Look, it’s no secret that cats are…a little “different” than dogs, especially when it comes to their social behavior.
On the one hand, you have dogs that are almost over the top with signs of loyalty and affection.
You see that little tail wagging, they run right over to you to say hello, and when you have to raise your voice to correct them you can actually see them sleep their heads down and feel ashamed and embarrassed.
At the other end of the spectrum, you have cats.
Super independent, super aloof, and almost disdainful of most humans – most of the time – it is pretty rare to get your hands on a cat that is overly affectionate the way that a dog is on a 24/7 basis.
Of course, a lot of cat owners really create bonds with their furry little family members. They have cats that love them, that love to play, and that love to cozy up with them and purr like a jet engine.
It’s not hard to fall head over heels in love with cats and kittens that act like that.
But then you have cats that love to bite, that love to scratch, and that love to “pounce” whenever they get the chance. Sometimes it feels like they pick on someone in the house more than anybody else while leaving everyone else alone.
Sometimes that’s you.
But is that what’s really happening?
Is your cat really playing favorites?
Is there a reason why your cat loves to bite and pounce on you while leaving everyone else alone?
Let’s find out!
What Does My Cat Attack Me and Not My Partner?
Right out of the gate is important to share with you the fact that cats (like dogs and people) definitely have social attitudes about them.
As we highlighted above, some cats are a little more friendly than others. Some of them pick “favorites” when it comes to their humans as well. And, no matter how hard you love that furry little family member they might not pick you over someone else.
For a lot of folks that can be tough to swallow. Especially when it’s their “favorite” cat that’s picking someone else over them.
But that’s just the nature of these fuzzy little beasts.
They really do pick favorites, sometimes for absolutely no discernible reason whatsoever and other times simply because someone spends a little more time with them, someone feeds them, or someone gives them the attention they demand when they demand it.
How to “Read” Cat Bites
Usually, a cat will only go down this road if they are dealing with stress or anxiety, are fearful, are feeling particularly territorial at that point in time, or are dealing with a handful of other issues.
Let’s take a little deeper into why cats bite their humans in the first place so that you can better understand what just happened and how to avoid it moving forward.
Your cat was afraid
Far and away the most common reason that a cat will bite a human being, especially someone that they love and someone that loves them, fear is the main motivator behind this kind of behavior.
The root cause of almost cat aggression (outside of the mating season, anyway) cats is always on the lookout for a potential threat. They have their ears up, their eyes peeled, and are constantly scanning their surroundings to make sure that they are safe.
As soon as they start to feel unsafe – they are in a new location they don’t know, they feel cornered or boxed in, they aren’t well (injured or dealing with an illness), etc. – they will likely lash out to try and neutralize are the very least scare away the threat ASAP.
Your cat is territorial
Even though cats are stereotypically portrayed as aloof and uninterested (or at least appear that way to most of us), the reality is these animals are highly territorial.
Both male and female cats get pretty territorial, reverting back to their wild instincts that really aren’t all that far off from their ancient ancestors (lions and tigers).
Whenever a feline starts to feel as though their territory is being encroached upon they are going to defend their space. This usually means pouncing on an intruder, biting an intruder, or hissing at an intruder. Generally just letting them know straight away that they don’t belong where they are right now.
Most people when they hear that cats are territorial assume that they are only territorial when it comes to other cats.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Territorial aggression can pop up when your cat is sharing living space with other cats, with other dogs, or with all kinds of other animals – including you. They might not feel like you belong in “their space” at any one particular point in time and that’s when they will attack.
Your cat is feeling playful
At the end of the day, though, the overwhelming majority of cat “attacks” on one person specifically boils down to that cat wanting to play with that person.
Cats play pretty rough with one another even when they are young kittens. They are going to keep this kind of behavior when they are socialized adults. The odds are good that if they bounce out from a hiding spot, grab you quickly, or even just give you a little bite before running off that they just want you to chase and play with them.
These animals are known to show “play aggression” all the time when they want to engage with someone that they like and someone that they love.
It’s important to be able to read this kind of phony aggression, though. If you mix it up with real aggression and respond in kind you’re not only going to break their little heart because you don’t want to play with them (or so they think) but you’re also going to negatively impact the relationship you to have with one another from here on out.
As a general rule, if your cat “attacks” but it doesn’t really feel like a full-blown attack or like there’s any aggression behind it the odds are good they are just having a bit of fun with you.
This is especially true if you are the “usual victim” of this kind of playful behavior and are the person that feeds them, cuddles with them, and that they feel most comfortable with.
At the end of the day, it’s important that you try your level best to understand your cat on the level that they are communicating on.
The best thing about cats is that they are such wonderful communicators. They do not naturally meow at one another but definitely do when they want to “talk” to their people.
The same is true when they playfully attack someone that they love and someone that they want to play with.
Obviously, contextual clues will let you know if your cat is suffering from an injury or illness that needs to be addressed or they are feeling particularly aggressive for territorial. Be on the lookout for those kinds of attacks, too.
Most of the time, though, “getting jumped” by your cat isn’t a bad thing – especially if they are singling you out. It usually means they want to play with you more than anybody else!