Happy cat owner tip 1: wearing wellies!

Wearing wellies to protect against an attack from your cat on your lower leg and/or ankle.
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This looks a bit strange – very strange perhaps – but effective. The idea comes from Rebecca Watson in her book The Cat Expert. I like the idea if you have a problem with your kitten or cat attacking your lower leg and/or ankles a lot. Wearing wellies protects them until they get out of the habit and/or you resolve the problem. Also, attacking rubber is not going to be particularly pleasant for the cat so it may deter them.

If your cat is genuinely attacking your lower leg in the morning when your legs are bare, they probably enjoy sinking their teeth into your flesh. Yummy! That’s what they expect. Wellington boots may jolt them out of the habit.

Play

We know that kittens like to play a lot and walking past them in bare feet and legs presents to them a great opportunity express this innate desire. A young cat desirous of a bit of play is going to be attracted to moving human legs as they look like a great play item which to a domestic cat is a prey animal. Cats engage in play-fighting and play-hunting. They kind of overlap when young cats play with each other. Adult cats grow out of the keen desire to play.

Dearth of opportunity

Cats and kittens also might want to play with your legs because they are indoor cats and don’t have any other opportunity to hunt. They want to pounce and attack something. Your legs are a beautiful prey animal.

Attention seeking ambushing cat

Or a cat might be looking for attention and/or interaction with you. They simply want to play with you because they perceive you as another cat albeit very large. And because you are a large, they are presented with your legs with which to interact. An interaction for a young cat can mean play. They might attack your legs because there is no other cat with which to play except their human companion.

Redirected aggression

My cat attacked my right leg in the morning once. He had just come in from the outside. I believe that he had been spooked by a fox because there are foxes very near where I live. Or he had confronted a neighbouring cat. He was in the mood to attack something either in the act of aggression or defensively. I think he redirected his aggression at my leg and delivered a hard bite which became infected and which, in all, took a few months to completely clear up. It required antibiotics. That is redirected aggression.

Legs are toys

But the most likely reason is that they cat wants to play and your legs are a great toy. What’s the solution? If kittens do it, they will grow out of it. I think you can admonish a cat or kitten for doing something you don’t like such as biting your legs or nibbling hard on your hand.

Admonishing

I know we can’t talk to cats and instruct them to do things. However, if you raise your voice slightly and transmit a tone of voice to your cat which indicates to them that you are unhappy with what they are doing, and if you have a good relationship and close bond with your cat, they will pick up on your mood and stop doing whatever annoys you.

It may take some time for them to get the message but they will gradually stop. Obviously, no cat owner should shout at their cat because that will simply frighten them and undermine the bond but raising one’s voice slightly and indicating that you are annoyed and unhappy is, in my opinion, understood by cats. In a good relationship cats are sensitive to their owner’s body language and the tone and timbre of their voice. This is a form of training but without using positive reinforcement.

But if a cat’s has a chronic habit of biting your legs, then the Wellington boot hack may provide you with a respite until you can resolve the problem in a respectful way!

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