Why Cats Swat

By bzp00343 Aug 11, 2016
Why Cats Swat
To all cat owners out there, I’d like to pose a question. When your cat swats, do you find it to be a very gentle swat?
When it comes to a cat “swat”, most people probably think of an act of aggression with claws flared.

On YouTube, videos of cats displaying “super-sonic swatting” seem to be particularly popular.

In my experience, however, a cat swat elicits no pain. A swat with claws extended is a rare occurrence. In fact, on the contrary, the touch of the paw pads is quite pleasing.♡
Could it be that a cat swat is an expression of love? Let me tell you about what a cat is feeling when gives a swat.

☆Look at me! (Wanting to be indulged or making a request)

The swat I receive every morning is my cat’s way of saying, “It’s morning. Hurry up and make me some breakfast.” His claws are retracted and it is more of a gentle pressing on my head. (This does not pose a problem if I wake up at this point, but if I ignore him and continue to sleep, then the claws gradually come out and the slap becomes more of a punch.)

Another time I will receive a swat is when I am working at my computer. He will come up beside me and tap me on the head. I get the feeling he is saying, “Won’t you please look at me-ow!” 


☆What’s this? (Showing interest or being inquisitive, playful)

When do cats use their rapid-fire swatting? That has to be when they are playing with a cat toy. It’s easy for us to imagine them pouncing on and swatting a cat toy.

Cats will also repeatedly swat things that they’ve never seen before. They will swat their reflection in the mirror or nervously unleash their rapid-fire swatting upon an unfamiliar intruder in their territory.

I get the feeling that cats will swat things when they are curious about something or unfamiliar with it.


☆Full-fledged fighting (anger, panic or fear)

I don’t see it very often, but when cats are in serious fighting mode, they will lash out at each other with their claws fully extended.

Sometimes swats will be dispensed when a cat is being taken to the vet, when it disagrees with the way it is being handled or if it is touched when feeling ill or in pain. They will also deal out serious, repetitive punches when angry or scared. 

So what do you think about cat swats being an indication of what it is thinking? Cats and humans do not share the same verbal language, but we probably all agree that we can read each other’s thoughts through our behaviors.

Swats are not only used for fighting. They are also used to “love punch” particularly their owners. (Well, maybe that’s what I’d like to believe anyway.)
If “cat swats are an expression of love”, a little bit of pain can be dismissed with laughter… Or maybe that’s just me?


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