Why do cats like feet?

Cats are strange creatures. As much as we can’t help but love these furry fiends, they simply do the weirdest things that leave us half in awe and half in a state of utter confusion. For example, you go out of your way to buy them the most expensive and comfortable bed and they’ll refuse to use it and will prefer a beat-up cardboard box. Similarly, when you come home from a long day at work and take off your shoes and everyone is complaining of your stinky feet, your cat will be showering love on your smelly shoes and feet. And it seems, the stinkier the shoes or feet, the happier the cat is. And it’s not simply limited to smelling our feet or shoes, they’ll rub themselves against our feet, will playfully nip away at them and will even try to fit themselves into the shoes and fall asleep on them.

And if they aren’t rubbing themselves up against our stinky feet, they are attacking them. The slightest wiggly of your toes will attract their attention and they will be alert and ready to pounce. They seem to have made a game especially early in the morning to sneak attack upon our sweet, swiping, and nibbling on our toes. Their obsession with our feet seems to have no bounds.

What do cat oddball behaviors mean

Cats Chase Feet: Why Cats Target Toes & How to Stop It

Is there a reason for this oddball behavior that our cats exhibit? There must be. So we’ve explored all the possible reasons behind why our cats seem to like our feet so much.

instinct

One popular theory about why cats like our feet so much come down to instinct. Cats are natural-born predators and so it’s in their blood to want to chase things and so when you move your feet it attracts their attention and triggers their instinct to attack. But why our feet in particular? Why not our hands? It seems as though our feet are an ideal size in resembling the prey they hunt. Cats usually prey on smaller animals and our feet resemble those smaller sized prey like mice.  Also if you like to wear those fuzzy big socks or slippers that resemble small animals (yes the ones with ears and balls of fluff to resemble tails) your cat might be tempted to pounce on them as well.

love

Another popular theory seems to suggest that your cat seems to pay attention to your feet as a sign of love. Cats love attention and so when you’re not home all day they are missing out on that attention. When you come home they’re excited to see you and they show their affection to the most accessible part that they can reach which just happens to be your foot. So when they’re trying to bite your feet, or swipe at them or lick them, it’s their way of expressing that they’re happy that you’re home. I mean, after all, it’s your cat we’re talking about and they are the least conventional creatures out there even when they’re showing affection. It can also be their attempt to get you to play a game with them. By swiping at your feet which are the most accessible to them, they get your attention and run away expecting you to follow them and play. As far as your shoes are concerned, they might enjoy playing with the shoelaces. Cats love string!

territorial

Cats are, amongst many things, very territorial and with their sharp sense of smell, the two things might not go well hand in hand. So if you come home after a long day and your feet or shoes have picked up an unfamiliar smell (for your cat) or may have come into contact with another their attention to your feet might actually them showing displeasure at the new scent and it might be their attempt to rid you or your shoes of that scent by replacing it with their own! Since the scent glands of a cat are located in their cheeks, they run their faces on your feet, socks, and shoes to ensure as much of their scent is transferred as possible.

Why Does My Cat Attack My Feet? | POPSUGAR Pets

comfort

On the other hand, some theories suggest the opposite. An owner’s scent is mostly concentrated in their feet and thus by extension in their shoes and socks. Your cat picks up on this familiar smell and feels a sense of comfort and thus attaches themselves to the scent.

Cats also happen to do this strange thing where they knead and suck on your clothes or blankets. This is usually because your cat had been weaned off way to early as a kitten. So by extension, some might suggest, they’re giving the same attention to your socks and shoes as they would be giving your clothes.

A slightly disgusting possibility

A slightly disgusting possibility that has been suggested is that the reason why your cat is licking your sweaty feet isn’t that they love you and want to groom your feet. They simply like the salty taste of sweat. And so your feet, socks, and shoes are the perfect sources of sweat! Cats react to the pheromones in our sweat in the way they would react to catnip, that’s how much they like it! Like we said before, cats and their logic are difficult to understand!

However, sometimes these behaviors that our cats exhibit might slowly turn into a nuisance, and if you want them to stop you’ll have to make sure your displeasure is obvious to your cat. If you give your cat positive reinforcement such as giving them a pat on the head in order to get them to stop, you are encouraging them to act that way more frequently. In order to prevent their actions, you’ll need to use a sound or a word and use it in a tone that clearly suggests that you aren’t liking or approving of what they’re doing. If your cat likes to bite, even if it is playfully, the way to make it stop is to pretend that they have hurt you to make them understand that their behavior is wrong.

Why Does My Cat Attack My Feet?

There is also a very important distinction that cat owners should be able to make in their cat’s behavior. That is to know when your cat is playing with you and when your cat is exhibiting feline aggression. When cat’s play, they are careful to not hurt those they are playing with whether it is another animal or their humans. So they won’t take out their claws while swiping at you or won’t bite hard enough to leave an impact.

However, if your cat seems to get overexcited and playing leads to roughhousing there could be a number of factors involved. Signs of aggression include:

  • Exposed claws
  • Growling
  • Hissing
  • Arched back
  • Stiff stance
  • Open mouth

Your cat might be acting aggressively because they might not be well and are trying to tell you. Or they might be feeling hostile towards a new addition to the family, and since feet are the most accessible they get the brunt of it. To avoid aggression distract your cat with a toy where they can redirect their anger. Also, make a trip down to the vet to discuss your concerns.

Leave a Comment