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Why Does My Cat Pounce?

You are walking through your house when, all of a sudden, your cat jumps from out of nowhere to pounce on you. If this is a normal occurrence for you, you do not need to worry about your cat’s behavior. Cats typically pounce on their owners as a sign of playfulness, but there are certain situations when your cat pouncing may signal something is wrong. At 5 Points Animal Hospital, our staff not only cares about the physical condition of your pets, but we also are here to help you with your pets’ behavioral problems. We would like to tell you more about why your cat pounces and when you should talk to us about this behavior.

Why does my cat like to pounce on me?

Why Does My Cat Pounce? Image - Nashville TN - 5 points animal hospital

The biggest reason why your cat pounces is for your attention. Pouncing is how cats like to be playful, and they also like to see what kind of reaction you will have. According to Vet Street, your cat has figured out if you will chase after him or her after pouncing, and this interaction can be very rewarding for your cat. Your cat feels like this is his or her best way of getting your attention for playtime.

Is the only reason my cat pounces for playtime and attention?

Sometimes, your cat may pounce on you out of agitation, but the source usually does not have anything to do with you. Your indoor cat may see a neighborhood cat wandering around through the window and become upset because he or she cannot chase this cat. Your cat may redirect his or her aggressive behavior towards you instead. Additionally, your cat may become agitated when you move quickly around the house. If you are still, your cat will stay calm, but as soon as you get up to do something, he or she may start pouncing to show his or her irritation.

When should I talk to 5 Points Animal Hospital about this behavior?

When your cat’s pouncing increases in either frequency or intensity, you should bring your cat in to see us so that we can be sure there is no underlying health issue that could be causing this behavior. If your cat digs his or her claws into you when pouncing, we also recommend that you bring your cat in to see us. We can give you ways to redirect this playfulness with some easy play activities to keep yourself from getting injured by your cat’s claws.

Whenever your cat starts behaving out of the ordinary, it is a sign that there could be something wrong. Contact us at 5 Points Animal Hospital to learn more about cat pouncing and other feline behaviors.

Keeping Cats from Jumping on Places Like Counters and Tables

It’s part of your cat’s inherent nature to seek out elevated vantage points from which to observe their surroundings. Counters, tables and the tops of cabinets are ideal and common places to survey their territory, and they provide adequate protection from enemies (e.g. other pets and the vacuum cleaner). Cats might also be drawn to kitchen counters and dinner tables because they’ve learned that they run a good chance at finding a tasty crumb or two from your most recent meal.

Cat on the Table - Nashville TN - 5 Points Animal

Why should I worry with keeping my cat off the counter?

There are many good reasons why your cat should stay off the counter. Cats spend a fair amount of time each day in their litter box, scratching around and covering up their waste. Although they frequently “wash” their paws with their tongues, it’s likely that some traces of urine and feces will remain on their paws, ultimately to be deposited on your countertops and tabletops in molecular concentrations. This is certainly an unpleasant thought if you’re about to prepare or serve food.

While on your counters and tables, cats may pause to lick the butter or steal nibbles (or whole pieces) of food that you may have left lying around. It can be pretty annoying to come into the kitchen to find that your cooling thick-sliced bacon strips have been dragged to the floor as fodder for your cat. In addition, not everything your cat steals will be good for him or her (some things—like chicken bones—could be out-and-out harmful).

How can I get my cat to stay off the counter without resorting to cruel and unusual punishment?

There are several things you can do to keep your beloved cat where you feel he or she belongs:

  • Make sure your cat has other places to climb, thereby making your counters a little less attractive. A climbing frame stationed near a window may divert some attention from the counters (hanging a bird feeder somewhere outside the same window is a sure-fire way to keep your cat watching for hours).
  • Avoid leaving food items lying around on the counter. Always clean up properly by putting unused food away (a clean counter is a less enticing location for your cat). A cat that finds even the smallest morsel of food on your counter once will seemingly always return to this same location for what might seem like forever.
  • Make the surface uncomfortable for your cat to walk on. This sounds simple enough, right? This can be done by using plastic carpet runners with the points up, or using some double-sided tape (you can attach the tape to a thick plastic sheet cut to the size and shape you want to prevent you from having to stick it directly to the countertop). The end result is a surface that isn’t appealing to your cat.

Regardless of the method(s) you choose to employ, always remember that your cat’s safety is your #1 priority. Always try to provide your cat with plenty of space, including appropriate vertical space for climbing and jumping. Be consistent with your chosen method and give it time. Some cats can take up to three weeks to fully get the message! It can be a tough journey (especially for you), but 5 Points Animal Hospital is always here for you. Please feel free to contact us whenever questions or concerns arise. We’re just a phone call away!

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5 Points Animal Hospital | 1103 Woodland St., Nashville, TN 37206 | Click to Call Us Now