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Home > Cats > Why Do Cats Slap? 4 Typical Reasons

Why Do Cats Slap? 4 Typical Reasons

cat slap being angry and funny

One of the funniest and most fascinating things cats do is the mysterious “slap”. It’s both hilarious to watch and a little bit concerning—why do cats suddenly take a paw to your hand, shoulder, or even face?

While it can be difficult to pinpoint why your cat is slapping you (after all, they don’t exactly say it out loud), there are some common explanations for why cats do this. Here are four typical reasons why cats slap:


The 4 Reasons Why Cats Slap

1. Your Cat Wants to Play

This may come as a surprise, but cats can’t talk. So, in order to get your attention, your feline friend has to resort to the next best thing: slapping you! As funny as that sounds, there’s actually a lot of truth to it.

Cats are natural hunters, and they love to play. By slapping you with its paw, your cat is actually trying to get your attention so that the two of you can have a fun game of chase!

As a pet owner, it’s important to learn your furry friend’s signals and cues. If you notice that your cat is slapping at you, chances are it’s trying to tell you that it wants to play.

2. Your Cat Wants Attention

As independent as they may seem, cats can be very needy creatures, and they need a lot of affection from their owners. If your kitty feels neglected or ignored, it might try to get your attention by slapping you.

This is especially true if your cat used to get a lot of attention from you, but now they feel like they’re getting the cold shoulder. In this case, it’s important to take the time to give your cat lots of love and cuddle time so that they don’t feel neglected.

manx cat lying on the floor
Image Credit: Seattle Cat Photo, Shutterstock

3. Your Cat Is Stressed

Cats can become stressed out for a variety of reasons, including changes in their environment, the presence of other cats or animals, and even certain noises. When cats are feeling overwhelmed or anxious, they may resort to slapping as an outlet for their emotions.

If you think your cat might be feeling particularly stressed, it’s important to take the time to understand why. Are there any changes in their environment that could be causing distress? Is your cat feeling threatened by another animal or person in the household?

Once you have identified and addressed the underlying cause of your cat’s stress, you can start to work on calming them down through positive reinforcement and relaxation techniques.

4. Your Cat Is Frustrated

Cats can become frustrated for a variety of reasons, including not having access to food or toys, being overwhelmed by too many people in the house, or simply not getting enough exercise and playtime.

In this case, cats may resort to slapping as an outlet for their frustration. It’s important to pay attention to your cat’s cues in order to better understand its behavior. If you think that your cat is becoming frustrated, try offering them a new toy or spending some quality time playing together.

We see the same behavior in everything from dogs to people. Without an outlet for their energy and emotions, cats (and other species) may resort to odd behavior as a way to express themselves.

cat attacking human hand
Image Credit: Vaclav Sonnek, Shutterstock


Tips to Curb Your Cat’s Slapping Behavior

Now that you know some of the most common reasons why cats slap, it’s important to take some steps in order to curb this behavior.

Quality Time and Attention

One of the best things you can do as a cat owner is to give your furball quality time and attention. Spending a few minutes each day playing with your cat, petting them, or just talking to them can make all the difference.

Provide Toys for Exercise

Providing toys like scratching posts and balls of string can help keep cats entertained and give them an outlet for their energy. This can help reduce slapping, as well as other unwanted behaviors.

Establish Boundaries

It’s also important to set boundaries with your cat in terms of what is acceptable behavior. If your cat tries to swat or bite you, calmly say “no” and gently push them away. They may not understand your words, but they will eventually understand that this behavior is not tolerated.

Be Patient

It’s important to remember that cats are creatures of habit, and it can take some time for them to unlearn their slapping behavior. Be patient with your furry friend, and don’t give up! With the correct guidance and training, you can help your cat learn more acceptable ways to interact with you.

With a little bit of patience and understanding, your cat’s slapping behavior won’t have to be an issue for much longer.



Slapping can be a normal behavior for cats, but it’s important to pay attention to the underlying causes in order to better understand your cat’s needs. With the right amount of patience and understanding, you can help your cat learn more acceptable ways to interact with you.

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Featured Image Credit: cctm, Shutterstock

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