Cat Facts

Why do cats bunny kick? Is it playful or aggressive? Let’s hop to it and find out!

With Easter coming up, we wanted to learn about the pretty adorable, bunny-like behavior cats often exhibit with new cat toys: bunny kicking! More specifically, we wanted to know exactly why cats bunny kick in the first place. Is bunny kicking an act of playfulness or a sign of aggression? Let’s hop to it and find out!

Hang on, what is bunny kicking?

For those who aren’t familiar with the term “bunny kicking”, it’s when cats lay on their backs or sides, grab onto a toy, and begin kicking at it with her rear legs. Like this:

why do cats bunny kick?

When cats bunny kick, it can be playful!

Many healthy cats enjoy the act of “play wrestling” with other familiar cats, toys, pets, or humans. So, when a cat grabs ahold of their toys or your hand (ouch!) and starts to bunny kick, they’re likely playing, and not violently attacking.

We want to stress, however, that cat parents should avoid letting cats bunny kick their hands, arms, feet, or legs. Though cats may not mean to harm you, their playful kicks can leave behind painful scratches. When a cat begins to intensely play with your limbs, try guiding them to wrestle a cat toy, instead!

Bunny kicking can also be aggressive…

Cats may also use their hind feet to kick their adversaries when fighting one another. By lying on their backs or sides, cats can use all four sets of claws and teeth at the same time to fight. This strategy optimizes the amount of damage a cat can inflict on their opponent.

How can you tell when bunny kicking is playful or aggressive?

Body language is key here! If a cat’s ears are back, eyes are dilated, and tail is swishing jerkily, then they may feel agitated. In this scenario, we recommend refraining from engaging the cat until their nerves calm down.

On the other hand, if a cat’s ears are forward and face muscles are relaxed, they’re probably just being their super playful selves!


Cats can kick cute too… Just sayin’.

Easter kitty courtesy of @hachi_the_cat via Instagram