Why Does My Cat Attack My Feet At Night?
If your cat seems to be attacking your feet then you may be frustrated and looking for reasons why and what to do about it…
Why does my cat attack my feet at night?
Cats are creatures that are very scent driven and even if you keep your feet very clean, they definitely have a scent to them. As such, cat seem almost magnetically pulled to feet and will take advantage of exposed feet by attacking them to get your attention.
They also notice that when they do this you always respond very quickly, so don’t take it personal. Your kitty just wants your attention and your feet are one of the most effective ways to get it!
Does my cat mean to hurt my feet?
No, your cat isn’t trying to hurt your feet, but unfortunately they have sharp teeth and claws and so their idea of play can seem to be a bit on the rough side.
Socks can help to reduce the temptation, by masking the scent of your feet a little, and taking away from the visual of ‘something oddly shaped’ poking out of the covers. Your cat isn’t trying to hurt you, they just want to play, and your feet smell like you and probably look quite amusing to them.
How can I prevent my cat from attacking my feet at night?
The only way to keep your cat off of your feet, aside from closing the door, is going to be covering them. Tuck the blanket or sheet over them if you are in bed or consider a light pair of ‘sleeping socks’. This will help to mask the scent a little and take away the visual component of the temptation.
Also, consider getting a ‘kitty tower’ and stashing some toys inside, placing it near enough to your bed where your cat can see you.
Sometimes your cat is just bored and wants to spend time with you (preferably playing), and giving them a place to play and still stay close to you might be all that you need to do to protect your sensitive feet.
Is it normal for a cat to attack feet?
Yes, it is quite normal for cats and other animals to go after feet. You’ve got sweat glands there and even if you wash your feet regularly, this is one of the spots on your body that is going to consistently produce your scent.
When you add in the (lets face it) comical appearance of feet, with 5 wiggly toes, then the combination is often too much for a playful animal to resist. Some cats spot them and immediately pounce and while it can be a little painful, it’s not meant to hurt you – only to get your undivided attention.
Could I hurt my cat with my feet at night by accident?
If your cat sleeps by your feet and you tend to roll around at night, you might disturb them, but it’s highly unlikely that you will harm them. Even if your toenails are untrimmed, they aren’t likely to poke your cat in the eye, and normal sleep movement is more likely to ‘dislodge’ your cat more than anything else.
If you are having a nightmare and moving your feet, then you might inadvertently kick the cat with your heel, but aside from this is very unlikely that you’ll be hurting your cat with your feet and if you do upset your cat with them, you’ll know right away.
Trust us on this one!
Why is my cat obsessed with my feet?
Cats love scents. In fact, when your cat is rubbing against you, scent glands on their face are marking you, even though you can’t smell it. As your feet produce sweat and pheromones, your feet are an endless supply of amusement and interest for your kitty – they look funny, with those wiggly toes, and they smell like you!
So, don’t take it personal when the sight and scent of your feet attract your kitty. They are just being playful and soaking in your scent, which they absolutely love, because that scent is essentially your ‘name’ and ‘signature’ in their world!
Why does my cat suddenly attack me for no reason?
There is a reason, actually, but you’ll need to watch your cat closely to determine what it is. Some cats, for instance, don’t like being petted and they’ll let you do it for awhile and then their ears flattened and they’ll charge-in and attack!
Cats also can become aggressive when they are scared and this doesn’t have to be from something that you did. Another cat in the yard, for instance, can frighten your cat and produce what is called ‘redirected aggression’.
In this case, your cat is nervous about the other cat, they can’t do anything about it, and you seem oblivious to it to them and keep trying to pet them and… pounce! Your cat ends up ‘taking it out’ on you! Health issues can also cause a cat to be stressed enough to attack at seeming random.
The best thing to do is to watch for signs that your cat is about to be aggressive. Look for flattened ears, swift wagging back and forth from the tail, and a tensed body. If you see this, speak calmly to your kitty and try tossing a treat lightly in front of them to ‘diffuse’ the tension.
You can also try simply getting up and moving to another room, to give your cat some space to calm down.
If your cat still waxes aggressive, consider a vet visit to rule out health issues. Your cat may actually be in pain and a vet can quickly determine if something health-related is the culprit.
Why do cats like to sleep by your feet?
Sleeping by your feet is actually an excellent choice from your cat’s point of view. For one thing, your feet produce sweat and pheromones, which make your cat feel more comfortable, and they also happen to be quite warm.
This position also allows them to guard you, while you are also guarding them! Cats are adorable, so it’s easy to forget that they are little predators, and sleeping close shows that they have the highest level of trust and confidence that you are safe and would protect them if another ‘predator’ showed up.
Finally, the spot at your feet gives them a lot of movement range options to get away, just in case they feel the need to hide fast. So, as you can see, sleeping by your feet is a practical decision, indeed!
Do cats know when they hurt you?
No, cats do not know that they have hurt you, unless you find a way to let them know. If a cat scratches you when they are playing with you and excited, say ‘oww’ and hold the area. This will communicate that they have hurt you.
Do this anytime your cat bites too hard or scratches. Say ‘oww’, hold the area, and make sure that play stops immediately. Your cat will learn if you are consistent with this.
Cats that have been weaned too early as kittens are more likely to hurt others without realizing it, as they haven’t had enough play with the other kittens in their litter. When that happens, they don’t learn how hard to bite for play vs. defense, nor do they learn to retract their claws before swatting.
Your cat will learn over time, with your help, just let them know that they have hurt you and resist the urge to show your temper. Your cat simply doesn’t know that they are playing too rough, so you must tell them.
How do you discipline a cat for biting?
You should never physically discipline a cat. They won’t understand it and will simply think that you are being mean to them.
The way to teach a cat is to reinforce good behavior with treats and petting and when your cat behaves badly, such as biting you during play, then you should say ‘oww’, hold the area, and immediately stop play.
This will communicate to your cat that the bite hurt and that you will always stop play when this happens. After seeing this a few times, your cat will get the message, and should play a little more friendly.
If your cat still wants to attack (and sometimes they do seem to forget themselves), then get up and leave them alone in the room. Be patient with the process, as you won’t see results overnight, but if you are consistent with this then your cat will learn to bite more gently.
It just takes a little time.