Have you ever been minding your own business and your cat attacks you for no reason? Are you afraid to walk past your couch or your bed because you think your cat is lying in wait ready to pounce on you? Does this mean your cat hates you, fears you, or looks at you as a giant cat toy? Is this normal play behavior? Yes, it is perfectly normal and is your cat’s way of showing their affinity to you as a loving companion.
Cats will pounce on their humans as a way to show they want attention and wish to play. Usually your cat will be gentle and barely graze you with their teeth and claws. In some instances they will hang onto your ankles with their front paws and kick you with their back paws. While it may be painful to you remember your cat does not wish to cause you harm. They are gauging the severity of their attack based on their own experience. With loose skin and fur the force of their attack on your would barely be noticed if the tables were turned.
Cats are also results driven. If the first few times they pounce on you leads to a merry chase through the house they will learn what fun this activity is. As a result, whenever they feel in need of a good play session your ankles will be in danger.
In rare situations you cat may pounce if angry, upset or agitated. For example, a cat looking out the window at a rival cat in their yard may pounce on you as a substitute because they cannot go chase the trespassing feline. Cats also startle easily. A cat napping under the bed may see your movement as startling or potential prey and pounce on instinct. The intention is not to harm but is a means of acting when emotion is high. It is a means of release.
If you find your cat’s pouncing behavior has increased or become overly aggressive take your cat to your veterinarian to ensure there are no underlying health problems. If everything is fine you might want to contact an animal behaviorist to help stop the pouncing. Or, try and engage your cat in other fun activities when they pounce, Or simply let the games begin and enjoy a merry chased throughout your home.