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Why does my cat attack me? 5 common reasons

Have you ever been the unfortunate victim of an unexpected and almost inexplicable cat attack? I have, almost out of the blue, when my cat was at what I thought was his maximum relaxation point. One day I took my cat to the garden, as he loves to sunbathe and play in the grass, and out of nowhere, he attacked my legs, bit and scratched them as much as he wanted, and then went to lie down on the floor as if nothing had happened. Confused, I couldn’t think of anything else but what just happened? “Why did my cat attack me out of nowhere?

Suppose you, like me, want to understand a little more about these crazy and mysterious beings that we love so much despite being so impulsive. In that case, we invite you to continue reading and discover some of the reasons that lead cats to attack for no apparent reason.

Why does my cat attack me out of nowhere? 5 common reasons

Without further ado, here are 5 possible reasons that may explain why your cat attacks you without apparent cause:

1. Intense gaming habits

As you probably already know, cats have a lot of energy and love to play with anything. Especially when cats are young, they spend most of the day sleeping, but when awake, they burn all their energy running, jumping, scratching, and playing with everything around them.

We, humans, are taught by our mothers what is right and wrong, just like cats in most aspects, but when it comes to playing, they still have a lot to learn about how a cat can acceptably play with a human. And it is a little obvious that they don’t know because why should they? It wouldn’t hurt to show them because even though cats are not people, house cats usually spend more time with people than other cats.

why does my cat attack me - gaming habits

A very excited cat may get out of control and lash out because he can’t find a way to contain his happiness. He’s probably not trying to hurt you, but it’s his way of releasing energy or letting you know he’s having a good time. Yes, even if it’s a senseless attack for you, that’s how it is.

To prevent this from happening frequently, you can resort to having a regiment of toys so that your cat always has something to choose from, and when he needs to release his energy, he does it with his favorite toy and not your poor arm.

2. The cat is the hunter. You are the prey

Wait, what? I am not a mouse!

This behavior is pervasive in domestic cats, especially those living in houses or apartments without a garden and not usually having outdoor games. Cats are hunters by nature, and just like their ancestors, the giant lions, they also feel the need to hunt, although they no longer do it for survival.

why does my cat attack me out of nowhere - hunter prey

If a cat can’t go out to hunt a mouse or an insect, it will look for a way to satisfy this habit with whatever is closest to it, and in some cases, its nearest prey maybe you. If, before an attack, your cat was watching you from afar and approaching you slowly and stealthily, with his body crouched in stalking mode, he was most likely playing that your leg is his prey and he, the big, strong hunter.

We know how painful a cat attack can be, leaving the skin with scratches and blood. Fortunately for you, it is easy to change the habit in these cases. You can start taking your cat out, if you don’t have a yard, he can go for a walk with a good and tight harness, or you can try to distract him with a wand or laser toys, which will make the cat stalk, chase, and attack the toy and not you.

3. The cat got scared or stressed

It is well known that cats are easily frightened and even more easily stressed. They are susceptible to external stimuli. Loud or different noises, bright colors and lights, pungent smells, and strange people, not to mention new habits, houses, or furniture, trigger their anxiety.

When a cat is very frightened or stressed, it will seek to hide to escape from danger, but when it cannot find the right place or when it cannot move, it will resort to attacking violently as a method to free itself and reduce its tension. Occasionally, cats can become frightened and carry the discomfort for several hours until they finally break free and attack, seeming to do so for no apparent reason.

why does my cat attack me - scared

If you think about it, it’s almost like with humans. We ask for help until we can’t do it anymore instead of doing it at the precise moment the problem happens to us.

In these cases, as we cannot always predict what will scare our cat, we can help him by always having a safe place where he can hide. It can be an enclosed bed or a high shelf, a space where he feels that no one can reach him.

4. The cat is in pain

When a cat is in pain, we often don’t know until the pain is a little more acute, and our furry friend begins to show changes in its attitude. Since they can’t talk and tell us something is wrong, we often don’t know how to treat them gently to avoid adding to their discomfort.

If a cat attacks out of the blue, we may have touched an area where he is in pain, or perhaps we walked by very close to it and thought we were going to move him, and to avoid it, he defended himself. Likewise, a cat in acute pain will be much more irritable than usual, resorting to violent attacks instead of a simple growl or an intense look.

why does my cat attack me - in pain

If you suspect this is the case, we recommend that you see a veterinarian so that your cat can receive appropriate treatment.

5. Redirected aggression

Another reason for a cat to lash out, and perhaps the one that puzzles us the most, is when it is a redirected aggression.

If one cat is confronting another and you approach to separate them, your cat may turn and leap to attack you rather than its original enemy. Or, if your cat is looking out the window and sees a flock of birds passing by, it will feel the need to jump up and catch something, and failing to do so, may proceed to attack you instead.

It is a cat redirecting its energy of emotion, fear, anger, and surprise towards the nearest object, which would be you. It’s not that your cat is being mean. It just doesn’t have the resources to release that energy.

Why does my cat attack me? Closing thoughts

Don’t worry too much. I think all cat owners will have one or another love scar from their little ones. The important thing is that now you know how to deal with those crazy attacks your cat has, and luckily, they are usually quickly resolved.

Tell us in the comments, how has your experience with these unexpected attacks been?

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