I occasionally stretch by putting my arms straight over my head, and then lowering them to horizontal. I end up in a position like this:

arms held straight out to sides

Every time I do this around my cat, she runs over and stares intently at my arms, waits for me to lower them, and then jumps up and tries to bite them. It doesn't matter if I move quickly or slowly (she'll wait).

I have figured out she won't pounce if I keep my arms tucked at the elbows and closer to my body, instead of straight out from my sides.

I don't get it! Do I look like something to hunt when I do that? Any ideas why that particular movement triggers a response?

  • 2
    Cats have strange brains, and humans have strange brains, so when you put them together in this way you get some strange results. Sorry, that's as much an explanation as I've got.
    – Harry V.
    Apr 14, 2017 at 20:31

3 Answers 3


I believe this is a learned behaviour. Somebody might have waved their hand and hit the cat by accident. This might trigger the cat to defend itself. Cats do have an impressive memory, so this might have been when it was a kitten.

It is very hard to unlearn this behaviour in cats.

I had a cat that went into kill mode if anybody pointed at him, no matter how far away they were.


She might just have the idea that it's the most exciting thing to do for some reason but you could train her to stop by showing her it isn't fun, in other words either tell her ''No'' if she is used to it, or just don't play along and ignore her. You should move your hand away and then ignore her she should understand after some time. And if you really don't want that to happen ever again then don't ever play with her with your hand. People say you should throw out a little (not so loud) scream and then ignore her. I hope you take my advice Thank you


How often do you play with your cat? It sounds to me like this is just play aggression. My cat will sometimes do the same thing with my legs when I'm walking. To prevent it, play with her more often.

  • This is probably the case, she does do the leg thing a lot :) This particular behavior was weird to me because it seems to put her in "attack mode", instead of only happening when she's already active. I've been more conscious lately about playing with her when she starts "acting up" (as opposed to getting frustrated she's biting me), which has helped in general.
    – user812786
    Apr 17, 2017 at 11:32

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