Why Do Cats Fold Their Paws?

Cats are a mysterious animal that has left scientists amazed for ages. Keeping these things aside, no one can disagree that cats are equally neat and cute.

If you own a cat and have cleverly noted it exhibiting a range of actions to your amazement, I bet one of them is folding (curling or crossing) the paws. To describe this, youll notice your cat lying upright over its belly, with both front legs extended in the forward direction and slowly crossing them over one another or merely folding them.

If your cat is folding, crossing, or crawling its front legs, it can signify its relaxed position or if she is feeling comfortable. Just like humans stretch their bodies to feel comfortable and relaxed, cats replicate the same through their front paws. In either case, if the cat is continuously folding the front paws, it can mean that she isnt feeling comfortable.

However, due to unknown reasons, she may behave strangely and feel unwilling to communicate or play. Some owners assume their cat to be suffering from any issue for showing this sort of behavior, but vets certify that its natural and nothing to ponder over. If its winter season around you and your cat is feeling cold, she is more likely to preserve all the amount of heat her body has stored inside to an extent.

Dogs may keep their eyes scrolling here and there and the ears upright to enter the alert mode. While a cat sitting folding its legs may appear relaxed and comfortable, it is alert and suspicious of its surroundings. Another common reason why your cat is folding, curling, or crossing its paws is that she may prepare herself for a quick nap.

For example, if the cat is sitting with folded, crossed, or curled up paws for long, she is ready to sleep. You must have noticed that animals sleep and sit in several positions like upright, with paws folded in or out, etc. Its more like an attentive position for them as cats are hunters by instinct and lived in the forests before getting domesticated.

Another thing to note here is that if any situation arises which will require them to stand up fast, their folded position will boost their front body. If your cat likes sitting close to you and resting her head on your lap, youll notice that she will gradually fold/cross her front legs. Your felines arent sending secret Morse code messages to one another when they lay with their paws crossed or tucked underneath their belly.

Im sure weve all noticed that our cats have their own quirks and strange behaviors, but one thing that seems to unite most cats is their ability to turn themselves into a fluffy loaf of bread.

So, its not unusual for a cat to shift into this solid bread-like mass when it gets cold, and as the day progresses this pose slowly but surely will turn into a rolled-up ball. They might give you a few slow blinks in return, to let you know theyre relaxed and happy, and in some cases, they might even untuck their paw to let it rest on your leg.

Both of my cats seem to loaf in two different ways, the oldest will use this pose as a sign of deep relaxation which slowly progresses into a state of sleep, while the youngest sits by the window, with his paws and tail tucked in, and listens to the birds chirping, or our neighbors arguing. Taking the form of a fluffy loaf of bread gives your cat an advantage, theyre still alert and suspicious of their surroundings. You can also test it out, simply make a noise that will catch their attention, a whistle perhaps, or grab their favorite toy and watch as they quickly rise to play with you!

Simply let your feline loaf of bread have their moment of peace, and when theyre done Im quite positive theyll be running back to you, meowing about how theyve missed you! Mastering your kittys tools of communication, which are the ears, eyes, tail, overall body, and meows you should be able to understand what mood your fluffy companions is in, especially when theyre in the loaf of bread position. Paying close attention to your cats ears will help you understand if theyre focused on watching the birds or just in a state of relaxed bliss.

As some reports state with the act of narrowing the eyes appearing to be associated with positive emotional communication in a range of species. Make sure to observe their body in different situations. A scared kitty will use a flight or fight stance in which their body looks and feels stiff, their tail is either tucked between their legs or stands upright and fluffed out. Our feline companions are individuals, and youll find plenty of cats that would rather spend their lounging hours, sitting or lying in different positions.

Cats are creatures of comfort. Curling their paws inwards is one way of achieving relaxation. Also, cat folding its paws is a defense mechanism. It allows the cat to spring into fight or flee mode in case of danger.

This position is perfect for your cat to take a snooze in or bask in the window sunlight. Also, if you notice your kitty folding the front paws, they are maintaining their ready mode.

Another reason why a cat will tuck their paws under their belly is to preserve heat. When the cat feels cold, they will tuck their paws under their belly to prevent heat loss. Most times, a cat having its paws tucked inside is a clear sign that they feel safe and comfortable.

Besides folding the paws, cats have other interesting habits worth noting. It could be a bird perched on a tree or a rodent that missed him and ducked into its hideout (remember Tom n Jerry?) In this state, some cats would welcome a gentle belly rub and a bit of playing.

Isnt it adorable when your feline curls up into a ball on your dirty laundry or the sink bowl? Your feline assumes the cat loaf but this time the head is erect like the Sphinx statue. So when you find birds, insects, or rodents left on your bedroom door, you now know who your secret Santa is?

If this habit grosses you out, a cat bell will help minimize the hunting. If it is not your bathroom sink, it can be the tiny space between your wall and TV stand or high up on the curtain box. If kitty had the chance, he would perch inside an empty cereal box too.

Ever noticed your cat chewing on weird objects like plastic, cloth, or inedible plants? But if eating non-food items become rampant, it could be a behavioral condition called Pica. It is normal for a cat to curl their paws inwards when relaxing and warming themselves.

Also, curling the paws inwards gets your cat ready to fight or flee in case of danger. Because they are born hunters, their eyes are naturally adapted to blink less so they can spot and keep track of prey. A stern stare is often accompanied by a silent pacing when closing in on prey.

A cat will lift one paw up if it is anticipating something like you tossing it its favorite toy or treat. Cats learn to knead with their paws when suckling their mothers milk.

Why do cats fold their paws?

If you have ever witnessed your cat or any cat folding, curling, or crossing its paws, there are several reasons behind this.However, the most common reason is that cats fold their paws to feel relaxed or feel comfortable.To describe this, you’ll notice your cat lying upright over its belly, with both front legs extended in the forward direction and slowly crossing them over one another or merely folding them.After doing this, they will rotate their eyes around the entire room to behave as if they are waiting for someone special to arrive.Besides this, there are several other reasons behind your cat folding its cat, which you’ll find later in this article.

Meaning of cats folding their paws

Cats are some of those animals that exhibit several actions, among which one is folding their paws.The exact meaning behind this behavior of cats is still not concrete as per the experts. However, for reference, a cat folding its front paws indicates its relaxed mood or comfortable mood.

Reasons your cat is folding its paws:

As said above, there are several reasons behind your cat folding, crossing, or curling its front paws. Some researchers label this position as the “loaf position.” Let’s discuss the reasons behind this behavior below.

4. The cat is alert

Dogs may keep their eyes scrolling here and there and the ears upright to enter the alert mode. But the cats denote their alertness differently.While a cat sitting folding its legs may appear relaxed and comfortable, it is alert and suspicious of its surroundings.Try doing something suspicious around your cat while it is in a relaxed position to test it out. It will more likely get up and come closer to you to see what’s happening.

8. It’s a common habit of cats.

Last but not least, just like humans fold up their hands and legs owing to their habits, cats too fold up their paws as they are habitual to such behavior and actions.So, these are the reasons why cats fold, cross, or curl up their paws.Related:

Why do cats cross their front paws?

If your cat likes sitting close to you and resting her head on your lap, you’ll notice that she will gradually fold/cross her front legs.While some cats will cross their legs upon resting on your lap, others may not feel the same. They might milk your knee or thigh to feel comfortable.They will cross their front paws while they are alone and sitting on a chair.Or if they are watching you doing the same as cats can pick actions very quickly. All in all, cats crossing their front paws is the same as they fold in their paws.

Reason 1: For Body Heat Preservation

Just like humans, animals have different techniques to regulate their body temperature according to their environment. A cat’s normal body temperature is 101.0 to 102.5°F (38.3 to 39.2°C), while the normal human body temperature is 98.6°F (37°C), which goes to show why cats always look for the warmest spot in the house.While you may see your cat stretch their body into infinity during the warmer months, they’ll do the exact opposite when it’s cold. Our feline companions will sleep in our beds, look for warm blankets, shed, or replace their coats with thicker ones just to keep their temperature from falling.Extremities like our fingers or your cat’s paws lose heat faster than other areas of the body. Just as people are quick to get cold hands outside, our cat’s paws are more likely to get cold when compared to part of their core.By tucking in their paws that are more delicate and aren’t covered in fur, they’re able to protect them from the cold- or at least warm them up. This way they preserve their body heat, without spending any energy, and if you take a look at their tail you’ll probably see it curled around their body.So, it’s not unusual for a cat to shift into this solid bread-like mass when it gets cold, and as the day progresses this pose slowly but surely will turn into a rolled-up ball.

Reason 2: A Sign Of Comfort

One of the things I truly love about my cats, and cats in general, is their ability to find the most comfortable places to be lazy. They always end up sleeping among the softest of bedsheets and blankets or simply sitting in a box with their paws folded in.Mikel Delgado, a cat researcher at UC Davis, tells us that “generally speaking, a cat who is lying with their paws tucked underneath them is considered relaxed. They aren’t preparing to defend themselves or run away.”When you see your cat loafing in their favorite spot, be it the cat tree by the window, on your bed, or even next to you, take a moment to observe them. They might give you a few slow blinks in return, to let you know they’re relaxed and happy, and in some cases, they might even untuck their paw to let it rest on your leg.

Reason 3: Your Cat Is Alert

Both of my cats seem to loaf in two different ways, the oldest will use this pose as a sign of deep relaxation which slowly progresses into a state of sleep, while the youngest sits by the window, with his paws and tail tucked in, and listens to the birds chirping, or our neighbors arguing.You can notice that your kitty isn’t in a completely relaxed state, but they’re listening to the surroundings instead, taking in every sound. Their ears will twitch, and occasionally they will open their eyes to look at the possible source of that sound.Taking the form of a fluffy loaf of bread gives your cat an advantage, they’re still alert and suspicious of their surroundings. If they do hear an interesting noise, or something fearful comes their way they can quickly tuck their paws out and run for the hills.Unless of course, they’re anything like this cat, that seems to have forgotten how to go from loaf to cat!You can also test it out, simply make a noise that will catch their attention, a whistle perhaps, or grab their favorite toy and watch as they quickly rise to play with you!

Reason 5: They’re Uncomfortable

Some cats will try to take on a typically comfortable position even if they aren’t feeling very well. If your cat seems to be lethargic, spending all their day sitting with their paws tucked in, then they could be in pain or feeling sick.Delgado also states that “a cat who is still perched on their paws may be in pain, so it’s good to know if the paws are totally tucked.” That’s why make sure to check your cat’s paws if you see them acting suspiciously, or pulling them away from you. If you’re not sure what might be causing such discomfort make sure to take your cat for a check-up.

Do All Cats Tuck Their Paws In?

While most of us have seen our cats loafing around the house, there are of course cats that prefer different ways of sitting, and this doesn’t mean your cat doesn’t know how to preserve their own heat, and it certainly doesn’t mean your cat isn’t comfortable.Our feline companions are individuals, and you’ll find plenty of cats that would rather spend their lounging hours, sitting or lying in different positions. Some cats, like the Maine Coon breed are usually spotted with their front paws crossed instead, which is almost the same as folding their paws in, only instead of a loaf of bread they’re simply majestic!Then of course there are the cats that like to sit with their paws straight out, sphinx-style!