Why Does My Cat Bite My Feet?

Why do Cats Bite Us?

  • Predators Mentality

Cats are natural hunters, their prey instincts are hard wired into their being. Presence of prey, whether in sound or movement triggers a reflexive response into your cat’s brain. When your feet move, the cat might interpret it as a large prey for him and he/she is prompted to act. The cat’s cognitive brain catches up after some time that your feet aren’t prey. But because cats love to play and follow you around, it continues relishing the capture, recapture and loss of the elusive feet for the sake of having fun.

  • Did You Step On Him?

As cat lovers we take extra caution not to step on our precious beings, but mistakes are inevitable. Perhaps you stepped or tripped on your cat accidentally. The cat may have viewed your feet as a monster, especially if it caused it a lot of pain. When your cat bites your feet, it probably is attacking the monster that caused it pain.

  • The Scent Of Your Feet

Who knows, but just maybe your cat is in love with the smell of your feet. They might be having an irresistible smell to your cat.

  • Attention Seeking

A cat biting at your feet maybe its way of communicating that they want attention or play. If the cat doesn’t have enough stimulation and opportunities for playtime, then they are going to take it upon themselves to look for an alternative. Check whether the cat is getting enough interactive play therapy or an enabling environment for it to play.

Why does my cat like the smell of my feet?

As we have seen above, one of the reason your cat bites your feet is because it likes the smell of your feet. There are several explanations as to why cats like the smell of your feet.

  • Cats Love Salty Things

Feet get sweaty and salty. Your cat may be linking the sweaty and murky smell of your sweaty feet when you get to the house from errands.  Cats also react to human pheromones found in sweat in the same way they react to catnips which contains an ingredient that mimics pheromones of felines.

  • New Interesting Scents

Bare feet pick scents from the ground they walk over. If you walk around the house and your compound bare footed, you are bound to bring home an array of new and interesting smells on your feet. Cats might bite into your feet when trying to find out where you’ve been and what you’ve encountered along your path. They smell remnants of places you have walked on and their curiosity to experience a new place is satisfied.

  • Comfort In Familiarity

The cats may like the smell of your feet because the odour is comforting and makes them comfortable. This is especially if the cat is so close to you. The smell of your feet is reassuring for it, and it may bite into your feet when looking for reassurance.

How to Handle a Feet Attack from Your Cat

When the cat persists to bite on your feet, when its claws and paws are around your ankle and the teeth are sunk into your flesh, what is the best way to respond? You should not attempt to pull away or attempt to run because the cat will bite harder into you. Prey attempts to run away, so don’t act like prey when the cat bites at your feet. Confuse the cat by pushing towards her gently. He/she will release the grasp because no prey moves willingly towards the hunter. Once the grasp releases, stay still and ignore her antics.

How to the Cat to Stop from Biting Your Feet

I know you are perhaps wondering. So, how do I stop the cat from biting my feet?” There is always something you can do. You don’t have to resign to feline bites every single day. Here are a few suggestions that work.

  1. Better Alternative Playtime Opportunities and Toys

Provide your cat with a better alternative when it comes to playtime with appropriate toys for cats. Do this in two ways. First, create a schedule for interactive play therapy everyday with your cat. You can use a fishing pole kind of toy to mimic prey movements. The toy should put distance between your skin and then toy to make the cat understand what the acceptable target is

Your cat bites your feet because their site stimulated its play and hunting instincts. Redirect her to a real toy so that he/she can leave your feet alone.

When providing toys, let the cat experiment with as many toys as possible so that you can learn your cat’s preferences. Generally cats like small toys like fake mice and balls. They also get excited chasing, stalking and pouncing on items that move like prey, ones that you can dangle and move around.

  1. Cover Your Feet

Exposing your feet to your cat may be encouraging it to smell and bite on them. It is wise to wear socks and shoes in the house when your cat is around. If you love being bare foot, you can do this temporarily before you train her to bite at toys not your feet.

  1. New Objects

Make a habit to give your cat new objects to play with such as paper bags, cardboard boxes to distract it from your feet.

  1. Schedule More Playtimes

 Have at last two playtime therapy sessions for the cat daily. Schedule these sessions to coincide with the cat’s most playful and active times. When playing, discourage the cat from playing with your feet by throwing dangly toys away from your feet.

  1. Shift The Cat’s Focus

If your cat loves grabbing your feet as you go up and down the staircase, or ambushes you from behind furniture, carry toys with you and throw them ahead of you to refocus his attention from your feet. Let it focus on chasing the toy not your feet.

  1. Adopt A Playmate For The Cat

You can get a new cat for your cat to get a playmate. Preferably a young and playful cat as yours for them to keep each other busy.

Outdoor Play Area/Cat Tree

You can build an outdoor enclosure or cat tree for the cat with boxes, branches, percent and shelves for it to navigate during playtime. A more complex environment that gives your cat opportunities to hunt insects and chase at leaves makes it less motivated to play with you and your feet.

What Not To Do When Playing With Your Cat

Do not encourage the cat to play with your feet, hands or any other body part. Do not also use toys that encourage the cat to play with your body parts, such as gloves with balls dangling from them. They won't understand that it’s not okay to attack your hands or feet. It is also not wise to run around with your cat or block his movements with your legs. This will just encourage what you are trying to prevent, him biting your feet.

How Do You Punish A Cat?

You don't punish a cat like a human being by shouting at it, hitting, grounding or withdrawing something from it. These are positive responses in the feline world and they only indicate that you are paying attention to it, and they won’t enforce cat discipline.

You also don't punish a cat physically for playing rough with you. They may misinterpret your actions and become even rougher, become stressed and having increased unpleasant behaviours.

The best response is to walk away from your cat immediately, and if they follow, keep walking. Additional punishments when a cat bites your feet is withdrawing treats, games, silent treatment and ignoring them. These are negative responses and with time your cat will associate them to be consequences of bad behaviour.

Bottom Line

And there you have it - a detailed answer to your question, why does my cat bite my feet? Cats are dear pets but they can be a nuisance especially when they hurt us in the name of play. Any behaviour is motivated by something, which also applies into them hurting your feet. You can take measures to train your cat that your feet are not a play thing without making them feel alienated from your life.

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