If your cat swats his paw at you, immediately putting a stop to his behavior is essential to prevent a bad habit from developing. Aggression in cats can have various causes. Determine what's triggering your cat to swat at you so you can prevent his undesired behavior in the future.
Before determining why your cat is swatting at you, visit a veterinarian. Maybe your finicky feline has an underlying medical condition or injury that's triggering him to swat his paw at you. Even your touch might be painful to him. Arthritis, hyperthyroidism, dental disease, epilepsy, orthopedic problems, neurological disorders and abscesses are just some of the conditions that might plague him. A veterinarian can make a diagnosis and recommend proper treatment, which might stop your cat's swatting.
Your cat might swat at you when he's playing. If he was removed from his litter prematurely or wasn't petted and properly socialized between the age of 5 and 12 weeks, he might not know how to inhibit his scratching and biting or he might be fearful of you. To help him overcome this, pet him when he's calm, starting with his head and gradually progressing to his back and tail. Give him treats so he slowly learns to trust you and avoid sudden moves that might startle him.
If your cat swats at you during a petting session, it might be his way of telling you he's had enough. Reading your cat's body language might help prevent overstimulating him to the point where he swats at you. If he flicks his tail, tenses his body, stares or rotates his ears to the back or side, stop petting him, because these signs might indicate that he's had enough. Let him sit on your lap and enjoy his company, but don't pet him.
Regardless of the reason why your cat swats his paw at you, never physically punish him, because this might worsen his aggression or make him fear you. If your furry friend starts swatting, avoid consoling him or acting scared. Instead, make a loud noise to startle him and stop him in his tracks or simply walk away and ignore him. This teaches him that his aggressive behavior stops all the fun and might make him think twice about repeating it.
Kimberly Caines is a well traveled model, writer and licensed physical fitness trainer who was first published in 1997. Her work has appeared in the Dutch newspaper "De Overschiese Krant" and on various websites. Caines holds a degree in journalism from Mercurius College in Holland and is writing her first novel.