This is a behavior that can be seen during play and also during an aggressive encounter. The cat rolls onto her back or side and kicks with her hind legs. The motive behind the often-called “bunny kick” depends on the immediate circumstances.
The Playtime Bunny Kick by Your Cat
You may be playing with your cat when she rolls over, grasps your hand or wrist with her front paws and then rakes her back legs down your arm. This is seen more often when cat parents use their hands to wrestle with their cats in play. The cat may kick out of enthusiastic playtime, but your hand and arm may become more of an opponent than a toy because of the movements made toward your cat (prey tries to get away but opponents move toward her) and the size of your hand versus the size of a typical cat toy. Your cat may get carried away with play and begin doing a more intense hind leg kick or she may even flip from playtime to defensive aggression. A cat may also kick with her hind legs when playing with a large toy or stuffed animal. Some toy manufacturers make “kick bag” toys for cats whose playtime routine typically involves the bunny kick. These toys are essentially a long tube sock filled with catnip-infused stuffing.