If she’s getting too rough with you during playtime, rub the stuffed animal against her belly to redirect her play from you to the stuffed animal. You can also throw one of her favorite toys away from you during playtime. Provide her with more environmental stimulation. If you can keep your cat busy in her environment, she will probably spend less time trying to attack you.
One way to increase this stimulation is to have a variety of toys and rotate them out on a regular basis. It is not necessary to buy new toys on a consistent basis. You can just put out the ones you have in different combinations so that she is not always playing with the same set of toys. Regularly give your cat new things to explore, such as an empty cardboard box. Provide your cat with puzzle feeders. Puzzle feeders are toys in which you can place food.
Your cat will need to put in extra effort to get the food, which will keep her busy and mentally stimulated. Place an old toy in something new, such as an empty cardboard box or paper bag. This is helpful if you notice that your cat has gotten bored with some of her older toys. Place climbing perches or scratching posts in your cat’s favorite spots to give her something to climb and play on. If your cat is comfortable with being outside, you could purchase or build an outdoor enclosure so that she can safely play outside. Visit your local pet store to learn about the different types of outdoor enclosures that are available. Give your cat a time-out if she plays too roughly.
Get up and walk out of the room, without paying her any attention, if her playing becomes too rough. You can even go so far as walking to another room and closing the door, blocking her access to you. It is important that you walk away from her, rather than pick her up and move her to a different room. Your cat could interpret your physical touch as a reward, and you do not want to reward her for rough play. Prevent her from attacking your ankle. When you least expect it, your cat may jump out and start biting your ankle.
To your cat, your ankle is an easy moving target, especially if she does not have many other toys or objects in her environment to keep her busy. When she bites your ankle, do not try to run or pull away. Running or pulling away resembles prey behavior, and your cat’s predatory instincts will encourage her to just bite down harder. Instead of trying to get away, gently push toward her. Because prey tend not to move toward the predator, you will confuse your cat with this action. She will let go of your ankle when she realizes that you’re not acting like prey.
When she lets go, stay still for a moment and don’t pay her any attention. She will stop biting your ankle when you take away the thrill of the catch. Set up deterrent devices in her usual stalking spots. If you have identified areas where your cat likes to hide and try to attack you, make those areas as undesirable to her as you can. There are commercially-available deterrent devices that you can use, such as upside-down mousetraps and motion-activated devices that spray compressed air. These devices will startle your cat without injuring her. Eventually, she will stop returning those areas because of the startling effect and noise of those devices.
The upside-down mousetrap will flip into the air when your cat steps on it. Do not punish your cat. Rather, your cat will become fearful and wary of you if you punish her. She may even become confused. Because the punishment would likely come after whatever she did wrong, she would not really know what she’s being punished for. Some cats may even see the punishment as a challenge, rather than as a deterrent. Reward her for good behavior. Cats will repeat behavior that has positive consequences. Keep in mind that you need to give her the positive reinforcement during her good behavior so that she will form an association between good behavior and reward. Learn why your cat is attacking you. In the wild, cats are predators. You probably don’t see yourself as prey, since you, her owner, are bigger than she is. However, even if your cat attacks nothing more than your ankles, she is demonstrating her natural predator instincts. Your cat may also be attacking you because she does not have enough toys or other environmental stimulation to keep her busy. She might be bored, and sees you as an easy target.