Cats are strange animals. As cat parents, we know and accept this behavior in our furry felines. Your cat loves to run through the house in the middle of the night, stare at you without blinking, and sleep in weird-looking positions that can’t be comfortable.
Another behavior cat owners wonder about is their cat’s obsession with their feet. They attack your feet from under the bed when they’re under the covers at night and even when you’re just walking down the hall.
When you’re sitting still, they sniff your feet, sometimes lick them, and seem fascinated with them. From marking their territory to showing they love you, there are a few reasons cats like feet, and we’ll discuss them below.
The 6 Possible Reasons Why Your Cat Likes Your Feet
1. They Are Hunting
Your feet may look like prey to your feline pal. As you know, cats are natural hunters, which means they are attracted to anything that moves, such as your wiggling toes. Your cat attacking your wiggling toes or moving feet isn’t a sign of aggression. Instead, it’s more about their prey drive, which tells them they are something to hunt.
However, if you can’t walk down your hall or wiggle your toes in bed at night without your cat attacking, you might need to use cat toys that distract from your feet and give your pet more mental and physical stimulation.
2. They Want Attention
Your cat may be licking or biting your feet because it wants attention. The cat knows it’ll get a reaction out of you by doing this, even if it’s not the exact reaction the cat is looking for. The cat could be trying to tell you anything from wanting to play to wanting you to fill up their food and water dishes.
If your cat wants attention, it’s best to give it to them if you want the foot attacks to stop.
3. Human Pheromones
If you’ve been out and about all day and your cat is all over your feet when you return, it’s because your feet release pheromones that are concentrated heavily on everything from your shoes to your socks.
Cats have scent glands in their cheeks, so if they rub up against your feet when you come in, it could be because they are marking you with their scent. They also rub against your feet because they recognize your pheromones and are back home where you belong.
4. Because They Love You
Your cat loves you, and rubbing against your feet or even licking them is a sign of affection. Think of it as the cat’s way of saying they love you. Your cat could even be sleeping at your feet at night because they feel protected and safe there since they trust and love you.
5. They Like the Taste of Your Feet
Cats like the salt on people’s feet, so licking your feet could mean that your pet likes how you taste. If the cat licks your feet more when you’ve just taken off your shoes, that could be why. It won’t try to eat you, so don’t worry; it just likes the taste.
6. They Are Anxious or Stressed
Your cat could also be anxious or stressed about something. Changes in the cat’s environment and other stressors can lead to compulsive licking. Cats release endorphins when they lick, so if your cat is constantly licking your feet, you need to find out what has upset it.
Cats are creatures of habit, so anything unexpected could make your cat anxious or stressed. Attacking or licking your feet could be the cat’s way of letting you know something is wrong and that they need you to fix it, so don’t ignore its demands.
How to Stop a Cat from Messing with Your Feet
While a cat licking your feet can be aggravating, a cat constantly attacking your feet can be annoying. You can ignore the cat when it strikes your feet, which means it could get bored and stop.
Another thing you can do is distract your cat from messing with your feet by giving it a toy or treat. If that doesn’t work, you can hide your feet under the covers, or wear socks and bedroom slippers, so hopefully, the behavior will stop.
If the behavior continues, especially if it’s compulsive licking, you need to get to the root of the problem, so it might be best to make an appointment with your vet in case there’s an underlying problem.
Cats are curious creatures that do things cat parents can’t ever hope to understand. While there are quite a few reasons cats like feet so much, we can never be sure why a cat licks, attacks, or nibbles on its owner’s feet.
If your cat’s behavior is becoming compulsive, try the tips above to get it to stop. However, if the behavior worsens, it could be time to get help from a professional. Other than that, remember, in most cases, your cat plays with your feet because it loves you and wants you to know it.
Featured Image Credit: Svetlana Rey, Shutterstock