Why Does My Cat Attack Me Unprovoked?

This article has links to products and services we recommend, which we may make commission from.

Cats sometimes seem very moody. Once second they’re sitting there contentedly on your lap and purring and the next they have your thumb between their teeth and their claws firmly lodged in your leg. Why does my cat attack me unprovoked?! Especially when she’s usually quite mild-mannered.

» You might be interested in other typical cat behaviors they might be using to tell you something.

aggressive cat

A cat’s aggression can mean many different things, so it’s important to understand why your cat attacks you so you can figure out what to do about it.

It is important to know that even domestic cats are predators by nature. Your cat’s ancestors relied on hunting to survive. This is not a trait or a characteristic that just disappears. Your beloved cat will always have that need and desire to hunt. This is one of the many reasons why cats occasionally display aggressive behavior and sometimes attack you out of nowhere.

Common Reasons for a Cat’s Aggressive Behavior

Aggression from a cat can be triggered by specific situations that occur in the home, so you want to take a look at all the aspects of the cat’s life to determine the cause of the biting. Only once you understand it can it be stopped.

General Unhappiness

It is common for cats to bite when they aren’t happy with the contact they are receiving right now. The line between enjoying handling and irritating petting is very fine for cats, so while an owner might consider a bite as out of the blue, the action is entirely natural for a feline.


Cats respond to sudden noises and feeling trapped or cornered in one of two ways – fight or flight. In most cases a cat will run away if they feel threatened, however if they can’t escape, they will respond with aggression. Typically this type of aggression can be avoided by simply stepping away and giving the cat time and space to become comfortable again.

Most cats will try to get away from trouble, not actively pick a fight with another animal or a person. If a cat feels trapped or cornered, watch for signs of the ears pulled back along the head, hissing and spitting, widely dilated pupils, arched back and the tail standing straight up and bushed out like an old fashioned bottle brush.

hissing cat

Status or Territorial Aggression

Cats, as with many other pets, are territorial. This is another leading cause of aggression in cats. Is your cat the only pet in your home? If so, they may react with aggression when another pet enters into their territory.

The same can be said for children. Do you have children? If not, when a child visits your home, your cat may be frustrated, fearful, or angry with the change, especially inside their territory. The quick movements of small children can also cause a cat to act out.

Stock up on Cat Supplies

Our favorite place to buy pet supplies online is Amazon because you can Subscribe & Save to automatically reorder everything you need at a great discount.
Meow Mix Dry Food (save ~$9) Purina Fancy Feast Pack (save ~$18) Fresh Step Litter (save 5%)
Shop Cat Deals | Shop New Arrivals | Shop Amazon Best Sellers


Play Aggression

A kitten that is involved in either play social fighting or play hunting aggression will hide or couch down, leap out at you and swat at your feet or ankles or bite, then immediately run off. If not stopped this behavior will continue to escalate over time until it become a serious problem with a full grown cat attacking your feet when you walk past.

kitten biting

How to Keep Your Cat From Attacking You Unprovoked

  • First and foremost, aggression from your cat almost always means they’ve had enough. As long as you respect this and don’t insist on further affection, you decrease the likelihood that they will continue to be aggressive.
  • Poorly socialized cats often have no idea how to play properly and are too rough, scratching and biting their owner, so their owners must teach them that this is not acceptable behavior.
  • Spending some one on one time in grooming, feeding and playing with your cat as well as ensuring that they have companionship in the form of another animal or human when you are gone can really help.
  • If they can see outside, sit on a window ledge or at a patio door this can also help them stay mentally occupied.
  • Keeping your cat happy also includes ensuring that they have clean litter box, toys and food and water when you are gone. Provide a good variety of toys from balls they can bat around with their paws to small toys they can carry in their mouths.
  • Cat play towers or condos that have scratching posts, ropes, boxes and lots of areas to jump and move about in are a great way to provide exercise in a controlled space.
  • Cats will often become more difficult and challenging with their behavior if they are not spayed or neutered when they are young.


When your cat attacks you unprovoked, it doesn’t always mean there’s a problem. It’s normal cat behavior to get aggressive at times. In this post, you learned many ways to keep your cat calm and avoid unprovoked bad behavior.


Like this? We’d love to hear from you on our Facebook page! If you’re hungry for more, follow us on Pinterest so you never miss a thing.

Pin it and share it!

A hissing cat

Leave a Reply