Why Does My Cat Hold His Paw Out?


cat holding up paw

Check for Medical Issues And Paw Injuries

There can be several reasons why a cat might hold their paw up or put it out towards you. There could be medical reasons, or there could be social reasons. It is fairly easy to ascertain if you have a medical issue.  See Tips for Facilitating Good Cat Health

Start by examining your cat’s paw. Is it cut or torn? Are the pads worn too low? Is there anything stuck in the cat’s paw? Can you see any blood anywhere? Check to see if he has a torn muscle or strained or sprained tendon. A cat’s tendon can be an extremely sensitive part of her anatomy. The tendon is responsible for holding the claw in place and even if you have declawed your cat, you may need to worry about this.

Also Read <How To Trim Your Cat’s Nails>

Limping Kitten Syndrome

There is also a condition that cats can acquire called “limping kitten syndrome”. Also known as Feline Calicivirus (FCV). FCV is the cat flu – an upper respiratory infection. The flu may cause aches and pains in the cat’s joints. You will want to see a vet if you suspect this but this mostly just affects kittens.  The good news is that your cat should get better in a week or so.

Other Cat Holding Up Paw Theories

Your cat’s behavior may not be a medical issue but rather a social question. .Socially speaking, we are not 100% sure why a cat will hold his paw out, or hold it up when sitting, or place it gently on you – though there are many theories about why a cat might do these things:

  • Your cat is showing their affection and love for you. They are in fact “petting” you.
  • Your cat is telling you that they want to be scratched on the belly.
  • Your cat is happy and content – cats tend to communicate often with their paws.
  • Your cat may be simulating the process of “kneading” as it had with its mother when it was a kitten. They did this out of contentment, or because they want to encourage the milk to flow. The adult cat is usually displaying their sense of pleasure and their feelings of contentment when they knead. If your cat is kneading you, she is very relaxed and confident. She feels contented and loved. Take this as a sign that your cat is very happy with you and loves you very much.
  • Your cat might also be curious. She is touching you or putting her paw out there to figure out something about you.
  • This might also be a way of marking you as belonging to them if they release their scent glands while touching you. It can be a way of attempting to tell you they need something like water, food, and a clean sifting litter box.
  • Some cats actually “march” on their people instead of kneading them, but this behavior is pretty much for the same reasons as kneading.

So you can see that this behavior is not easy to understand. Consult with your veterinarian to rule out a medical reason and to discuss complicated emotional or behavioral issues. Remember that cats tend to be more independent than dogs. Sometimes they are less affectionate, and their way of showing love may be less obvious than a dog’s. It is easier to misinterpret a cat’s behavior, but this paw reaching toward you is most likely a sign of affection.

See Also – Why Are Your Cat’s Paws Swollen

Nicky LaMarco has been a freelance writer since 2001. Nicky is an experienced ghostwriter and copywriter. She also writes for a variety of magazines. Nicky lives in Maine with her husband, two daughters, and two cats. Learn more about her at www.nickylamarco.com.