Cats love to hide, cats love to watch their next victim silently and cats LOVE to wait for the perfect time to go for a full-blown attack!
When the victim is their poor innocent feet, cat owners obviously find this game a little bit annoying and painful. Understanding why a cat is doing something is the first step before being able to change a behaviour.
So why do cats attack their owner’s feet?
Because it is fun! Kittens, especially, tend to be serious ankles attackers, because kittens like to have fun! When cats become more mature, they tend to play less, and less, and ultimately leave their owner’s feet alone.
It is possible to teach a cat to not attack feet instead of waiting for this painful period to end on its own.
The trick is to simply make this game less fun for the cat! Instead of moving your foot frantically, screaming in pain or running away, which basically turn yourself into being the most fun prey ever according to your cat, just stand still and be boring. Of course, this might be somewhat painful if you have a very motivated cat. In this case, stand still, and say NO while removing him calmly from your foot. Congratulations: you have just become a very boring toy, and your cat will learn and remember that.
You will also want to play chasing games with your cat, so that it has a chance to just be a cat and have fun with its instincts. There are a lot of toys, for instance sticks with feathers, that make great chasing toys, and that are much better than a foot.
Your cat might also be chasing your feet simply because it wants to play with you, and it is the only way to get a reaction out of you. You should instead teach it a proper way to get you to play with it. Whenever you see your cat playing with a toy by itself or when it brings you a toy, play with it, even if it is just for a couple of minutes. When your cat jumps on you or attacks your feet, ignore it. Soon enough, your cat will learn that it should get a toy when it wants to play and interact with you instead of using you as a toy.