Cats are enigmatic creatures that can often leave us puzzled over their erratic actions.
Just the other day, as I was about to plant a kiss on my cat’s head, his paw shot out and slapped me on the face.
I was dumbstruck for a few seconds before realizing that I just got struck in the face by my feline friend.
So I was forced to take revenge by giving him 10 big kisses before he could react.
But why do cats slap?
Cats slap things for a number of reasons. It could be out of playfulness, irritation or curiosity. There isn’t any aggressive intent involved as there are no claws involved. But learning to read your cat’s body language is important in this instance.
Ever wondered what’s going through your feline’s mind during these mysterious slapping sessions? Dive into the enigmatic world of cat psychology with us.
1. Your Cat Is Feeling Curious
Having a huge curiosity streak is part and parcel of being a cat.
They love to investigate anything that looks or smells different from their familiar surroundings.
Whenever I’m back from the supermarket, my cat will spend a good five minutes going to each bag slapping and snigging the contents.
Cats don’t have hands or fingers like humans. They lack the ability to reach out and grab an object to examine it.
They have to use their paws for this purpose.
Don’t be surprised if your cat slaps you in the face with its tail as well.
Given that cats are also very wary and cautious in nature, they will gingerly and tentatively paw the object of their curiosity to see how it reacts.
2. Your Cat Is Feeling Hungry
Cats are a lot smarter than we give them credit for. They studied humans well enough over the years to know how to get our attention.
Meowing is just one way that cats use to communicate with us. It is something reserved for humans and they do it to each other.
Another more effective way is to slap us.
Try slapping someone in the face and you’ll definitely get their attention. (Don’t do it)
My friend’s cat has this habit of waking her up at 7 every morning with some light slaps to the face.
At first, he couldn’t figure out what his cat wanted. But it didn’t take long for him to connect the dots that it involves his cat’s feeding schedule.
Thankfully, my cat doesn’t slap me awake when he is hungry. He just meows the whole house down.
Who needs an alarm clock when you already got a feline friend?
3. Your Cat Is Feeling Irritated
Many cats slap when they are feeling irritated.
I am sure many cat owners have found out the same way as me. Maybe your feline friend is mad at you for not involving your beloved cat in your wedding.
There are a couple of ways that you can go about irritating your cat.
The most common way is through overstimulation from petting your cat.
Even though cats are born to be solitary creatures, they do love a good petting session every now and then.
They love being stroked on the chin, head, ears and some even like being roughly patted on the bum area.
Unlike dogs that can just lie there and take hours of pets, a cat’s threshold is a lot shorter than that.
This is due to cats having a much more sensitive nervous system from having a large number of nerve endings in their body.
Your cat can be purring blissfully from your pets and giving your hand a slap the very next moment.
Look out for signs of irritation such as vocalization, a thumping fluffed up tail, ears pulled back, etc.
This is a signal that your cat is feeling overstimulated and it is starting to feel uncomfortable.
Waking Up A Sleepy Cat
Trying to rouse your cat from its nap or sleep can also result in the same reaction.
Cats have different body clocks than other animals and they need 18-20 hours of sleep daily.
Waking or disturbing a cat who doesn’t want to be woken might not be the smartest move for cat lovers.
6. For No Rhyme Or Reason
A cat can slap you in the face just because it feels like it without any valid reason.
Your cat has moments of sheer unpredictability.
There’s no profound or behavioral explanation for why your cat decides to give you a gentle slap.
Cats inherently exhibit unpredictable behaviors that can baffle our rational understanding.
Even though we try to make sense of every feline gesture, there are times when cats act purely on a whim.
The next time your feline friend playfully slaps you, take it in stride.
7. Your Cat Wants To Play
Yes, we know that cats spend a large portion of the day in slumber. But when it comes to being playful, they are up there on the list.
Cats swat you in the face when they are looking for some playtime and they can do it in a ‘catch me if you can’ kind of way.
It will slap you in the face and run away hoping that you will give chase.
Make it a point to chase your cat but not out of anger for giving you a right jab to the chin.
Cats like being chased and my cat has this thing that he does to get my attention if he wants to play.
He will run sideways at me with his tail all puffy and then run away.
Cats are excellent hunters and if they don’t feel like eating their prey they can end up playing with it.
I have seen my cat spend a good amount of time slapping a lizard around on the floor with its paws. He will swat it and pounce on it before it has a chance to escape.
He stops when he gets bored after a while or when the lizard is no longer alive.
Why Do Cats Slap Each Other?
One of the funniest things you can witness is to see two ‘fighting’ cats slap each other.
I don’t mean to say fighting in a violent and aggressive manner but it does look that way if you are not familiar with a cat’s behavior.
These feline pals can get into such little spats throughout the day due to irritation.
It usually starts when one cat overgrooms the other cat or gets in its way. Cats also do it when they engage in play fighting with each other to hone their hunting skills.
Why Do Cats Slap Kittens?
Some parents say that if you spare the rod, you spoil the child. I guess some mother cats also feel the same way.
When the kitten gets out of line, some mother cats won’t hesitate a couple of well placed albeit gentle swats to the kitten’s face.
This is a good enough signal to the kitten that it needs to stop doing what it was doing or incur the wrath of its mom.
Why Should You Be Careful Of Cat Slaps?
Most of the time when a cat slaps you, it isn’t done with malice or intention to harm you.
They don’t use their claws and it isn’t hard enough to cause any injury.
However, there are a couple of body language signals that you should be aware of just to be safe.
If your cat hissing and showing its teeth after swatting you? Are its ears pulled back? Are the furs on its tail and body standing up?
Does it make your hair stand and tummy churn?
If you notice any of the above signs, it would be best to step away from your cat and let it come down.
Something has really agitated your cat and it won’t hesitate or scratch or bite anyone that provokes it further.
Another scenario that you should be careful of is when your cat starts slapping your kid.
As adorable as it might seem, children are not aware of how fierce cats can be. They treat cats like toys and don’t handle them the right way.
And when the cat lashes out in anger at the kid, it is the cat that gets labeled as being too aggressive to be a pet and gets rehomed or brought to the shelter.
So please watch your kid when he or she is playing with the cat.
It is all fun and games until someone gets hurt.
Is It OK To Slap Your Cat Back?
It is never ok to hit your cat back regardless of how justified you think it is.
We are a lot stronger than the average cat and one wrong hit to your cat can cause serious injury.
As much as we love our feline friends as part of the family, they are still cats first and we should respect that.
They can’t rationalize matters as humans do.
Why Does My Cat Slap My Dog?
If you have both cats and dogs as pets, it is not uncommon to see your cat slapping your dog on the snout every now and then.
Cats are feisty creatures and will not hesitate to show the other pet who’s the boss.
It is how they show dominance to the dog to keep it in line.
It can be rather hilarious to see a huge dog scared to walk past the family cat for fear of being slapped.
Another reason is that dogs are way more energetic than cats.
They will want to play with the cat or spend more time with it during the day. Most cats prefer to be alone when they want to catch up on their sleep schedule.
A slap or two to the over-eager dog will tell it to go away until the cat is ready to socialize.
You don’t have to be alarmed if you see your cat doing that to your dog. It is just how they interact but they still love each other on the inside.
Why Does My Cat Hit My Face With Its Head?
I have said it before and I will say it again, cats can be so random and unpredictable at times.
As much as this can be frustrating for cat owners at times, it can also make them more adorable in our eyes.
At the end of the day, your cat is just being a cat with its quirks and all.
But do make it a point to take note of your cat’s body language if it is being overly ‘slappy’ as it could just be having a bad day.