Why Does My Cat Reach His Paw Out to Me? – 10 Reasons

Written by

Amy Sawy

Veterinarian. DVM


Joseph M. Plummer

Veterinarian, DVM, MVZ

why does my cat reach his paw out to me

Cats do many unexpected things–from the quirkiest to the sweetest—that make them oddly irresistible. When my cat went straight to me and showed me her paw, I asked myself, “why does my cat reach his paw out to me?”

I realized my cat wanted to get my attention when I petted her, which became a positive reinforcement. So, she repeated the same behavior to get some good petting from me.

10 Reasons Why My Cat Touch Me With Her Paw

I’ll give you more detailed reasons why cats stretch out one paw on their owners. The answers may vary, but you know best as the cat parent.

1. “Pet me! Pet me!”


When cats put their paw on your lap, it could mean they want something from you. They are screaming at the back of their minds that they wish for some lovely petting and snuggling.

Isn’t it nice to have someone who appreciates your presence and wants your love and attention?

Cats don’t have the best reputation. Some people might say, “It’s aggression!” But no, there’s a vast difference between aggression and fancying to get some nice human touch from their owners.

Mine does that, thinking she’ll receive a great reward. And that is to be petted by me. So, my cat putting paw on me becomes her odd routine.

2. “I own you, you’re mine!”


In the wild, cats scratch posts and trees to show other animals that are part of their territory.

In the same way, cats take you as their possession by leaving their scent on you. Surprisingly, cat paws have small scent glands, allowing them to transfer the scents to everything they mark.

Of course, it’s not like your cats are extremely possessive over you. They just want you to be part of their family.

3. “Hey, hooman. Feed me!”


Cats are intelligent creatures. They will instantly know if their actions will have the desired result.

For example, when I fed my cat right after tapping me, she did it more than three times a day. That’s when I realized that my cat putting a paw on me means she loves to get some food.

This kind of scenario also happens early in the morning. My cat wakes me up and puts her (fresh-from-the-litter) paw into my mouth. I know, for sure, that she’s begging me for food.

4. “Why you lookin’ at me? I’m just stretching.”


Cats can sleep around 12-18 hours a day. Oh, what a great life just to lay around without worrying about the next day. But cats can also feel stiff at times despite being flexible.

Therefore, the best way to fix your cats’ stiffness is by showing their paws and stretching like there’s no tomorrow. So, if you see them raising their paws on you, they just need a little warm-up to continue throughout the day.

5. “Hey, look at me!”


Contrary to the stereotype, cats are truly social animals. They love hanging out with their feline friends and owners. They want to hang out with you if they confidently show their paws with lovely pleading eyes.

I believe that cats’ behaviors also indicate wanting other people’s attention. I notice they do many crazy things that make us more attentive to their needs.

Cats show their love randomly and in the most unexpected way. And this one has something to do with their stretched paws.

6. “Get away from me!”


Cats would indeed love to get attention from you, depending on their mood and emotional needs. However, you must remember that, like humans, they also set some boundaries.

That happened once with me when my cat stretched her paw at me. I loved petting her and wanted to kiss her from time to time. But guess what? He just stopped me right there.

By then, I understood the importance of respecting my cat’s space. I let her come with me according to her own accord rather than pleading for her attention.

7. “I trust you, okay?”


The owners’ treatment of their cats is a significant factor in their attitudes. So, if you are fostering one, understand that they might act timid around you.

However, cats know better if their new owners care for them. They would love it better when they give them personal space and wait for them to reach out first.

So, if they reach out their paws to you, they want to acknowledge you as part of their family. And that’s because they trust you enough.

I also notice that my cat spreads his toes when I touch him. This action indicates that my cat will give it all out by giving me better access.

Kitten stretching paws is also another indication that it starts to get acquainted with you.

8. “I’m bored. Can you please play with me?”


Have you seen your cats reach their paw on you, then run away suddenly? That means they would love to have playtime with you. And yes, seize the moment. Make memories while you can.

9. “I’m in pain.”


Cats are the best at hiding pain. You’ll never know they’re experiencing pain unless they show symptoms.

So, if you see your cat stretching out their paws accompanied by limping, you must book a vet visit immediately.

10. “Ohh, I love that.”


In my many years of owning cats, there’s one thing I always remember—my cats love massages.

Whenever I massage one of my cats and pet her from the head to the base of her tail, she automatically stretches and reaches her paws to me.

After stretching out, her paws are in kneading action, which means my cat feels satisfied.

How Do I Stop My Cat From Tapping Me With Her Paw While Sleeping?

Being a fur parent for a long time made me realize that earning love from my beloved cats was a great achievement. However, sometimes my sleep got disrupted just to get her some dry food (when I just filled her bowl last night).

So, here are the things I did to set my boundaries and let her understand that by being firm.

1. Set a feeding routine.

A feeding routine lets your cat’s body system have its clock. If they are fond of free-feeding, but the bowl gets empty fast while you are asleep, you know what happens next.

By practicing this tip, you are not just helping yourself to get a good night’s sleep, but you are also being more responsible for your cats’ health. In this way, they can be more fit and active.

2. Just stay still.

No matter how hard it is to resist your cats’ cuteness, don’t give them the attention they want when they try to wake you up while sleeping or in the morning. Once you give in, they will be more persistent in doing it the next day.

It takes a lot of determination to resist their plea. But keeping a healthy boundary is also crucial in keeping your pet-owner relationship.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my cat reach his paw out to touch me?

It shows your cats feel happy or content with your company. This usually happens when you’re snuggling and petting them with your hands. Cats know how to mimic, and putting their paws on you is the same as petting.

Why do cats stretch in front of you?

After sleeping more than 12 hours a day, cats stretching paws despite being flexible. At this moment, they are showing their most vulnerable self because they trust you enough as their owner.

What does it mean when a cat reaches for your face?

When your cats touch your face, it means they love you. They want your presence, and it’s enough to make them feel comfortable and content. It is also usually accompanied by a loud purring.

Why does my cat put this paw on my mouth?

One of the biggest reasons for that is you’re crossing their boundaries. If you love kissing them until they feel irritated, expect their litter-filled paws on your mouth.


Cats use their paws to communicate, whether to show they like or hate something.

So, why does my cat reach his paw out to me? The answer depends on the treatment they get. If I’m too busy, my cat puts a paw on me to ask for my attention.

But there are other times she uses her paws to set clear boundaries when I am getting overboard in showering her love through hugs and kisses.

Nonetheless, cats are unique with their funny antics. They aren’t afraid to show what they are and how they feel toward their owners.

5/5 - (2 votes)