Why Do Cats Slap Things?

Why Do Cats Slap Things

Your cat has made it a routine to slap the spring door stopper every time he wakes up from his mid-morning nap as if he were a boxer training with a speed bag. Every time you bring something new, he makes it a point to paw at each strange object after conquering his initial fear. In fact, he has knocked off countless items off your shelf because he keeps on pawing at these.

Why do cats slap things?

Slapping things is not a behavior that is exclusive to cats. In fact, you can see other animals like dogs do this when they are presented with something unfamiliar. As creatures of habit, cats tend to dislike new objects. But that dislike for new things is often overwhelmed by their innate curiosity.

When you see your cat poke at a new object using his front paw, it means that he is trying to investigate it, starting with a quick jab. Your curious pet will continue slapping the object until he has some idea of what that object is, whether it is alive or not, a threat or a treat.

Cats will also slap objects that they like to play with, whether the object is a toy or not. That habit goes back to their ancestors and their hunting behavior. If you happen to see a cat catch a mouse, he will chase it around and then bat it to confirm whether it is still alive or not. If the mouse is dead, the cat will either eat it or leave it be.

Why do cats use their paws to investigate things?

Most people think that cat paws are just for walking. But for cats, their paws are essential for several key functions. That includes discovering the world around them.

There is a reason why most cats do not like their paws getting touched or rubbed: their cute little paws are sensitive. Each paw contains several receptors that aid in hunting and balance.

Furthermore, the receptors in the paws enable a cat to learn about objects and his surroundings. When a cat paws at an object, he can ascertain its texture as well as other indicators of life like vibrations and pressure. Those come in handy when he is stalking or even toying with his prey.

But the sensitivity of his paws can also be a bane for your cat. Although the pads on his paws offer some degree of protection against the elements, these can be hurt and damaged by temperature extremes.

Why do cats slap things off tables and shelves?

Cats often knock things off tables and shelves because they are trying to get the attention of their humans. Perhaps your cat does this because he is hungry or just wants to spend more time with you.

To prevent this behavior, one of the first things that you should do is to stop placing things on the table or shelf that will attract your cat’s attention.

Another great way to stop your cat from doing this behavior is to use deterrents that prevent your pet from jumping onto your table or shelves.

You should also avoid giving your cat the attention he is seeking after knocking items off a table or shelf. If you give in to your cat’s demands, he learns that swatting objects leads to rewards. Instead of caving in and showering your pet with attention, leave the room, and avoid interacting with your pet.

Why do cats hit their humans?

Is your pet being aggressive towards you if he slaps you with his paw?

More often than not, the answer is no. Cats communicate in a variety of ways. And one of the ways they attempt to talk with their humans is to use their paws. A slap can mean any of a few things.

1. Your cat is trying to stop you from petting him.

Petting your cat is a great way to reinforce the bond between you. If you are lucky enough, your cat may also enjoy getting belly rubs from you.

However, petting your cat can lead to overstimulation. Although sometimes it may not be apparent, your cat reaches a point where he has had enough stimulation and wants to stop the petting session.

When he reaches that point, he can slap your hand, indicating that the session is over. If you continue giving pets to your cat, things can escalate into full-on aggression.

Over time, you will learn how to read your cat’s body language, telling you that your pet has had enough pets for the day.

2. Your cat wants food.

Apart from meowing, your cat might try to get your attention by using his paws and give you a light tap with his paw.

Perhaps he is hungry and you might have inadvertently forgotten to refill his food bowl. Or maybe he just wants to eat again.

According to feline behaviorists, cat owners should avoid responding to this behavior as this teaches a feline that he gets what he wants whenever he performs this action.

Instead, stick to your cat’s feeding schedule. Aside from helping him maintain a healthy weight, this will also train him to eat at a fixed schedule.

3. Your cat wants to play.

It is also possible that your cat is swatting you because he wants to play with you. Although cats are often portrayed as solitary creatures, they do crave human attention and affection. 

Exercise and playtime are crucial for the feline mind and body. Apart from keeping your pet fit, exercise and play engage a cat’s mind, providing his instincts an acceptable outlet. When a cat is bored, he is more likely to engage in unacceptable behavior like scratching your furniture.

4. Your cat is claiming you.

Cats use pheromones to stake their claim on objects and places. Some may even attempt to do this on their owners.

Pheromones are chemicals produced by the sweat glands, some of which are found in the paws.

When your cat becomes attached to you, he may swat you in an attempt to leave his scent on you. This is his way of saying that he claims you as his own.

Why do cats slap their humans in the face?

When your cat slaps you in the face, he is not trying to hurt you. More often than not, there is no malice in that action. He is simply trying to get your attention.

Perhaps, your face is simply within his reach. Or maybe, you are asleep and he thinks that giving you a light tap on the face is the best way to wake you up and get your immediate attention.

Why do cats slap their owners as they walk past them?

You are going from one room to another when your pet suddenly gives you a slap, kicks, or bites you. 

These are all signs of pouncing behavior. Usually, this is your cat’s version of good-natured fun. Your pet may be trying to get your attention so that he can play with you. This is normal.

However, you should not encourage this. It might mean that your cat is bored and needs more time to exercise and play. Furthermore, encouraging pouncing behavior can lead to agitation which can harm both of you.

Try to redirect your pet’s pouncing behavior with play and exercise. It is also worthwhile to consult your vet about this behavior might be a symptom of an underlying health problem.

Why do cats slap each other?

You enter the room and then you see your two cats slapping each other. Is there any reason to worry about this?

Cats slap each other for a variety of reasons. It can mean that they are trying to play with another or reinforce their social ranks within your home. But sometimes, slapping is a form of aggression.

When cats swat each other while playing, you will see that there is no aggression. The claws are not drawn out and you will not hear hissing or screeching.

A cat asserting dominance over the other may slap the other pet. While it may seem ideal that your cats share the same social rank, the reality is that one cat will be dominant while the other will be submissive. This is not inherently bad. However, you should not tolerate signs of outright aggression.

It is also possible that your pets are swatting each other during a fight. In this scenario, you will see that the body language of your two cats is markedly different. The ears are pulled back close to the head while their claws are drawn out. You will also hear your cats hissing at each other.

Before matters get out of hand, you need to act fast. But the last thing that you would want to do is get between two fighting cats. Instead, you have to distract them by making a loud noise like clapping your hands. You can also squirt water on the faces of your pets.

More importantly, it is vital to create a peaceful and harmonious environment for your feline companions. There are a variety of ways you can do that, from adding perches to setting multiple feeding stations and buying enough litter boxes for your pets.

Curious cats slap objects

If your cat is slapping an object, he is probably investigating it, especially if it is new to him. His paws are simply the perfect tool for checking new objects.

However, if your cat has made it a habit of knocking objects off tables and shelves, it means that you have a cat that is starved for attention.

Image: istockphoto.com / Nils Jacobi