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Why Does My Cat Attack Me & No One Else? 7 Reasons & What to Do

Written by: Kristin Hitchcock

Last Updated on May 13, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

kittens training

Why Does My Cat Attack Me & No One Else? 7 Reasons & What to Do

There are several reasons why your cat may choose to attack you and no one else. Usually, they have to do with fear or anxiety that your cat only feels towards you for whatever reason. Even if you don’t think you’ve done anything to upset your cat specifically, felines can interpret many of our normal behaviors as threatening.

Cats that are otherwise affectionate can be suddenly scared by something, which can cause them to lash out due to fear. It isn’t that the cat is being aggressive; they’re simply trying to protect themselves from something they are scared of.

Luckily, cat scratches and bites aren’t particularly dangerous. They can be quite painful, however, so most pet owners would like to avoid it. With the right approach, you can eliminate this problematic behavior.

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The 7 Main Reasons Your Cat Only Attacks You

There are many reasons why your cat may decide to attack you and no one else. Often, this has nothing to do with your cat being aggressive. Instead, they’re fearful or have some sort of neurological problem. We’ll take a look at all the possible reasons in this section.

1. You Spend the Most Time with the Cat

If you spend the most time with the feline and do most of the care, you’ll likely find yourself being attacked more often than other people. While your cat scratching you is never okay, if your cat attacks someone, it’s more likely to be you if you spend all your time with them.

This is particularly true if you commonly do things your cat doesn’t like, such as grooming. If you always do the grooming, and your cat always becomes aggressive while grooming, you’ll probably get attacked more than anyone else in your household.

cat sleeping in owner's arms
Image Credit: Impact Photography, Shutterstock

2. Attention

Some cats lash out for attention. It is like the age-old saying, “Any attention is good attention.” If you show your cat attention when they attack you, even bad attention, they may keep attacking you when they want attention.

Of course, this tends to be counter-productive since it may make you spend less time with your feline. However, your cat doesn’t understand that. They get attention at the moment, and that’s all that matters.


3. Odors

Some odors can make your cat aggressive and scared. If you smell different from the rest of your family, it could be why your cat seems to single you out. For instance, if you work with animals, your cat is likely to smell them on you when you come home, which may prompt them to become fearful.

This can also happen if you work with aromatic items, even if it isn’t necessarily animals. If you work with perfumes, cleaning products, paints, or other building materials, the smell can overwhelm your cat’s senses and cause them to become aggressive.

owner petting a hissing angry tabby cat
Image Credit: Anna Kraynova, Shutterstock

4. You May Pet Her Wrong

We know it sounds strange, but your cat may not like the way you pet her. Some cats are very particular about how they are petted. This is especially true if they have old injuries, which may be painful when you touch them a certain way.

Take note if you pet your cat differently from anyone else in your home. Your feline may just not like the way you pet them.


5. Overstimulation

Sometimes, when petting our cats, we overstimulate them. This can cause them to become defensive and strike out. It is especially true if you pet your feline from the top of their head to the bottom of their tail. The full-body motion can be overstimulating to some cats.

a tabby cat biting owner's hand
Image Credit: Alie04, Shutterstock

6. You’re Invading Her Space

Instead of feeling loved, your feline may feel threatened if you commonly invade her space. If your cat seems to attack you most often when you approach her, this is a likely cause. Be sure you approach your cat correctly. Or, you may want to avoid her altogether unless she approaches you first.


7. Fear

Sometimes, your cat may interpret something you do as scary. From that point on, they may be a bit uneasy around you until you rebuild that trust. It may not even be something particularly scary in your book. You may have dropped an object near your kitty, and the loud noise may have scared them.

Or, you may have walked into a room unexpectedly and startled your feline. Either way, your cat doesn’t put “accidental scares” in a different category from any other scares.

angry cat hissing
Image Credit: Fang_Y_M , Pixabay

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How to Prevent Cat Attacks

The first step to preventing cat attacks is to determine the cause. Different causes will have different preventative steps. We’ll go over all of these preventative steps in this article, as that you can hopefully get scratched by your cat less often.

1. Ensure Your Home is Secure & Comfortable

Any problem is likely to become worse with stress. If you work with animals, your cat is more likely to react negatively to the smell if they’re stressed out, for instance. For this reason, you should ensure that your home is as calm and secure as possible. Things we don’t find stressful can be very stressful to our felines.

Obviously, other cats in the home can stress out your feline, as can a change in routine or space. Often, you can’t get around these changes. However, you can ensure that your cat has plenty of places to hide and plenty of downtime.

a tabby cat lying on a woman's chest
Image Credit: Alek B, Pixabay

2. Bring Down Your Energy

If you’re usually a high-energy person, bring things down a few notches when interacting with your cats. Don’t be unnecessarily loud or make lots of big hand movements, which can scare your cat.

A scared cat is likely to act out by scratching or biting. It isn’t that your feline is being aggressive. They’re just trying to protect themselves from what they perceive as threats from you.


3. Increase Playtime

Often, a worn-out cat is much happier than one brimming with energy. Ensure that your feline has plenty of time to exercise. You can leave several toys around the house, which can help ensure that your feline plays throughout the day.

The best time to play with your cat is right before bedtime since it can ensure they’re worn out before bed. If you don’t want your cat running around after bedtime, wearing them out can help them settle down for the night.


4. Don’t Punish Your Cats

Punishing your cats can make them even more fearful of you, which can cause them to scratch and bite even more. Often, punishment doesn’t fix the source of the problem and can make everything worse. For this reason, we don’t recommend punishment under any circumstances.


5. Visit the Vet

You may consider taking your cat to the vet if they suddenly become aggressive. Sudden behavioral changes can be a sign that your feline is sick. Cats are usually fairly good at hiding their illnesses.

Therefore, you usually won’t have too many hints that your cat isn’t feeling right. If you notice anything off about your feline, you may not get many signs that your cat is sick. The vet can rule out any possible illnesses that may be causing your cat’s sudden defensiveness.

vet holding burma cat
Image Credit: Elpisterra, Shutterstock

6. Take a Shower

If you work with other animals or smelly things, take a shower before you interact with your cat. She may not like the smell and likely doesn’t appreciate you rubbing it on her when you pet her. Even if you don’t think you work with anything smelly, your cat may not like the overwhelming smell of your workplace, which may cause her to lash out and attack you.


7. Let Them Come to You

Some cats are relatively sensitive owners encroaching on their space. This is especially true if they’re anxious and trying to hide. If you interrupt your cat while they’re trying to calm down, they may lash out by scratching you.

Instead, let your cat come to you. If you want to pet them, call them and see if they come instead of invading their personal space.

young man rubbing cats ears
Image Credit: Kristi Blokhin, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

Being scratched by your cat is never fun. There are several reasons why your cat may attack you. Usually, it is the result of anxiety or fear, which causes your cat to attempt to defend themselves, even if that means scratching you.

Luckily, there are several ways you can counteract the problem. Helping your cat stay calm and avoid unnecessary stress can prevent future attacks.

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Featured Image: Anatoliy Cherkas, Shutterstock

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