pouncing to hunt. Small moving objects, sometimes people's hands and feet tend to intrigue the cat and they start to stalk, pounce, scratch and bite as part of play. It is this play that we often tend to misinterpret as "aggression". 

Even though this is just play, the scratch and bite are painful and this behaviour has to be regulated.  Invest in cat toys that can imitate the independent moving prey, like fake mice toys that they can stalk, chase or pounce. This way you can channelise his play and take his focus off your fingers and feet. 


Set aside a few minutes everyday to play with the cat using enticing toys, or strings or even a small moving lights such that you get him to focus on the toy and not on you. In case he starts to bite you, stop the play and leave the room and don't touch the cat.  If you have a garden or open enclosure, you can let him out and he can focus on chasing dry leaves and small insects and thus loose interest in playing with you. 

It is more important that you do not allow him to play with your hands or feet. Do not use toys that may draw attention to your hand. Do not use physical correction even if it is just blocking him with the feet, as the cat may perceive this as play and continue to play with vigor or you may turn simple play into real aggression. 

If your cat insists on directing his play at you, in spite of all your efforts, you can squirt some water, or make a loud sound with a clap or a thud to distract him and then redirect his attention to another toy. If possible, you can adopt another playful cat to keep him company. 

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