If your cat often ambushes you, this post will show you likely causes and what you can do about them.
So, why does my cat ambush me? Likely reasons why your cat ambushes you are that you move around like prey, it naturally has a lot of energy at certain parts of the day, or that it wants attention.
There are a number of possible reasons why your cat ambushes you and it could be due to a combination of reasons. However, there are some things you can consider when figuring out the main cause and there are some things you can do about it.
Reasons why your cat ambushes you
Below are likely reasons why your cat has been doing it and what would make them more likely.
You move around like prey
The reason why your cat does it might be that it thinks you are moving around like prey would. This would be more likely if your cat does it when you are moving your feet around such as when you are in bed, walking or when you are sitting and moving your feet around. I have written more about your cat attacking your feet here.
Cats tend to have a lot more energy in the late evening and early morning because this is when their ancestors would have been hunting their prey. If your cat has been doing it at these times, the cause could be that it is full of energy. In this case, it could help to give it things to play with instead.
It is just playing
It is also likely to be the cause that it is playing when it ambushes you. This would be more likely if it also does things such as roll around and run around when it does it.
It wants attention
Another possible cause is that it is trying to get attention from you. If you tend to give your cat more attention, when it ambushes you, it will likely do it more in order to get more attention. Instead, it could help to give it attention throughout the day but to avoid rewarding it with attention when it does ambush you.
It wants you to give it something
A part of the cause could also be that your cat is trying to get you to give it something. This would be more likely if it does it more at a certain time such as in the morning before you have fed it.
Things to consider
Below are some things you can consider to help figure out the main cause.
If your cat has always pounced on you
If your cat did not always ambush you, it would help to consider if anything else changed when it first started doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it could be due to things such as if you stopped giving it as much attention or if you started wearing slippers that your cat likes to chase.
What is different when your cat does not ambush you
If there is a certain time that your cat tends to do it, it would also help to consider what is different about the timing. For example, if it tends to do it in the morning, the cause could be that it is hungry and telling you to feed it. Whereas, if it does it when you arrive home, it could be the case that it wants attention.
What to do about your cat ambushing you
Below are some things you can do about it.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it could be the case that your cat has learned that the behavior is rewarded. Instead, it would help to reward your cat when it behaves the way you want it to and to avoid rewarding it when it does not.
Give it distractions
It would also help to give your cat things it can be distracted by so that it is less likely to want to ambush you. Things you could give it would include toys and a scratch post.
Let it do it
If the behavior does not bother you much, another option would be to let your cat continue doing it but to try to redirect its focus whenever it seems likely to do it.