Unfortunately, when you got your cat you didn’t get a notebook of written rules your feline goes by. Perhaps you could then just go to that one page that has the title of “Why do cats cross their paws?” and learn everything about this particular behavior.
But life just isn’t fair sometimes and you have to dig out this secret on your own. But I have to admit that it would be boring if we knew all the answers to the questions, right?
Especially regarding such mysterious creatures as cats and their behavior. I believe that’s why we find them so fascinating. Well, that and their cuddly looks and fluffy bodies!
More often than not, felines will do something that will just make you question a lot of things. You look at your pet and go “How on earth did I wind up with you!” But at the end of the day, you’re the luckiest person alive because you have your fluffy pet on your lap.
However, those cute looks and lovely eyes aren’t going to give us any answers. Therefore, let’s find out why cats cross their paws and what’s the meaning behind this behavior.
Why do cats cross their paws?
“Fluffy toe beans. Cuddly mittens. Forbidden fruit.” These are usually the thoughts that run through each cat owner’s mind when they’re looking at their feline’s paws.
There’s just something about those tiny, soft-looking feet of theirs. You want to pet them and kiss them all day long. However, most cats banned their owners from touching their paws.
I’m not going to lie; this is what makes me want to touch them even more. Nevertheless, I put my urges and wishes aside and decide to respect my feline’s choices. If not, then I get served something for misbehaving.
But why does your cat turn into a villain when you try to touch her feet? Is it because she thinks you’re going to trim her nails? Well, it might be but usually, it’s because they’re so sensitive.
Cats’ paw pads contain a lot of nerve receptors that do an amazing job every day. Thanks to their sensitive paw pads, felines can feel and understand their surroundings and gather valuable information.
Moreover, due to their sensitivity, they can feel even the slightest vibrations which is a bonus when hunting. Needless to say, touch is one of the cats’ strongest senses that shouldn’t be underestimated.
So, we understand why your pet doesn’t want her paws to be fiddled with. But is that the reason why cats cross their paws? Is she just trying to tell you to back off with her legs crossed as if putting up an “X” sign?
1. A means of communication
Due to domestication and seeing pets as our furbabies, people have forgotten how the animal world usually works. Sure, they might be our whole world, but they’re still animals that have their own means of communication.
This language is mostly nonverbal. My cat talks so much with me that I completely lost track of her body gestures. Not to mention how loud she is that I’m sometimes even left speechless.
“Give me my food! I’ve only had breakfast once this morning!” This is probably all she ever talks about because these roaring meows usually come from the kitchen. And sure enough, I can always find her next to her bowl that was emptied just minutes ago.
However, not all felines will decide to be vocal and will instead retort with a body movement. This nonverbal language can commonly get misunderstood and ignored by humans.
But why do cats cross their paws as if they have something to tell you? By the looks of it, it’s probably something judgmental because that’s all they ever do – judge their owners.
Much to our surprise, this behavior has a totally different meaning. If your cat lays down on her belly and crosses her paws, it means she’s super relaxed and minding her own business.
This is a vulnerable position for her since this way she’s putting her claws “out of use.” What this nonverbal cue usually translates into is “I’m feeling safe with you and I trust you.”
2. Getting comfy
You’re sitting on the couch on a movie night and your pet’s beside you. Of course, she’s laying down and getting ready for slumber. She needs her beauty sleep because she’s been so busy today with all the bird watching!
She’s down on her tummy and you see her cross her front paws. Why do cats cross their paws when they’re going to sleep?
Well, it’s like when you’re trying to get comfortable right before going to bed. You might twist, move, ruffle the sheets, and turn until you find the right position to sleep in.
The same goes for your pet. She’s trying to get cozy and enjoy her nap. Soon after crossing her paws, you may see your cat shutting her eyes and slowly drifting off to her dreams.
Once again, she’s letting her guard down around you by showing you “the polite pose.” She surely looks like a posh English lady with her front paws crossed!
3. Being alert
Although cats usually cross their paws when they’re getting relaxed and comfortable, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes they do this because they’re being alert.
I know what you’re thinking. Your cat with crossed paws resembles you crossing your legs when you’re chilling on the sofa. Sure, but your pet might be in this position when she’s feeling unsure of something.
If you have a feline that likes spending time outdoors as mine does, you might notice this behavior more often. This is because cats are curious but apprehensive by nature.
They want to inspect and explore different things and stay safe at the same time. This is a hard job to do and that’s why it requires a position from which she can do everything at once!
If your cat’s sitting on the front porch with her paws crossed, she might be looking for something. Perhaps she heard some birds chirping in the distance or a neighbor’s dog barking.
Besides crossed front legs, she might perk up her eyes that twitch ever so often. Her eyes will appear larger than usual and her body language will become stiff.
She holds her tail low and tries to stay in one place so as to not make a sound. These tactics are of great importance out in the wild because they can keep your feline alive.
Overall, this position usually tells you that your feline senses some danger and is trying to be on the lookout. What better guardian could you possibly need?!
4. She’s cold
“The cat loaf position” is surely self-explanatory. You take a glance at your feline and start to lose your mind because you can’t get enough of the cuteness. But where did her feet go all of a sudden?
If your pet’s lying down and seems to be missing her front paws, don’t worry. She probably tucked them away in this weird position. But why did she hide her paws? Is she cold? Are they hurting?
Even with all that fur and her coat being extremely thick, your feline might feel chilly. The coat works together with the body fat in the wild. This means that if your cat was an outdoor feline, she would probably be constantly on the move and she wouldn’t have time to feel cold.
However, things are different when she’s inside the house. Even though it’s warm and cozy, nothing can heat up your pet as some body movement. But if you have a fluff that’s just too lazy for any kind of exercise, she’ll need some extra warmth and protection.
Therefore, perhaps your pet’s been feeling a bit cold and decided it was time to warm up her toe beans. You might even notice your cat sleeping between your legs with her paws positioned this way.
If this is the case, your cat won’t cross her paws but she’ll probably try to tuck her nose in her chest as well. It’s just like when humans feel cold; their hands and noses will be the first body parts to freeze!
For instance, my pet will come up to me and headbutt me. This means that she’d like to enjoy some pets and engage in a cuddle session.
Sometimes she’ll even use her paw to gently touch my face or lightly tap anywhere on my body. This paw gesture means that she enjoys my company and likes snuggling with me.
This behavior is mostly accompanied by soft or loud purring sounds. Who doesn’t like to feel their kitty cat vibrating inside?
Affectionate cats will always find a way to tell you “I love you.” Besides these paw movements and her purring, your pet might even lick you and bite you.
This can startle you at first because you’re not sure what this is supposed to mean. If it’s a gentle nip without breaking the skin or without inflicting any pain, it’s considered a love bite. It’s also one of the ways your pet is showing her love for you even if it might look a bit unusual.
What probably caught your eye is your pet’s slow eyelid movements. If she’s making eye contact with you and constantly opening and shutting her eyes closed, it means she loves you.
This gradual and relaxed blinking is known as cat kisses. So you’re one lucky person if you’re on the receiving end! If you want to, you can slowly blink back at her to make your pet feel loved, safe, and comfortable!
If you say that your pet isn’t mischievous at least one bit, I’m not going to believe you. My cat likes to be in the center of attention all the time and she’ll do some pretty silly things to achieve her goal. Jumping on my back, meowing loudly for me to notice her, and even slapping me with her tail.
She usually does these things when she’s bored or after she wakes up from a nap. Perhaps there are no birds or squirrels to gaze at through the window and her toys just aren’t enough today.
That’s when she comes prancing down the hall and runs straight at me. She’ll tease me with her paws by touching me all over or even attempting to scratch me.
However, she’s not doing it out of hatred or trying to hurt me. All she wants is just attention and to try and get me to play with her.
If I’m not out of my seat and up ASAP, don’t worry, the persuading doesn’t stop there. She’ll resort to different strategies such as shooting daggers at me.
Once these sources are exhausted, she’ll crouch down as if she’s stalking me. This behavior usually occurs in playtime because it’s associated with their survival techniques.
And then… POUNCE! She’ll try to wrestle me and do the “bunny kicks” all while grabbing my hands and trying to bite down on them. Therefore, cats use their paws in various ways and playtime is just one of them.
Perhaps you really wanted to find out why do cats cross their paws. This question really bothered you up until now, but not anymore. It’s true that feline behaviors sometimes might be left unexplained but it’s all part of the ownership deal.
Over time, we learn to respect and understand our furry companions better although it requires some patience. However, once you look into your pet’s eyes, you know that it’s all worth it!