Attacks (Ankle Biting)

Ankle biting and sudden attacks are most often associated with predatory aggression. Cats have a strong natural desire to hunt. Inside the house, there isn't much to satisfy this desire. Mice, grasshoppers and other attractive prey are scarce indoors, so they have to make do with what they have -  ankles and other moving body parts of their human companions.

In some cases it is possible to provide a more appropriate toy to satisfy the predatory urge. Toys that work are furry balls on a string, wand, or attached to a small fishing rod for efficient "casting" and interesting motion as it is reeled in. A radio controlled car may work to exercise cats who are not afraid of them. Some people just tie a toy on a string to their belt to provide a better target then their ankles. This also provides a lot of exercise which is a good release of the pent up energy in many kittens.

Most cats will outgrow this behavior by the time they are a couple of years old and are much better if given alternatives objects to attack and sufficient exercise. If your cat doesn't respond to this, it might be a good idea to consult with a certified animal behaviorist to make sure that predatory behavior is the problem.

Last edited 01/13/08