The American Veterinary Medical Association substantiates that about 25 percent of U.S. residents have these purring balls of happiness as their pets. The adorable, curious, and loyal felines are lifelong bosom friends for you and your family.
It’s not just fluff and fur when it comes to them; we all know cats are mischievous and love playing around.
Sure, they sleep 15 hours a day and lay around the house purring in their puzzling aura, but if you ask me, that’s part of their allure in every respect – and, indeed, a cosmic reason for my bias towards them. Adding to this allure are some pretty baffling but amazingly cute behaviors of your furry mates.
In this article, we will find the answer to the famous question, “Why does my cat reach his paw out to me?”
Why does my cat reach his paw out to me?
This angelic behavior has a very heartfelt rationale behind it. Mostly, it’s a scream for attention or an affectionate action towards the owner. But that’s not only the reason behind such a sweet reciprocation made by your feline friend!
Some possible explanations for the kinky behavior of your purr ball are listed below. Here are the answers you might be anticipating.
1. Gesture for seeking attention
Your furry pet might have various reasons for reaching out a paw to you. Many cat owners are very familiar with this gesture. Still, the real reason behind this is not always easy to explain. But, trying to grab the owner’s attention is the most frequent explanation that has been there behind this gesture.
If you see your cat approaching you and extending its paw towards you, make no delay in expressing the best of love you feel for your darling pet! One should observe the pet’s body language and any sounds to determine what they want.
If your pet is softly purring while reaching out its paw to you, there is a high probability that it’s your turn to indulge in some pleasure snuggles with your friend! When cats are active and playful, they showcase equally energetic body language.
Let your honey have a playful treat with its toys!
Please don’t ask what cats can do to draw your attention towards them! Ask what not can they do! If extending a paw fails, they wouldn’t hesitate much before climbing up to your lap for the same!
2. Your adorable pet is merely stretching.
The most crystal clear reason behind the outstretched paw is this exceptionally relaxing behavior of cats termed stretching. Almost all felines keep stretching at frequent intervals. The frequency varies from felines to felines, though!
All in all, this signifies a content and happy cat who is enjoying the moment.
However, nothing can be assured when cats are in a joyful mood! In general, cats do not stretch their paws in the direction where you’re present.
3. They want to cuddle with you
Some cats reach out their paws to touch their owner’s face while snuggling with them in bed. Many cat owners are unaware of the fact that cats face difficulty seeing things up-close.
And this is why your little friend tries to feel your presence with its paws.
It just helps the cats to have a secured and intimate moment with the owner. And before you get emotional here, let’s jump to the next reason! Pets will be pets!
4. They might have a request
It’s not always that your cat wants your attention only for affection. Sometimes, the cat might want your attention to get the cat’s requests fulfilled.
They might be wanting you to open the door to their favorite spot for lazing around or wanting you to usher them with their favorite treats or their favorite toys.
Typically, when a cat wants something, it will run towards that particular thing and move around encircling it. It seems that only some cats use this rare gesture of reaching a paw out for a request.
5. They want to play with you
Mostly, cats pat other cats to engage them in a play session, which is why they might do the same with humans. Now, if you have a cat that outstretches his paw, taps you, and runs away, there is a great likelihood for a play session.
And, this time, instead of requesting a toy, they might want you to be their plaything. All that swatting might be your cue to play with them.
Well, you should never play with your cat with bare hands. Instead, use a toy. Cats might get the idea that it’s okay to bite you when he does that with your bare hands, which is not something you want.
You don’t want your cats to take biting and scratching you as a regular habit, which is less likely to happen if they are allowed to constantly scratch and bite you while playing. So, next time your cats start swatting, you then divert his attention with his favorite toy.
6. They might be imitating you
There are many instances when your furball tries to imitate you. For instance, all those cat selfies with their owners depict how perfectly cats try to imitate their live-in mates.
Some cats meow when we sneeze. And, the ability of cats to mimic voices needs no mention.
Mimicry is an inborn ability in cats; it’s how they get skilled in some grown-up cats’ activities, like successfully trapping their prey.
So, there are high chances it might be reaching out its paw to pat you because you do the same to him.
However, some cats delve into the art of imitating more than others. They might not be doing it to display their affection for you – but just because they want to get a first-hand experience themselves.
7. They might be indicating that they are hungry
Through routine observation and repetition, Cats often learn that they can ask you for food by outstretching their paw towards you. It substantiates that when a cat arrives at you meowing while outstretching its paw towards you.
The time of the day, somewhere around the mealtime of your furry friend, might mean your pet is hungry and wants you to serve him.
If you respond to this behavior and feed your pet each time they do this, a cat, as smart as they are, will take notice that this gesture can get him his dinner. They can pat you with their paws and ask you to leave your bed and prepare the food!
8. They might be leaving their scent
Cats are a tad bit possessive when it comes to things and people they like, which is why they mark things they like. Are you wondering how they do so?
As a matter of interest, cats have scent glands located right in the paddings of their paws.
Whenever a cat scratches to claim an object, these glands get stimulated to secret a typical cat scent, and hence, the cat could be claiming you!
Apart from their paw paddings, cats also tend to have scent glands in their foreheads and cheeks. So, they can mark you by rubbing against you or head butting.
Your furry mates will also mark you with their scent as a way to show their tribe amalgamation with you, which is a gesture suggesting that they see you as one of their own or enjoy being part of your family.
There are also possibilities that they are trying to increase their acquaintance with you. Most cats affectionate towards each other would have a motley of scents, and they would smell like other cats.
For that matter, they may touch you with their paws to “mark you as a family.” it helps them identify another cat, and they can tell if another cat is around by their scent.
So, your cat might simply be mixing your scent to identify you when you’re around and thereby increase acquaintance. Either way, you are bound to be your cat’s favorite.
9. Your cat is trying to quiet you
It might seem quite surprising, but your cat might be attempting to silence you if you are noisy around it! Be it you or your pet; no one likes that disorder! Hence, your beloved is extending its paw onto your mouth to silence you.
10. It may be a forerunner to kneading
When a cat reaches out to you with its paw, it is the ultimate threshold towards kneading.
Also known as ‘making biscuits, kneading is a favorite activity that happy cats perform in the presence of their owner.
To see your cat moving its paws back and forth towards you and purring marks the onset of a kneading session!
It happens to be one of the most frequent reasons behind cats extending their paws! If your cat extends just one paw to you, it is trying to indulge in a full-on kneading activity.
Kneading is a behavior that cats learn in their younger days. It is an intuitive behavior because they knead on the mama cat’s stomach to manifest milk.
This behavior might carry forward from kittenhood to adulthood, where cats continue kneading when they are jolly, cheery, and pleased – like they used to be when they were drinking milk.
However, cats might not always end up completely kneading.
They might only reach out their paws and never actually proceed towards kneading them.
But, who knows! Whether when it can end into a full-fledged knead. Whatever it be, that’s the pure state of happiness of your beloved!
11. It might indicate that your cat is experiencing pain
Most of the time, your feline friend reaching out a paw is considered a gesture towards loosening up. However, at times, it can indicate that something is wrong with them.
The symptoms of most cat’s illnesses are not visible as major changes in their day-to-day activities, so you usually won’t be able to decipher many signs which may suggest that they aren’t feeling well.
So, if your feline friend tries to stretch out its paws, it could also mean relaxing some sore limbs caused by an illness.
Feline calicivirus is one such example, as it causes “limping syndromes” in baby kittens. When your cat is limping, it is an obvious symptom of this illness.
And this requires veterinary attention.
So, if you sense some symptoms like swelling or bleeding while examining your cat’s paw for wounds, it is best to bring this to the notice of your veterinarian and get your pet treated.
Why does my cat reach his paw out?
Now, if your cat reaches out his paw to you, then you might be able to get to the bottom of it with the intricately detailed context you just read through.
Take my words that when your furry mate is reaching out his paw to you, most of the time, it is to show affection towards you or get you indulged in some activity with him.
This gesture indicates that they want affection and want to be petted, served with food or their favorite toy, or allowed access to their favorite spot.
All of these behaviors are entirely amicable and suggest that your feline friend is comfortable. However, it is a cause of concern if the aftermath is not in sync with expected behavior.
If your cat appears quiet, then it might be stretching its paw to get rid of muscle cramps that happen due to lack of fluid. That’s a sign that your pet is dehydrated.
You should routinely examine your cat’s paw for other illnesses and be alert towards signs of sickness or strange behavior.
If your cat appears sick, uncomfortable, or in pain, you should immediately get him to a veterinarian to examine all possible internal illnesses and contusions.
Hi There, AJ Oren here. I am the founder of this amazing pet blog & a passionate writer who loves helping pet owners to learn more about their pets through my articles. I am also the content manager of this blog. I have experience in pet training and behavior, sheltering, and currently working for a veterinary clinic.