My kitty, ("Prince") REILLY, who is 8 is treated like royalty: loved, groomed, continuously gets things like furry beds and toys. We play with him and make his life interesting in the country (watching chickens, walks in a cat buggy, and much more). I feed him, give him treats, clean his kitty litter. But he seems to love my husband more. He will spontaneously run up and bite my leg or hold on to my hand as if it were something he preyed upon. I do have a water sprayer now and that gets him off of me, but it doesn't seem to teach him. I put him in a room for time out. HELP. We love him. He can be funny and sweet. But I can't figure out how why he attacks me some of the time.
Actually, these ARE signs the cat loves you. Biting your leg and grabbing your hand is the cat trying to play with you. If you're a particular target, it's because the cat has decided you are the fun one, for whatever reason. It just doesn't know how to play with you the right way.
Get it kicker toys.
In particular, the cat is trying to play wrestle with you, so you should get it "kicker" cat toys, which are good for wrestling with. These are stuffed toys, sometimes just a stuffed tube, other times they're shaped like fish or something like that. Or maybe even a regular plush toy will do. It should be of a size that the cat can wrap its arms around it and kick it with its hind legs at the same time.
Rather than negative reinforcement, redirect it.
You've probably noticed a specific type of body language when it's about to bite. The cat might start getting noticeably more energetic and hyper, or more alert, for instance. When you start noticing that attitude, gently toss the kicker toy at the cat. Hopefully the cat will wrestle the toy, and take out its energy that way.
Play with it strategically.
Pay attention to patterns in your cat's behavior, and then preemptively play with it accordingly. For example, cats often get hyper around mealtimes, so play before mealtimes is usually a good idea. Or, as another example, my cat tends to get hyper and tries to wrestle our legs when we make food in the kitchen, and having someone distract it with play while the other person cooks really seems to help.
A playmate might help.
Another possible solution is to get your cat a cat playmate, so it can have someone it really can wrestle with. Of course this comes with a big caveat that there is no guarantee another cat will actually want to play wrestle with your cat, and any time you introduce a new cat to the household always has the possibility of creating more problems, so it is a decision that should be considered very carefully first.