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Why Does My Cat Kick the Wall? 8 Possible Reasons

Cats are masters of odd behaviors and, if we’re honest, it’s one of the reasons we love them so much. Why are they staring at the wall? What’s so interesting about dust motes? Why are they zooming around the apartment at 3am as if their tail is on fire?

To many, it seems as if cats know so much more about the world than we mere humans do. So we tend to chalk up many of their odd behaviors to them just being their wonderfully weird cat selves. One cat behavior that mystifies many owners, though, is the wall kick.

The fact of that matter is that they could be exhibiting this behavior for a multitude of reasons. Read on to learn eight reasons your cat may be kicking the wall and if you should be concerned about the behavior.

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The 8 Common Reasons Why Your Cat Kicks The Wall

1.  Bunny Kicking

There are some cat behaviors that not only puzzle their owners but can also be signs of a larger problem brewing. Bunny kicking is one such behavior. This behavior often appears during play when your cat crosses the line from playful to aggressive.

What exactly does bunny kicking look like? The signature start of the bunny kick is the cat wrapping its front paws around its target (i.e., you, the other cat, the table, etc.), followed by some sharp kicks with the back legs at its target. This behavior is often used as a way to stun prey so they can play with it or kill it.

Why is this behavior concerning to you as a pet owner? If your cat is beginning to use the bunny kick on you, you’ll soon discover that scratching and biting are part of the whole bunny kick package. No one likes getting kicked, bit, or scratched—so watch out for the warning signs: flattened ears, dilated eyes, and increasingly aggressive play. Redirect your cat’s aggression to a favorite toy when you see these signs to lower the likelihood that you become the victim of their bunny kicking.

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2. Working Off Excess Energy

Cats can have an excess of energy that results in some crazy energetic behaviors. Cats can also get the zoomies (just like dogs)—typically characterized by some fast zooming around your home and bouncing off your furniture and the walls. If your cat is kicking the walls during this display of excess energy, there’s not much cause for alarm. Keep an eye on your cat while they’re running around, and take them to the vet if they happen to injure themselves.

Woman Playing with Cat Outdoors
Image Credit: Helena Lopes, Pexels
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3. Marking

One type of marking is when your cat rubs their head against something hard or kneads their claws into a surface, such as the blanket on your lap. Cats have scent glands in their cheeks and paws and they transfer pheromones from their glands to favorite surfaces to help them feel comfortable in their territory. If cats can’t knead a surface with their claws, they may sometimes kick the surface to leave some scent behind, which is why your cat may sometimes kick the wall.

Another type of marking is urine spraying, which is a common behavior in which cats spray urine in an area to establish a boundary, announce their presence, or announce they’re ready to mate. Cats typically spray the urine on a vertical surface by standing, backing up to where they want to mark, lifting their tail, quivering, and then spraying the urine. Cats typically spray urine if they’re upset about something, such as a dirty litter box, a new pet in the house, or not enough playtime.

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4. Seeking Attention

Cats, just like any pet, require a certain amount of attention to feel loved and valued. Many felines will start to show disruptive behaviors if they’re feeling neglected, such as kicking the walls. If your cat is spending more time zooming around, kicking walls, and taking names, it’s usually a cry for attention on the part of your pet. Pay some extra attention to them and you’ll head off more destructive tendencies at the pass, such as urine spraying, shredding antique furniture, etc.

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5. Scratching Needs

Scratching is a natural instinct in cats that allows them to sharpen their claws, deposit their scent, and remove the translucent sheath from their claws. Some cats like to scratch horizontal surfaces, such as your carpet, while others are vertical scratchers, taking their clawing to your drapes. Some cats may even experiment with kicking the walls to give them a try—seeing if they’re worth a good scratch. To prevent any damage to your walls, carpet, or drapes, determine whether your cat is a vertical or horizontal scratcher, and then buy them an appropriate scratching post.

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Tony and Cheetah playing on Hepper Hi Lo Cat Scratcher

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6. Stretching to New Heights

As any cat owner knows, cats love to stretch. Just like in humans, stretching helps cats to relieve tension in the muscles, as well as to reduce stiffness. Stretching helps cats to relax, which is why you’ll often see them stretched out enjoying the sun in apparent kitty bliss. Cats often find unique ways of stretching, and some have even been known to back up against a wall to try to get a stretch, which may result in kicking walls.

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7. Relieving Paw Pain or Discomfort

Cats often get pieces of litter stuck between their toe pads and may have trouble dislodging it on their own if it’s stuck in fur or deep within the space between the toes. The irritation may cause some odd behaviors in your cat, such as kicking at the wall as they try to dislodge the offending material. If your cat is continually kicking the wall, restrain it and check its toes for debris to prevent it from injuring itself.

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8. Neurological Conditions

There are a variety of neurological disorders that can cause weird behavior, such as kicking the walls. One such condition is epilepsy. Epilepsy is a seizure disorder that can affect muscle movement, thought, memory, and sensation in your cat. If your cat seems to lose control of its body, kick the wall, and then seems disoriented afterward, epilepsy may be the culprit. If you have concerns that your cat may have a neurological condition, make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.

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Image Credit: inge-wallumrød, Pexels

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Many cat behaviors are a mystery to their owners, but they’re often harmless, including the wall kick. Some reasons for this behavior may include, attention seeking, paw discomfort, stretching, scratching, or trying to work off some excess energy with some serious zoomies.  Some other reasons for kicking the wall may include the bunny kick, marking their territory, and neurological disorders. If you’re concerned about your cat’s behavior, contact your vet and make an appointment to discuss the issue.

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Featured Image Credit: zossia, Shutterstock