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Why Does My Cat Swat At Me When I Walk Away?

If your cat is swatting you as you walk away you may be getting frustrated and wondering why it keeps happening…

Why does my cat swat at me when I walk away?

If your cat is swatting you it could one of a few reasons. Such as it wants you to stop and pet it, just practicing its hunting skills, has a health issue and wants to inform you, wants your attention, or even just to play with you.

Top 5 reasons why your cat may swat as you walk away

Person standing in front of orange cat

Person standing in front of orange cat

If your cat swats you when you walk by, it is likely they are trying to grab your attention (literally). Cats tend to swat their owners because of their natural-born predator instincts.

These instincts make them want to hunt anything they can get their paws on!

Swatting is typically harmless but may be the sign of a medical problem if your cat is continuously swatting over the same things.

If you are trying to decrease the swatting in your house, try using positive reinforcement to persuade your cat toward making better choices or consult your vet for advice.

01. It wants you to stop (pet it)

One common reason your feline might swat at you as you pass by is because they want you to pet them!

After all, how could you possibly pass your furry friend without giving them some loving?

Just spending a few minutes a day giving your cat belly rubs and chin scratches will go a long way!

02. Practicing its hunting skills

All cats have a natural desire to hunt which is why they might be practicing their hunting skills when they swat at you.

No  matter how domesticated your house cat is, you can never remove their natural desire to hunt which is why it should come to no surprise when your little furry friend starts practicing their hunting skills on you!

03. It may have a health issue

Swatting can be a sign  that your beloved feline is not feeling so well. If you notice that your pet is swatting you frequently when you pet them in specific areas, this may be an indicator that they are experiencing tenderness.

If your touch is painful, this is a sign to visit the vet immediately.

Tenderness can mean your cat is experiencing arthritis, dental disease, and much more.

Consulting a professional for an evaluation is the only way to receive a proper diagnosis.

04. Just wants your attention

Believe it or not, cats love getting attention from their owners and they are typically very direct about this which is why they will swat their loving companions to initiate interaction.

05. They are just playing

Cats are typically just trying to play with you when they swat at you which means there is no malintent when your cat snags your favorite shirt!

Try making their toys more readily accessible and spend more time playing with your cat!

When they swat as you pass by, this can mean that you have not been playing with them enough!

What does cat swatting mean?

Swatting has many meanings but most of the time they are simply trying to get your attention for one reason or another.

Whether that means they are bored and want someone to play with or just aren’t feeling well, when your cat swats at you they are trying to tell you something their vocal cords will not let them!

Should I ignore my cat if it swats me?

If the swatting is playful, there is nothing to worry about and  you can go ahead and dismiss your cat’s swatting.

If your cat is acting aggressive or is showing signs of a potential health issue, then you should investigate their swatting further.

How can I prevent my cat swatting at me?

You can prevent swatting by providing distractions and rewarding your cat for good behavior. Since punishment can be retroactive, taking preventative measures is much more effective at maintaining a swat-free household!

If your cat has problems with aggressive swatting or tends to swat more than the average feline, preventative measures might be the best way to fix your problematic cat’s swatting behavior.

Distract your cat

Distracting your cat can be a great way to keep your cat from swatting at you. This can be a good tactic for playful cats who enjoy swatting for attention or entertainment purposes.

So, if your cat is a harasser who just loves to greet guests with a nice, welcoming ankle swat it might be a good idea to give them an interactive toy like a  treat puzzle or an automatic laser chaser.

These will keep your cat entertained and all humans out of claws way!

Reward  it for not swatting

Giving your feline a reward for not swatting is the perfect positive reinforcement when they have done what you have asked.

Once your cat learns how to receive their treats, the positive behaviors will become natural and you will have a safe and swat-free environment!

Identify any health issues and get them treated

If your cat’s swatting is caused because of underlying health issues, it is important that you identify these and get them treated  immediately by a professional veterinarian.

Prolonging the treatment of any health condition can worsen the existing condition and can also add additional symptoms.

Why does my cat swat my kitten?

A white kitten next to a window.

A white kitten next to a window.

One of the reasons cat swat is they must form a hierarchy, it  completely normal for an older cat to swat and even hiss at a new kitten when first  introducing a new kitten to your older cat.

As long as this behavior does not become aggressive,  is fine to stand back and let them establish this hierarchy naturally.

If you notice your older cat is beginning to extend their claws, this is a good time to interfere.

How can I stop a feral from swatting me?

The easiest way to stop a feral cat from swatting is by gaining their trust. For a variety of reasons, feral cats tend to be apprehensive trusting humans which can cause them to raise their defenses and swat.

If you want to stop a feral cat from swatting, you will first need  to gain their trust. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. Feral cats can take long times to let their guards down, especially mother cats.

Gain trust of feral cats by feeding them, housing them, and proving to them that you deserve their trust.

When trying to love on your feral feline, you should always lower yourself to their level and allow them the opportunity to approach you.

This will lower their defenses and prevent the like hood that the feral cat will swat at you.

Why does my cat swat me in the face?

When your cat swats you in the face, this might mean they are trying to get your attention for asking for feed or to clean their litter box. If they are doing this every morning around the same time, it might mean they are wanting you to feed them.

On the other hand, if they do it randomly or after running from their litter box area this might be a friendly announcement that it is time to clean their litter box (step it up!).

One common suggestion many cat owners make about face swatting is that it means your cat is trying to initiate  a game of tag with you.

If your cat gives you a gentle swat to the face, try following them to see where they go and they will usually lead you to exactly what they want -food, water, or an endless chase around the house!

Lindsey Browlingdon