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You are watching: Why do cats kick with their back legs

My cat, Mazel, is just about the sweetest tiny smushed-faced angel. Us spend lot of ours time snuggling, stop paws, and also sometimes he also licks me.

That being said, even throughout the most tender moments, there space times once it appears as despite a switch has been flipped.

In the middle of providing me kisses, he"ll unexpectedly wrap his body approximately my hand and also use his earlier legs to try to revolve my wrist into skin confetti.

Mazel"s kicking behavior doesn"t appear to be coming from a location of fear. What specifically is happening to make my tiny fuzzy pants go from tender to the Terminator in the blink of one eye?

I turned to Dr. Susan Krebsbach, a veterinarian with behavioral expertise, to get some answers and also sent she the following footage of Mazel"s kicking behavior.

This certain incident was on my leg and also I eliminated the audio due to the fact that this is a family-friendly site

What is a “Bunny Kick”?

"Bunny kicking is as soon as a cat rolls onto their ago or side, wraps their front foot around things (e.g., a toy, an additional cat, her arm…) and also then starts kicking in ~ it v their hind legs, usually v a vengeance,” defines Dr. Susan.

Why perform Cats bunny Kick?

“Bunny kicking is an aggressive move,” says Dr. Susan. “It is both a self-defense move and also a hunting maneuver. When a cat is lying on their back, or thrown onto their back in battle, their fragile abdomen is exposed (which is the only component of the body the is not protected by bones). So, come guard your innards, lock grab the ‘attacker’ and ward them turn off was powerful thrusts that their rear legs.”

“This same activity may additionally be offensively aggressive, together seen when cats record their prey. The does not always result in the prey being killed however a prelude come the ‘play’ that adheres to with the cat tossing lock around.”

Is it okay to Let mine Cat Bunny kick Me?

"The short answer is "No." even in play, bunny kicking is an aggressive solution that you execute not want to promote with your cat." Dr. Susan adds, "Though her cat might not median to injury you and is just engaging in aggressive play, the damages their claws can cause your hands, arms, feet, or legs deserve to be severe.

"So, if your cat starts to "wrestle" with among your limbs, redirect their bunny kicking play to a cat toy instead. And also the following time your cat plops on their back, seemingly to invite a ship rub, refrain from doing so if over there is a history of grabbing your hand or Thumper-like moves."

Dr. Susan Krebsbach is the owner and also founder of biology Counseling and also has been helping animals and their human beings prevent and resolve behavior issues.

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Give her Cat Something rather to pat With

To save your kitties entertained and allow them to usage their food drive, here are some ideas for cat enrichment the don"t involve beating girlfriend up. I would additionally highly suggest a toy choose the one viewed below, which Mazel gained as a vacation gift. He is pretty lot obsessed with it and, as you can see in the video, it enables him to gain lots the bunny-kicking practice throughout the job (and native what I have the right to hear, in ~ night as well).