Why Do Cats Walk Between Your Legs?

Cats aren’t the simplest pets to decipher! They walk between your legs and trip you when you walk for a number of reasons, but harming you isn’t one of them!

Mar 15, 2024By Monika Dimitrovska
why do cats walk between your legs

Why do cats walk between your legs? There’s no specific explanation for this common cat behavior that usually leaves us smiling. However, we have a few possible reasons in mind, which we’ll discuss in this article.

As you probably already know, felines have a curious nature, and walking between your legs gives them a chance to explore their surroundings up close.

Moreover, they’re affectionate creatures (most of them), and this gesture could be their way of seeking closeness and attention from you. Some people believe it’s just marking their territory, showing that you belong to them.

Why Do Cats Walk Between Your Legs?

cat standing up
Image credit: upr8 from Pixabay

Cats display strange behaviors that often leave us wondering. However, we love them anyway. One of those bizarre actions is walking between legs.

Although we can’t pinpoint a reason behind this adorable behavior, we came up with a few possible explanations for it.


As we already mentioned, most cats love exploring their surroundings because they’re naturally curious beings.

So, when they weave between our legs, it could be their way of investigating their area up close. Moreover, your legs provide a narrow pathway for them to navigate, satisfying their curious nature.


Many people think of cats as cold and solitary animals, which they can be at times, but most of the time, they’re very loving creatures, especially certain affectionate breeds.

In other words, if your cat develops a strong bond with you, they will seek your attention and affection regularly. Sometimes, some cats do this, slipping between legs.

You can actually understand their actions better by learning how to read your cat’s body language.

cat looking at woman hand
Image credit: Pyotr Void from Unsplash

Territory Marking

Cats, like dogs, mark their territory because they’re territorial animals. And believe it or not, they see their human parents as their property.

That’s why they rub against their legs or walk between them, leaving their scent. So, the next time your cat walks between your legs, remember they might be leaving their scent as a way of marking you as theirs.


Cats sleep a lot, but when they’re awake, they’re all for chasing that laser.

However, they can’t just say they want to play with you, so they try to get your attention and initiate playtime in different ways, including nipping at your fingers, walking between your legs, etc.

All felines, especially indoor-only ones, need regular mental and physical stimulation, so ensure enough exercise for your indoor cat. This can also help prevent boredom in cats.

There aren’t dog parks for cats, but you can keep your feline active by providing DIY cat toys or walking them outside on a leash from time to time.

Why Does My Cat Try to Trip Me When I Walk?

cat walking outside leash
Image credit: Piotr Musioł from Unsplash

When your cat keeps tripping you while walking, they’re not trying to collect your life insurance money. Cats sometimes do this to practice their hunting skills, get you to play with them, out of habit, or because they want to cuddle! Let’s discuss further!

Hunting Instincts

Cats, although domesticated, still have a hunting instinct. They’re actually natural-born hunters. Therefore, when they try to trip you while you walk, it might be because they’re practicing their hunting skills.

In the wild, cats often stalk and ambush their prey, and by tripping you, they’re playfully sharpening those same instincts.

Seeking Attention

If you have a young cat that’s full of energy and hasn’t calmed down yet, every time you move, they probably see it as a chance for interaction. In other words, by getting in your way, your cat is essentially saying, “Hey, let’s play!”

white cat playing
Image credit: Piotr Musioł from Unsplash


A day in the life of a cat consists mostly of habits because cats love habits! Therefore, if your cat has learned that tripping you results in a fun game or gets them extra attention, they’ll continue to do it.

Your Cat Wants to Cuddle

Cats, especially senior ones, love warm, cozy spots, and what’s cozier than snuggling up to their favorite human? This is why you should consider adopting a senior cat and save a life!

Back on topic, by getting underfoot while you walk, your furry friend is likely positioning themselves for a potential cuddle session once you’ve settled down.

Why Do Cats Rub Against Your Legs?

cat rubbing against owner legs
Image credit: International Cat Care

Cats rub against things, including legs, furniture, and other objects. This cat behavior is common and is known as “cat bunting.” It’s also one of those endearing acts that many cat parents experience, and here’s why:

Cats are Possessive

When your cat rubs against your legs or objects in your home, they’re actually marking you or your property as their own. Cats have special noses as well as scent glands on their faces, which they use to mark their territory.

So, your cat rubbing against you is like saying, “This human belongs to me.” Moreover, they’re also creating familiar scents in their environment, which can help them feel more secure and comfortable.

cat sleeping on owner legs
Image credit: Abed Ismail from Unsplash


Cats, besides meowing non-stop, often use physical contact to bond with their favorite human and communicate.

Therefore, when your feline rubs against your legs, they’re either saying, “I love you,” or they need something from you (food, water, attention, etc.).

Alternatively, cats rub against your legs as a way to signal to other cats that you’re off limits, even if they belong to the friendliest cat breeds.

You likely know that cats have a strong sense of smell, so by leaving their scent on you, they’re broadcasting their presence to other cats in the area.

Cats rubbing against your legs could also be a learned behavior from their mothers.

Mothers often rub against their kittens as a way of grooming them and expressing affection. Some kittens learn this behavior from their mothers and may continue to do it as they grow older as a way to connect with their human parents.

Closing Thoughts

cat and owner hugging
Image credit: Jack Plant from Unsplash

In a nutshell, cats have a variety of reasons for walking between your legs, trying to trip you while you walk, and rubbing against your legs.

Whether it’s out of curiosity, affection, playfulness, or protectiveness, these actions help cats communicate with their human companions. And understanding your cat’s behavior can help strengthen the bond between the two of you.

So, cherish these little moments of affection and interaction with your cat because cats don’t have nine lives, and they won’t be there forever.

Monika Dimitrovska
By Monika Dimitrovska

Monika is a pet enthusiast and seasoned copywriter with a tech degree. She loves writing, but her heart belongs to her two mixed dogs, Buba and Bono, a mother-son duo. Bono’s siblings found loving homes, sparking Monika’s advocacy for neutering and deepening her curiosity about animal care.

But Monika’s pet family doesn’t end there. She also has two cockatiels and two rescue cats, proving her home is a haven for creatures big and small.