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11 Reasons Why Do Cats Slap Objects, Pets, Or You

11 Reasons Why Do Cats Slap Objects, Pets, Or You

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You have probably seen many videos or real-life situations where cats slap someone or swat something all of a sudden, without any specific reason. It’s a completely normal cat thing!

Have you actually figured out why do cats slap different things, other cats or pets, or even their owners?

Well, if you want to finally discover the truth behind this mysterious cat behavior, I’m glad that you’re in the right place!

Why Do Cats Slap?

two cats slap each other
Photo from:

Every cat parent, and even most other people, know that cats express their feelings through their body language and different types of behavior. 

Therefore, if you want to know what your kitty is trying to tell you, you should learn how to read their body language, as that can help you a lot in bonding with your cat. The more you understand your feline and help it, the stronger your bond will be.

One of the most fascinating, mysterious (and at the same time annoying) cat behaviors is slapping or swatting. Our main question is why do cats slap things?

Cats may slap for different reasons, it may be out of fun, fear, curiosity, dominance, and many different things that I will talk about later on in the article.

It’s also important to mention that the slap or swat is usually gentle and won’t do you harm. If they slap out of fear or similar, the first slap will often be a warning sign. 

But, if the cat goes out of control then it will use its claws and will have no mercy toward anyone. For further explanation, just keep reading and find out the possible reasons for slapping objects, other cats and pets, and humans!

Why Do Cats Slap Or Paw At Different Objects?

You have probably seen cats slapping or swatting at objects many times. This feline behavior is very confusing as most cat lovers don’t understand what they are trying to say, or what they want. 

At the same time, this behavior is extremely annoying – as though they are doing it on purpose. The more you say NO, the faster they’ll knock that item down!

Finally, it’s time to discover this mystery, so here are the possible reasons for cats slapping or swatting at different objects.

Before checking out the possible reasons, you can enjoy this short video of cats slapping and knocking down different objects, showing us what this behavior looks like!

1. They’re Curious

If you thought that cats knock down objects to annoy you or something similar, well, you’re wrong. We all know that our feline friends are one of the most curious creatures on Earth. 

This is why, when they see a certain object, especially if it’s unfamiliar to them, they will slap it out of curiosity to check what it is and what it does. That is actually the safest way for them to explore a certain object without getting too close to it, thereby keeping themselves safe. 

The cat’s paws are extremely sensitive, which allows them to explore certain things in their environment. Therefore, they slap different objects with their front paws in order to investigate them. 

No matter what you do, your kitty will probably continue slapping that object until it realizes what it is, whether it is alive or just a toy, whether it is dangerous or completely safe to play with. After inspecting, there are a few different options… 

They may continue playing with the object or they may leave it alone, showing no further interest in it.

2. They’re Frustrated Over Something Else

Cats can often be frustrated over something and redirect their aggression toward something else. 

For example, if the cat is chilling by the window and notices a potential prey animal or something interesting, the cat may get frustrated because of its inability to go outside and catch that prey. 

Therefore, it can redirect its attention toward other things in the house. That may be a random decorative object, a cat toy, or anything else in your home. The cat may start slapping those objects as a sign of frustration, or behave as though it were the prey.

3. They’re Scared Or Stressed

black cat with dilated pupils

When a cat slaps or swats an object, it’s possible that they are doing it out of fear or stress. Even though our feline friends are predators in nature and look fierce, they may get frightened or scared for various reasons. 

The most common causes of stress or trauma in cats are unfamiliar objects, new or unknown environments, loud and unfamiliar noises, and similar things. As our cats are creatures of habit, they may easily get frightened by new surroundings. 

Therefore, if you put your cat in a completely new environment, or you reorganize your home, a cat may slap different things out of fear and in order to explore them as they’re not familiar with them. 

If your kitty is slapping at different things out of fear or stress you’ll also be able to notice its pupils dilated, and puffed tail, and it may also hiss or meow a lot and produce some other sounds.

A cat may need some time to adjust to the new environment, but if you help it, it will adjust to it more quickly. Therefore, you should provide your cat with a lot of love and affection to let it know that you’re there and that it’s safe with you. 

You can also try to introduce the cat gradually, room by room, and make sure you provide them with possible hiding spots as this will help them feel much safer in the new environment. This will only be needed during the adjustment period.

4. They’re Scaring Away Potential Prey

Although our cats seem to be the sweetest and nicest creatures, in reality, they’re real predators and have strong hunting instincts, regardless of whether they’re outdoor or indoor cats. Of course, they’re also prey animals.

As cats’ paws and claws serve as their main weapon and defense mechanism; they also use them to slap in order to scare potential prey or to warn their predator. 

Along with slapping behavior, they may also start producing different sounds such as loud meowing, growling, and hissing. This is usually followed by signs of aggression or fear such as dilated pupils, flattened ears, puffed tail, arched hair on their back, and similar.

It’s interesting that most of the time, they succeed in scaring their predators away, which means that even though they’re small, they look very fierce in the eyes of other animals.

READ ALSO: Why Do Cats Make Biscuits? 5 Reasons Your Cat Is Kneading!

Why Do Cats Slap Other Cats Or Pets?

If you have a multi-cat household, you might have noticed one cat slapping other cats and pets. While it’s a normal feline behavior, we may often wonder why they are fighting?

Before I continue with the reasons and explanations, you should know that cats communicate with us and other animals through their behavior and body language. Therefore, each one of their movements has a specific meaning.

Now, check out this video to see what these cat “fights” look like. Keep reading and find out why do cats slap other cats or pets and what it means!

1. A Sign Of Dominance

In a feline company, it is of great importance to know who is in charge, or who is the boss cat. Cats are naturally very territorial animals and often fight for territory, or mark it out.

This behavior is more common in unneutered male cats, but females may also show their dominance. So, if your cat slaps a new kitten or a new cat, it’s just its way of telling the other cat whose territory it is and who is the king/queen there.

Besides slapping, it is also possible that some dominant cats will groom other cats to let them know they’re the main characters of the story, while the other cat may groom back as a sign of respect.

In rare cases, where you have two dominant or territorial cats, these gentle slaps may often result in real catfights. They will keep fighting until one of them gives up. 

However, in that case, it’s important for you to introduce the cats properly, and pay special attention to them so that you can react immediately if necessary. In this case, it’s also important to separate the cats whenever you cannot supervise them.

2. Play Invitation

a british shorthair cat invites another cat to play by slapping it
Photo from: @doublechiis

A cat or kitten slapping another cat or other pet may often be a sign of play invitation. Young cats are almost always playful, and they use their paws to safely ask another cat or pet to play with them. 

This slapping and swatting behavior is often accompanied by pouncing, running, jumping, chasing, or even gentle biting. It’s important to know the signs of aggression in cats in order to tell whether a cat is in a playful mood or not.

So, if your kitty has dilated eyes, flattened ears, a puffed tail, or even claws out, the cat is definitely NOT in the mood. On the contrary, if the claws are sheathed, or your kitty walks and runs funny, it’s definitely in a playful mood.

If you have one cat or kitten only and no other pets, it’s crucial you play with it often. Most cats decrease their activity level when they grow older, but that actually depends on each individual cat. The only important thing is to keep your cat happy and satisfied.

3. A Sign Of Pain And Vulnerability

Most cat owners know that felines will often react aggressively if they’re in pain due to certain health problems, in order to defend themselves from potential threats when they feel vulnerable.

Cats in pain or feeling vulnerable will often be afraid and will show the following signs:

• Hide often

Excessive meowing

• Slap those who approach them

• Dilated pupils

Lethargic and weak

• Loss of appetite

• Low activity level

• Sensitivity to touch, etc.

So, if another cat or pet approaches the cat who’s in pain, it may react aggressively and slap them in order to protect itself. This is normal behavior for a vulnerable cat. 

However, your job is to recognize this behavior and other signs of distress and take the cat to the vet for an examination so that it can receive the necessary help.

CHECK OUT: Why Do Cats Lick Each Other? 4 Main Reasons

Why Do Cats Slap Their Owners?

Okay, I can understand why do cats slap or swat at different objects or other cats and pets. But, why do cats slap their owners, the hand that feeds them? Do they actually hate us or does that act have a specific meaning? 

There are many different questions that come to my mind. But worry not, we’ll figure it out together. First, here’s a short video of cats slapping their owners. Check it out and let me know what you think it means! I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!

Now, let’s continue with reasons and explanations of why do cats slap their owners!

1. A Way Of Telling You – “That’s Enough!”

There are many different cats; some are more affectionate, while others are more independent and prefer enjoying themselves. 

So, one of the reasons why cats slap their owners may be because they’re overstimulated and want to tell you to stop whatever you’re doing.

My friend’s cat is one of those non-affectionate kitties. She doesn’t like to be bothered. If she comes to you, she’ll let you pet her, but once she goes away, don’t approach her. If you do, she will slap you to warn you that she’s had enough and doesn’t need your attention anymore.

When a cat is overstimulated, it will often show signs of aggression along with slapping or swatting, including the following:

• Flattened ears

• Dilated pupils

• Tail swishing

• Hissing

• Unsheathing the claws

If you notice any of these signs, it would be best to leave the cat alone, unless you want it to injure you, but who wants that? If you keep pushing it, that can only damage your bond. Just leave the cat alone and it will come to you again when it’s ready.

Sometimes, kitties may be overstimulated for other reasons such as whisker fatigue. A cat’s whiskers are actually sensors that help them in their everyday lives. 

As they’re very sensitive, if they’re constantly touched that may cause irritation and lead to overstimulation. In that case, you need to find the cause of the overstimulation and fix it, for example, by providing the cat with larger food and water bowls.

2. A Way Of Telling You – “It’s Play Time!”

The cat is playing with the hand of the woman

As previously mentioned, just like young playful cats slap other cats or pets as a sign of play invitation, they may also slap you to play with them.

This behavior is common in single cats who don’t have other company besides their owners. If your kitty wants you to play with it, make sure you fulfill their wish and play with them. 

Playing is a very important act of bonding with your cat, plus you’re keeping your kitty both mentally and physically active.

If you’re not home, make sure you provide your cat with interesting toys or items to keep them entertained while you’re gone. They still need our presence and to interact with us. If you cannot interact with your cat, then why did you adopt it in the first place?

If you keep ignoring your kitty or if you don’t have enough time to play with it, unfortunately, that can only result in unwanted behavioral problems, such as inappropriate urinating and defecating, scratching behavior, and similar issues that are very difficult to fix later on.

Your kitty won’t be young forever, so make sure you play with it whenever it wants, and together you can make beautiful memories!

3. A Way Of Telling You – “It’s Feeding Time!”

I think that every cat parent knows that our felines are the sweetest and most affectionate creatures when they’re hungry! They charm us with their beauty and sweetness to get what they want, and it’s the same when it comes to food.

Sometimes, the cat may slap you with its paw in order to remind you about their meal, and sometimes, they slap you when they want more food. But, you need to be careful in these situations.

A positive response to such cat behavior may only teach them that they’ll always get what they want by slapping, and that should not be the case. 

You should always stick to the regular feeding schedule for many different reasons, such as a cat’s routine, and most importantly, the cat’s health condition.

4. A Way Of Telling You – “Hey, I Want Your Attention!”

Some cats can be real attention queens, and if they don’t get what they want, don’t worry as they’ll do anything to get what they want, even if that means slapping their owner.

So, if your kitty slaps you or tries to reach you, it’s possible that it just wants your attention and a petting session. Such cats will behave in a lovely manner and will probably purr and won’t leave your side.

When cats want you to pay attention to them, they may also do the following things too:

• Rub against you – by doing this they leave their scent on you, which is actually a sign of marking you as their own property.

Meow loudly – if you keep ignoring them, they will probably start meowing loudly so that you will start paying some attention.

Nibble you gently – cats do this to show you attention and love. This behavior derives from kittenhood and it’s actually a way for a mother cat to show love to their kittens. How adorable!!!

Follow you around – they’re craving your attention and won’t leave you alone until they get it.

Vibrating their tails – a sign that they’re interested in interacting with you.

Licking your face – they love you, respect you, and want you to pay more attention to them.

So, if your cat slaps you, no, it doesn’t hate you. Quite the contrary, your kitty loves you and is asking you for more attention. It’s a bit of an unusual way of showing someone your love, but it looks like our feline friends can do whatever they want!

READ ALSO: Why Do Cats Attack Pregnant Women? 9 Possible Reasons

Tips For Reducing Slapping In Feline Behavior

Girl playing with her cat

Now that we know why do cats slap, the question that follows is – how to stop cats from slapping or swatting?

Well, at the beginning of this article, I mentioned that this slapping and swatting behavior is completely natural and normal for our feline friends. That means that we cannot stop them from doing it, no matter what we do.

But, worry not, as I won’t leave you without a possible solution. This behavior cannot be stopped but it can be controlled and reduced. Here are some tips for reducing this slapping behavior:

• Take your cat to the vet – cats may slap other pets or humans when they’re in pain because they feel vulnerable and want to protect themselves. Therefore, if you notice this behavior along with some other symptoms of a sick or injured cat, it would be best to take it to the vet. They will examine the cat and treat it according to the underlying cause.

• Ignore the cat – if your kitty is slapping you to get you to feed them more or something, simply ignore them and let them know that they cannot always get what they want. However, if your cat slaps you as a sign of play invitation, then you shouldn’t ignore it!

• Play with your cat – playing with your cat is very important in keeping your kitty mentally and physically active. Additionally, by playing with your cat often, you’re making your bond stronger. Frequent play sessions and cat entertaining items will keep the cat satisfied and it probably won’t slap you so often.

• Learn how to read a cat’s body language – if you want to reduce slapping or swatting behavior, the key to success is to learn how to read their body language. That way, you can easily conclude whether your kitty is aggressive and not in a mood, or it’s hungry, affectionate, sick, and similar. It’s crucial to know the symptoms or signs of each cat issue so that you can easily understand what they want or need.

• Secure the environment – if your kitty often slaps and swats different objects in your home, make sure you secure the environment in order to protect the cat from possible injuries. 

Therefore, make sure you keep objects away from the edges surfaces, especially those where your kitty likes to rest. Of course, you can keep your decorations and similar things, but just ensure that they’re safe for your cat and that it cannot break them and injure itself.

Last Words

I hope that you enjoyed reading this article and that it helped you understand – why do cats slap different objects, cats, and other pets, including their owners.

Cats’ paws are very sensitive but have many different purposes. They use them to explore or detect a certain thing or object. They also use them as a defense mechanism or to warn someone. They may use them when they need something, or for grooming, and many other things.

As well as this, cats sometimes use their paws to slap someone or something, but luckily, their claws remain sheathed, meaning they won’t injure you, at least not the first time.

Understanding why do cats slap is of great importance, because that way you can easily help your kitty, find out how it feels or what it wants or needs.I hope that, from now on, you’ll be able to understand your cat’s behavior and body language and that your bond will grow even stronger!