Why Does My Cat Hit Me When I Walk By?

My cat can be a real pain in the butt at times. He will do things that I don’t approve of like playing with our shoes in the shoe rack, getting on the kitchen counter and even lying on my head while I’m sleeping.

Ok, I’ll admit that it’s cute but it still gets a reaction out of me. It can be unnerving when cats suddenly ‘attack’ their cat owners.

One thing that my cat has started doing is to take swipe at me with its paws when I walk by.vIt isn’t a swipe that is done out of aggressive behavior but it can lead to that if left unchecked.

But why does my cat hit me when I walk by?

Cats do this out of being territorial of their area and feel like you are encroaching. They might also take a swipe at you out of irritation or playfulness. This is considered bad behavior and needs to be corrected.

Let’s take a closer look at the possible reasons for such a behavior and what you can do about it.

Your Cat Is Being Territorial

Cats are very territorial in nature. In the wild, cats will roam large areas and mark them with their urine and scent glands.

The cat’s scent serves as a warning to other cats and animals that this area has been secured by them and trespassers will be dealt with.

Even though your cat might be the cutest furball that ever set foot at home, they still have their natural cat instincts.

Your cat might be going around your home and deciding which areas belong to him. Usually, its the areas where the cat eats and rests will be closely guarded as its life depends on it.

And when cat owners ‘trespass’ on these areas of the house when the cat is around, this will make the cat hit or swipe them as a warning signal.

Your Cat Is Being Playful

If you have ever seen a cat or cats at play, they can be a rather rambunctious bunch. They will chase each other, cat slap, paw punch and even get into wrestling matches.

These cats bite each other as well but it is more out of a playful gesture. Some active cat breeds tend to be more playing than others.

If you have a Siamese, Bengal or Maine Coon they might exhibit such behaviors more frequently.

All this play aggression goes back to when they were kittens and learning how to develop their hunting and self-defence skills.

Your cat could be doing the same thing as you regarding you as another fellow cat. Your cat will hit you when you walk past and then run away, expecting you to chase it.

My cat likes being chased during playtime and he will engage in a game of tag with me until he gets bored.

Your Cat Is Practising Its Hunting Skills

Cats are excellent hunters and they need to be so in order to survive in the world. Cats are actually known to be one of the best efficient hunters in the animal kingdom with a 50/50 success rate.

They don’t get to be such skilled hunters without honing their skills and instincts from young.

Kittens will observe their mother when she hunts or even tests out their hunting techniques on each other during rough play.

Cats hunt by stalking their prey and then going for the kill when they are close enough.

In a domestic scene, the cat would have already been stalking the owner from a distance.

And when the cat owner walks by, an unexpecting cat swipe will happen to simulate an attack on the ‘prey’

Your Cat Is Feeling Agitated

Cats are sensitive animals and can be rather dramatic at times. It could be that something in the environment might have triggered our cat and it’s feeling agitated at that moment.

It could be due to the smell of another cat that is roaming outside your home and your cat is starting to feel territorial.

This can happen quite often if your cat isn’t neutered and it is mating season.

Cats tend to be very territorial during this period and will often get into fights with other cats to protect their turf and the right to mate.

Chances are your cat could just be having a bad day when you happened to walk by and you became a victim of your cat’s redirected aggression.

Your Cat Was Startled

Most cat owners would have probably heard the term ‘scaredy cat’ and there is quite a bit of truth in that.

Cats are very aware of what is going on in their surroundings. This helps them pinpoint their prey’s location and also to escape from other animals that are dangerous.

This heightened sense of alert at all times can also influence a cat’s behavior, making them on edge and getting startled easily.

Your cat might have been preoccupied with something else and when you walked past, the sound of your food steps might have startled your cat.

And your cat’s first reaction is to hit you to protect itself.

How To Stop Your Cat From Hitting You?

Many cats are aware of their strengths and claws when they hit you or engage in rough play. They have been taught since young that if they get too rough, the mother cat will discipline them.

However, they are some cats that have not been properly socialized and these cats tend to act aggressively as they get older.

It can lead to serious injuries when your cat bites you from being too rough.

There are a number of things that you can do to correct your cat’s behavior.

Don’t Be Angry Towards Your Cat

don't shout at cats

It is a common reaction for cat owners to get angry with their cats when experiencing a cat attack from their own feline companion.

The first thing you need to understand is that your cat isn’t doing it out of spite or hate for you.

It is just being a cat and you can’t fault it for that.

You shouting at your cat angrily will only cause your cat to be more fearful and make corrective training more difficult.

Take a breather and count to five before addressing your cat.

Tell Your Cat No

When your cat hits you when you are walking past, immediately tell your cat in a firm voice “No!”

This will allow your cat to realize that what it just did was wrong and that you do not approve of its actions.

Your cat doesn’t really understand what “no” means but it will get what you mean from the tone of your voice.

Give Your Cat A Time Out

After telling your cat a firm “No”, the next thing that you should be doing is giving your cat a time-out in a room alone.

Carry your cat to a room and close the door. Let your cat settle down in there for a good 5-10 minutes before letting it out.

Your cat will meow and scratch at the door wanting to get out but don’t give it until it has calmed down.

A time out tells the cat that any bad behavior will not be tolerated and no rewards or attention will be given to it.

Don’t Engage In Any Rough Play

Some cat owners like to use their own hands and feet to engage in rough play with their cats. This is harmless and adorable when your cat is still a kitten. But it is a different story if your cat is a 25 lbs Maine Coon with fully developed claws and teeth.

Don’t use your body parts to play with your cat. Doing so is as good as telling your cat that it is fine to treat your appendages as prey and get aggressive with them.

Get a proper toy like a feather wand and play with your cat. You don’t want to create an association between rough play and you in your cat.

Set Up A Private Area For Your Cat

If your cat doesn’t have its own area to call its own, prepare one for your cat. Your cat might be exhibiting territorial behavior at home because it feels like a lack of privacy.

Set up a quiet corner for your cat where it can go to take a nap or play. Make sure to choose the right cat bed for your cat depending on its personality.

Some cats like to chill by the window while others like to be sheltered while they sleep. There are cat beds that cater to such preferences

Another important item to have is a scratching post. Get one that is big enough for your cat to fully stretch out its body while using it. Scratching is also good for cats as it allows the cat to relax.

The next important item will be interactive toys. It is good to keep your cat mentally occupied and toys that they can chase or interact with are a good choice.


Many cat owners might feel that their cats randomly hit out at them. But your cat knows what it is doing and is just being a cat.

You will need to correct such behaviors the moment it starts to happen. The last thing you want to happen is for your cat to start getting more aggressive.

Always remember to be patient and gentle with your cat while trying to correct its behavior and your cat will appreciate you for it.

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