Sometimes my cat will be content and purring when I’m petting him, and then suddenly his tail will start to twitch and he’ll start to bite my hands. He also loves to jump out and attack my feet when I’m walking by. Why does he get carried away and attack me?
Strange as it may seem, your cat is not attacking you out of hostility, but because he is a perfectly normal cat. Many cats nip and bite when they’re happy, particularly if they have a low threshold for stimulation. You can learn the warning signs of when your cat’s becoming overstimulated: you might feel his muscles tense or see his tail twitch or his rear end waggle. If you can tell he’s about to bite, stop petting, and pet him again when he’s calmed down.
If your cat is stalking your feet, he’s engaging in what is called predatory-play behavior. He has a natural instinct to attack moving objects in the wild. Indoors, your feet are the only moving prey he has to ambush. The easiest way to prevent this behavior is by making sure your cat is neutered, which is the first step toward making him less aggressive.
Second, you can give him plenty of non-human moving targets to play with by trailing a string across the floor, waving feather toys, or giving him balls to bat around. Finally, you can help change his behavior by consistently discouraging his attacks. Safe and effective ways to do this are spraying him with a water bottle or using a can of compressed air--just like the ones used on computer keyboard--to make a loud hissing sound. If you are vigilant and discourage the attacks consistently, you’ll take a big step toward changing your cat’s behavior.