Attack Cat: How to Cope with an Aggressive Feline
Cat scratches hurt. Be careful not to inadvertently teach your cat to scratch your hands. Don't roughhouse with your cat. If you let your cat grip your hands with its claws when you play, your cat will think that it's okay to scratch your hands. Usually, a simple "no" used consistently is enough to keep your cat from clawing your hands.
If your cat suddenly starts scratching you, take it to the veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical cause. If your vet says your cat is healthy and isn't hurting in any way, examine its surrounding to see if it's under stress. Cats are very sensitive to change, and your cat may be acting out in response to a change such as a move or a new baby. If this is the case, shower your cat with extra affection and try to alleviate its stress whenever possible.
Extra energy causes some cats to become aggressive. If your cat is grabbing your ankles when you walk by, it's probably trying to burn off energy. Keep in mind that cats are hunters -- they like to chase, attack, and pounce. For this reason, engage in some active play with your cat, meaning the two of you play together. Some cats enjoy fishing-pole-type toys that you dangle in front of the cat. Others love chasing balls thrown down steps.
If you work long hours and your cat is acting out, consider adopting a second cat to keep it company. After a period of initial adjustment, two cats will usually play together and alleviate each other's boredom.