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Why Does My Cat Reach His Paw Out To Me? (Loves Me?)

If you have noticed your cat extending its paw towards you you may be curious to understand what, in your cat’s mind, this means.

Why does my cat reach his paw out to me?

There are two main reasons for your cat pawing at you. Either your cat is giving you a social signal (which is much more likely), or a distress call for a physical injury or ailment. Within these two reasons, there are various symptoms or behaviors that you may see.

So, now you understand, at a high level, why your cat is reaching out that paw to you. But, what are these social signals? What are some examples of these potential medical issues? Is the fact that your cat is purring indicate he is happy with you? Keep reading for these answers, and so much more…


The 2 Main Reasons Cat’s Reach Out Their Paw To You

Why does my cat reach his paw out to me?

Why does my cat reach his paw out to me?

Does your cat sometimes reach out for you with his paw? A gesture that melts your heart and makes you go sweet, right? If you take it as a sign of affection and attention, you are correct, because that is most likely what it is.

But it does help to judge by your cat’s full body language what he might be trying to convey to you if anything at all. Does he look at you with affection, purr, or cuddle up to you?

Does he seem relaxed and amiable or just irritable? You will also get to know your cat’s disposition and be able to interpret his behavioral quirks better with time and practice.

As discussed, there are two main reasons, but let me explain the details within these two:

01. Social Signals

There are many social signals your cat might be trying to give you through this little gesture. They don’t always have to be a selfless display of love, mind you. It could be that your pet just wants something from you, like your undivided attention or even a snack!

a. Wanting your attention

If your cat is clearly reaching out his paw to you for you to notice, and not just doing a carefree stretch on its own, then he probably wants your attention. Again, look for hints in the behavior.

If he seems calm and blissful, he probably just wants to cuddle up next to you or on your lap. If he seems excited and playful, then maybe he wants a play buddy.

If he playfully touches you and then attempts to run away, that is almost certainly requesting play. In that case, you should get him some of his favorite toys and have some fun with him.

b. Showing love

Sometimes your cat might reach out its paw to touch you even when it is already cuddled up close to you. This just indicates that he is having a good time with you and is very comfortable.

It’s just his way of showering affection and telling you he loves you. Most cat owners agree that these creatures do show fondness this way. Some cats even reach out to touch your face with their paws.

It might also be surprising for you to know that cats don’t have great eyesight. Although indoor cats are usually near-sighted, they are not close-sighted, and they have trouble focusing on anything within a foot’s distance. So if your cat is sitting close to you and reaches out to feel you, he might just be assuring himself of your presence.

c. Wanting to wake you up

All cat owners have experienced waking up to a furry face staring right at them. If your cat is pawing you while you’re asleep, then he is just trying to wake you up. And this is mostly because he is hungry and wants to draw your attention to that fact.

To avoid being interrupted in your sleep, feed your cat well at night or leave enough food in his dish before you sleep so that he is well taken care of till late hours in the morning.

d. Wants you to pet it

Let’s be honest, your first reaction on seeing your cat adorably stretching his paw out to you, would be to stroke and cuddle him because the gesture is so sweet that you simply can’t resist. It’s like literally saying, “Pet me please!”

And even from the point of view of your cat, that is exactly what it most often wants. This is linked to the attention-seeking theory and this reason is the most common for attention-seeking i.e. to be petted and given some physical reassurance.

e. Hinting for food

If your cat is hungry, it is highly unlikely to patiently wait out till it’s officially lunch time. Even when it knows meal time is approaching, it will probably get excited and start circling and touching you to grab your attention.

f. Just wants some food

This action can be more than a subtle hint sometimes. It can be requested in a very urgent manner too. Your kitty could not care less about your sleep or other human problems; they need to be fed comes first, and so your pet will wake you in the middle of good sleep or start harassing you while you are doing other work to order food.

Many cat owners vouch that their cats start sticking their paws out when they are hungry as if begging for food. Some cats even stick their paws out when food is being served, as if asking for the process to be expedited!

g. A show of trust

This is more of a secondary and indirect conclusion. If your cat is comfortable stretching his paw out to touch your face, that shows it trusts you and feels safe with you.

02. Medical Issues

This reason is less likely but still possible. You should be able to tell this cause apart easily by signs of distress.

a. Limping Kitten Syndrome

If your cat is holding out its paws in pain, then it may have Limping Kitten Syndrome. This condition is also known as “cat flu” and it can affect your pet’s joints, causing them to ache. Although it usually affects kittens, you can still visit a vet just in case.

b. Its paw could be damaged

Another reason can be that its paw is injured. Examine it closely to check for scratches, cuts and signs of bleeding. Also check that it doesn’t have something stuck in its paw. Maybe it has a damaged muscle or tendon. Definitely consult a vet if your cat shows signs of discomfort.

Is purring a show of love?

Purring a subtle way of showing love and happiness. It is almost an automated response in a cat’s system. Whenever you stroke your cat or show other forms of affection, you’ll notice a slight vibration and purring sound that your cat makes. It means that he is thoroughly relaxed and enjoying himself.

Purring is every cat’s ultimate happiness response, and it is one of the signs to look for to ascertain what your cat wants. So if your cat reaches his paw out and starts purring and scooching up to you, it is a sign that he is in a good mood and just looking for some love.

Why is a cat’s tendon so delicate?

A cat’s tendon is a tissue that keeps the claws in place. It is just naturally very sensitive and can be sprained easily. Even if you had the claws removed, your cat can still sprain it.

Why do cats cuddle up to you at night?

Your cat may not like being left alone at night because it feels scared, and can get agitated when it doesn’t see you close by. So cats generally like sleeping snuggled up close by you, because they feel more secure that way. It also shows that they love and trust you (Click here to see if this is why they are always near you).

Lindsey Browlingdon