Are you scratching your head and asking yourself, “Why do cats like feet?”

Don’t worry, you’re not the only cat owner baffled by their cat’s strange obsession with human feet. 

Fortunately, I’m here to reveal the secret behind this cute cat’s behavior.

Just keep reading. 

5 Signs Your Cat Is Obsessed with Feet

orange cat sleeping at the feet of his owners

Before delving into the mystery of why cats love feet, let’s talk about the “warning” signs your cat is obsessed with your legs. 

After all, it’s not always easy to understand what’s going through a cat’s mind, and you can easily misunderstand your kitty’s body language.

So, how can you tell that your cat is obsessed with your feet? Here are five clear signs! 

#1 Licking

Many cats like to lick their owner’s hair, hands, or toes. But if your cat spends a large amount of time licking your foot, your kitty might have a foot fetish. 

#2 Biting

Cat bites are another sign that your cat is obsessed with you, especially if your kitty likes to gnaw on your toes at every opportunity. 

#3 Sniffing

Is your cat trying to smell your toes the moment you take your shoes off? Then it’s evident that your cat has an obsession.

#4 Attacking

One of my cats always tries to attack my toes when I’m tossing and turning in bed at night, while another likes to ambush my ankles from behind the sofa. 

#5 Rubbing 

Does your cat love snuggling on your feet at night or rubbing against your legs at every opportunity? Then your kitty has a slight obsession.  

7 Common Reasons Why Cats are obsessed with feet

Cats are strange animals – they love to sleep in uncomfortable positions, go crazy in the middle of the night, and stare at you without blinking. 

cat lying on the lady's feet with socks

But why do cats like feet so much? Many cats are obsessed with feet because they want to show affection, gather information, mark territory, or ask for something.

So, let’s talk in detail about all these reasons why your cat is obsessed with your feet.  

#1 I love you

As cat experts say, “Cats are much more subtle in showing their love, though that does not mean that the shared bond between cats and humans is any less than with dogs.” (1)

So, some cats are obsessed with feet or your body because they are trying to express their deep feelings for you.

And why do cats sleep at your feet in bed? They love you enough to be vulnerable around you and count on you to protect them during the night. 

#2 I’m Trying to Attract Your Attention

“Why does my cat bite my feet?”

Your legs are the most accessible body part for a small animal like your cat, especially when your kitty is trying to attract your attention. 

After all, nothing screams “Pay attention to me” better than biting your toes in the middle of the night or when you’re taking too long to prepare the food. 

#3 I’m Gathering Information

Do you know how strong your cat’s sense of smell is? Cats have up to 200 million scent receptors in their nose, while humans have only five million.

Moreover, cats have a special Jacobson organ. As vets explain, “Jacobson’s receptors pick up chemical substances that have no odor at all.” (2)

Your feline can detect even the slightest trace of scent from your sweat glands to understand where you have been, what you have been doing, and who you have met.

So, whenever your cat is sniffing your feet, your feline friend is gathering information.

If the smell is particularly interesting or unknown, your cat will pull back with an open mouth to “analyze,” just like in this video.

It’s not a sign of disgust but a way for cats to analyze the unfamiliar smells.

#4 I Like the Smell of Feet 

Humans have about  250,000 sweat glands in the feet, producing up to half a pint of sweat. (3) And you know how intense is the smell after a whole day of walking.

Some cats like their owner’s scent and feel relaxed and safe when they can smell you, just like in this video.

So, it’s no wonder that some cats are obsessed with feet when they seek reassurance and security.

#5 I’m Marking You

Do you know that cats have scent glands in their cheeks? So, whenever your cat is rubbing against your feet and acting cute, it’s actually marking you with its scent to warn other cats away.

Moreover, your feet pick up a lot of unfamiliar smells from the ground while you’re walking. Your cat doesn’t like it when you smell like other animals.

So, rubbing all over your feet ensures you smell the right way.

#6 You Tasty Delicious

Many cat owners wonder, “why does my cat lick my toes?”

Well, some cats lick your toes and ankles all the time because you taste delicious. Just check this video if you don’t believe me.

Human skin has a slightly salty taste, irresistible to some felines. And some creams and lotions you use on your feet contain ingredients cats like.

#7 I’m Hunting

Why does my cat attack my feet when I walk? I’ve heard this question more often than you can imagine. And the answer has everything to do with your kitty’s hunting instinct.

Cats are attracted by moving targets, so your wiggling toes are an excellent target whenever your kitty is in a playful mood.

So, in most cases, these attacks aren’t signs of aggression in cats, but they show that your kitty needs more physical stimulation.

READ MORE: Why do cats sleep at the foot of the bed?

How to Stop a Cat From Attacking Your Feet?

No one likes it when the cat ambushes you in the middle of the night or attacks your ankles from behind the sofa.

So, how can you stop your cat from attacking your legs? Well, it’s a matter of providing enough physical stimulation to burn off your cat’s energy and establish boundaries.

Here are five tips to help you along! 

#1 Don’t Indulge Your Cat

Allowing your small kitten to play with your hands and legs is the common reason your cat considers your toes a fair game.

Most pet owners think it’s cute until the kitten grows up and continues to attack with the same vigor as before but with sharper teeth and claws. 

cat about to get the treat on the hand

So, don’t encourage your kitten to bite your hands, fingers, toes, etc. Use age-appropriate toys to keep your kitten happy, and walk away whenever your kitty tries to engage in such actions. 

#2 Redirect and Distract

Get a feather wand and distract your cat with it the moment you notice your kitty is about to pounce on your legs, toes, or ankles. 

Keep doing it every time your cat tries to play with your feet. Eventually, your cat will understand that your body is not a toy.  

#3 Don’t Run Away

Cats are predators, so they get more excited when their prey tries to run away. And many cats think you’re playing when you try to run in the middle of the game.

Gently push your cat away and calmly exit the room. Give your kitty time to calm down and then return.

#4 Use Positive Reinforcement 

Don’t ever shout or hit your kitty when they attack your legs. It can make the problem worse because cats become aggressive when scared or startled.

cat about to get the treat on the hand

Always use positive reinforcement – reward your cat whenever they play with toys instead of your feet and ignore any unwanted behavior.

#5 Rule Out Medical Issues

Some cats attack you because they’re in immense pain, and lashing out is the only way for your kitty to ask for help. 

Such attacks are usually vicious with a lot of biting/scratching, different from the usual way cats play with their humans. 

Why Do Cats Like Feet: FAQs

Why does my cat attack my feet and not my husband?

Cats attack the legs of the people they like or people they have a negative experience with.

Whether your cat is playful or aggressive depends on the bite strength and the cat’s overall body language. 

Why does my cat attack my feet when I walk?

Your cat attacks your feet when you walk because moving triggers your kitty’s hunting instinct and it can’t resist pouncing on the “target.”

Why do cats attack feet in bed?

Cats attract your feet in bed when they’re in a playful mood, want you to get up to feed them, seek your attention, or try to tell you something. 

Why do cats attack feet under blankets?

kitten covered by a red blanket

Wiggling toes under the blanket mimic a small prey’s movement. And a moving target under a blanket is irresistible to cats because it triggers their predator’s instinct. 

Conclusion 

It’s normal for your cat to be a bit obsessed with your body and lick, bite, and rub against your feet to express its affection and ask for your attention.

However, if you’re worried that your cat is being far too aggressive with your legs, you should talk to your vet and a cat behaviorist to determine if something is wrong. 

cat sleeping on the feet

What do you think about these reasons why cats are obsessed with feet? Why do your cats like feet? Share your experience in the comment section. 

Resources:

  • 1. Does My Cat Love Me? [Internet]. www.petmd.com. Available from: https://www.petmd.com/cat/behavior/does-my-cat-love-me
  • 2. Why Cats Sniff Butts [Internet]. vca_corporate. Available from: https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/why-cats-sniff-butts
  • 3. What Is Excessive Sweating a Sign of? Find the Treatment | Perth [Internet]. https://www.perthsweatclinic.com.au/. Available from: https://www.perthsweatclinic.com.au/blog/sweatiest-parts-of-human-body/
Grigorina S
Grigorina S

I’ve grown up surrounded by animals – dogs, cats, cows, goats, sheep, and horses and that has shaped me into what I am today – a crazy cat lady who always has a place for one more cat (or a dog). I’ve got two female cats – Kitty and Roni, and two tomcats – Blacky and Shaggy, but I also feed my neighbors’ cats when they come for a visit. I just can’t say no to them.

I discovered that writing is my vocation early in my school years. Since then I’ve taken part in several literature contests – writing horror and fantasy short stories and novellas.
For the past three years, I’ve been an ELS teacher, pouring my heart into showing children and teenagers how important English is for their future and trying to educate them how to treat their pets with care.

Find her on Instagram. Read her latest articles..

Learn more about Grigorina here