cat bunny kick

Why Do Cats Bunny Kick?

Have you ever seen your cat roll on their back, wrap their front legs around something, and start kicking it furiously with their hind legs? This is what's known as a cat bunny kick, and it's one of the most fascinating and mysterious behaviors that cats display. But why do cats bunny kick? What does it mean? And how should you react when your cat does it to you?

In this blog post, we'll explore the reasons behind this quirky cat behavior and give you some tips on how to deal with it. Whether your cat is a fierce hunter, a playful kitten, or a scaredy-cat, you'll learn something new and interesting about their bunny kicks. Read on to find out more!

What Is Bunny Kicking

Bunny kicking is a behavior that cats exhibit when they kick out with their hind legs. This motion resembles a rabbit's kicking motion, which is how bunny kicking got its name. Cats will often bunny kick during playtime, when interacting with toys or scratching posts, and sometimes during grooming.

Bunny kicking involves the cat lying on their back or side and using their hind legs to kick in a rapid, alternating motion. Their front paws may also be used to grasp onto their toy or object of interest. The kicking motion is usually quite forceful, and it's not uncommon for cats to use their claws while bunny kicking.

While bunny kicking is often associated with playtime, it can also be a sign of aggression. If a cat is feeling threatened or defensive, they may bunny kick as a way to fend off an attacker. However, in most cases, bunny kicking is a harmless and enjoyable behavior for cats.

It's worth noting that not all cats bunny kick, and some may do it more frequently than others. It can depend on the cat's personality and upbringing. Some cats may be more playful and prone to bunny kicking, while others may not exhibit this behavior at all.

The Science Behind Bunny Kicking

Sure thing! Here's a section on the science behind bunny kicking:

Bunny kicking is a behavior that is influenced by a cat's anatomy and muscle structure. A cat's hind legs are incredibly powerful, with strong muscles that allow them to jump, run, and pounce with great force. When a cat bunny kicks, they're using these powerful muscles to deliver swift and forceful kicks.

The muscles that are primarily involved in bunny kicking are the hamstring muscles, which run along the back of the thigh. These muscles are responsible for flexing the leg at the knee joint and extending the leg at the hip joint. The gastrocnemius muscle, which is located in the back of the calf, is also involved in the kicking motion.

When a cat bunny kicks, they're engaging these muscles in a rapid, alternating motion. The force of the kicks can be quite powerful, allowing a cat to deliver quick and decisive blows to their target. This is why it's important to supervise playtime with cats and provide appropriate toys and scratching posts to prevent accidental scratches or injuries.

Overall, bunny kicking is a behavior that is influenced by a cat's anatomy and muscle structure. By understanding the science behind bunny kicking, we can appreciate this behavior as a natural and instinctive part of a cat's behavior.

Reasons Why Cats Bunny Kick?

Cats are complex creatures with a range of emotions and instincts. Sometimes, they may display behaviors that seem odd or even violent to us, but make perfect sense to them. One of these behaviors is the bunny kick, which can have different meanings depending on the context and the cat's personality. Here are some of the most common reasons why cats bunny kick:

Hunting Instinct

One of the main reasons why cats bunny kick is because they are following their natural hunting instinct. Cats are predators by nature, and they have evolved to use their teeth and claws to catch and kill their prey. The bunny kick is a hunting tactic that cats use when they have captured their prey and want to make sure it doesn't escape. By wrapping their front legs around the prey and kicking it repeatedly with their hind legs, they can inflict serious damage and immobilize it.

This behavior can be seen in both wild and domestic cats, although domestic cats may not always kill their prey after bunny kicking it. Sometimes, they may just play with it or bring it to their owners as a gift. If your cat likes to hunt outside, you may have witnessed them bunny kicking a mouse, a bird, or even a lizard. If your cat is an indoor cat, they may bunny kick their toys instead, especially if they resemble real animals.


Another reason why cats bunny kick is because they are trying to defend themselves from a threat or an attack. Cats are very territorial and protective of their space and resources. They may also have conflicts with other cats or animals over dominance or mating rights. When a cat feels threatened or attacked, they may roll on their back and expose their belly. This may seem like a submissive gesture, but it's actually a clever strategy to prepare for a counterattack.

When a cat is on their back, they have all four paws and claws ready to strike. They can grab their opponent with their front legs and kick them with their hind legs, targeting their vital organs or soft tissues. This can cause serious injuries or even death to the attacker. The bunny kick is a powerful self-defense move that can help a cat survive in a dangerous situation.

Playful Aggression

A third reason why cats bunny kick is because they are feeling playful and want to have some fun. Cats are very curious and energetic animals that need mental and physical stimulation. They also need to practice their hunting skills and release their pent-up energy. Sometimes, they may bunny kick their owners or other cats as a way of initiating play or expressing affection.

However, this type of bunny kicking can also be a sign of playful aggression, which means that the cat is playing too rough or doesn't know how to control their bite or scratch intensity. Playful aggression can be caused by boredom, frustration, lack of socialization, or excess energy. It can also be triggered by certain stimuli, such as moving hands or feet, dangling strings, or sudden noises.

If your cat bunny kicks you or another cat during playtime, it doesn't mean that they hate you or want to hurt you. It just means that they are having fun and don't realize that they are being too aggressive. However, you should not encourage this behavior or let it escalate into a real fight. You should also avoid punishing your cat for bunny kicking, as this can make them more fearful or aggressive.

How To Deal With Cat Bunny Kicks?

Now that you know why cats bunny kick, you may be wondering how to deal with this behavior when it happens to you or another cat. While bunny kicking is a natural and normal behavior for cats, it can also be annoying, painful, or even dangerous if it gets out of hand. Here are some tips on how to handle your cat's bunny kicks:

Don't Encourage It

The first thing you should do when your cat bunny kicks you is to not encourage it or reward it. This means that you should not react in a way that your cat may interpret as positive feedback, such as laughing, petting, or playing back. You should also not react in a way that your cat may interpret as negative feedback, such as yelling, hitting, or pushing. Both positive and negative reactions can reinforce your cat's aggressive behavior and make them think that bunny kicking is a fun or acceptable way to interact with you.

Instead, you should calmly and gently remove your hand or leg from your cat's grip and stop any interaction with them. You can also say "ouch" or "no" in a firm but low voice to let them know that you don't like what they are doing. Then, you should ignore your cat for a few minutes or until they calm down. This will teach your cat that bunny kicking leads to the end of playtime and attention, which is something they don't want.

Redirect Their Attention

The second thing you should do when your cat bunny kicks you is to redirect their attention to something else that they can kick safely and appropriately. This means that you should provide your cat with some toys that are designed for this purpose, such as stuffed animals, kickers, or wand toys. These toys can satisfy your cat's hunting instinct and playful aggression without hurting you or damaging your belongings.

You can also use these toys to initiate playtime with your cat before they start bunny kicking you. For example, you can wiggle a wand toy in front of your cat and let them chase and catch it. Then, you can let them kick it with their hind legs while you hold the other end of the toy. This way, you can bond with your cat and have fun together without getting scratched or bitten.

Provide Enrichment

The third thing you should do when your cat bunny kicks you is to provide them with more enrichment and stimulation in their environment. This means that you should make sure that your cat has enough physical and mental activities to keep them busy and happy throughout the day. This can prevent boredom and frustration, which can lead to bunny kicking and other behavioral problems.

Some of the things you can do to provide enrichment for your cat are:

  • Give them access to windows where they can watch birds or other animals
  • Provide them with scratching posts where they can sharpen their claws and mark their territory
  • Sprinkle some catnip on their toys or beds where they can roll and relax
  • Hide some treats or kibble in puzzle feeders where they can work for their food
  • Play some interactive games with them such as fetch, hide and seek, or laser pointer
  • Introduce some new toys or objects every once in a while to spark their curiosity

By following these tips, you can deal with your cat's bunny kicks in a positive and effective way. You can also understand your cat better and appreciate their unique personality and behavior. Remember that cats are not trying to hurt you or annoy you when they bunny kick. They are just expressing themselves and having fun in their own way.


Cats are amazing and adorable animals that can surprise us with their behaviors and expressions. One of these behaviors is the bunny kick, which can have different meanings depending on the situation and the cat's mood. In this blog post, we learned why cats bunny kick, how to deal with it, and how to provide them with more enrichment and stimulation. does not intend to provide veterinary advice. We go to great lengths to help users better understand their pets; however, the content on this blog is not a substitute for veterinary guidance.