Categories: cat aggression

Is this a community cat attack or play that went wrong?

I genuinely want your thoughts on this short video. At the end of the video, which has been edited out, other people nearby get the cat off the man’s leg in a violent manner but the cat seems to have been unharmed.

It seems like one of the cat’s claws (perhaps the dewclaw) became entangled in the man’s clothes giving the impression that he was being attacked when, in fact, it could be that the cat had simply jumped up at the man because the cat knew him and wanted to play but then it went wrong. The man’s behavior in panicking and falling over may have exacerbated the problem with the entangled claw.

The question is: is this a vicious cat attack for reasons we are unaware of (territorial?) or is this a friendly cat looking to play and it went wrong. I favor the latter for the reason that community cats just don’t attack people like this and they don’t see an invasion by a human of their territory as actionable. Cats don’t consider humans in this way.

There is the question as to whether the cat had rabies. We don’t know. Even then I don’t think a rabid cat would attack in this way but I could be wrong.





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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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  • After viewing it a few more times, I wonfer if the cat was fleeing something and actually just ran into the !an's legs, the surprise of it causing the cat to cling on. I have seen Mungo do the "litter skitter" after a thorough eliminatio, then go galloping off and play pounce on toys or if Mungo is feeling especially foolhardy, he wil play pounce on bitey Jet.

  • I agree with Michael and Albert. It looks like the start of play to me, the bloke was surprised, had physical hysterics and fell over. The caught claw is probably why cat and man did not separate quickly.

  • I might be able to tell if I could slow it down. But I can stop it and look at frames. The cat's run up to the man does NOT look like an aggressive attack so I think Michaels' sense of this is correct. If anything it looks playful. The cat is loping, straight-legged (not crouched low), with ears up (not pinned), and perhaps most telling is the tail on approach indicates "non-threatening, non-aggressive nor fearful; at worst unsure, or at best content and possibly friendly." - The Telltale Tail chart shared/consensus world-wide. Once the man starts struggling as if he's attacked the cat's claw is caught and is pulled in many directions not of his doing. We also can't see the aftermath once the cat is free. The video is not best evidence and at best gives a false perception of attack, except for the approach which is clear.

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