“Why Does My Cat Touch My Face with His Paw?” 15 Theories

There are a number of odd behaviours that fairly a lot of cats appear to have interaction in, sufficient for that behaviour to appear to be extra of a feline or cat factor moderately than simply an odd quirk of a person cat.

A few of these feline behaviours are way more widespread than others. Scratching, purring, and kneading, as an illustration, are widespread to most each cat.

Against this, biting then licking (or licking then biting), nibbling on human fingers, and sleeping on the foot of the mattress are behaviours so much much less cats will interact in, however fairly a couple of appear to do no matter the truth that they’re not across-the-board forms of feline behaviours.

Touching a human face with a paw and holding it there, and even pawing at a human face in a fashion one thing like gently stroking or petting is a type of behaviours, I really feel.

Plenty of cats do it, some extra ceaselessly than others, and so it appears more likely to me it’s a cat factor moderately than a quirk of the odd cat or two.

Both means, there aren’t any analysis research which have been performed on the matter (to my information at the very least – let me know if you already know of related ones within the feedback part please!).

Completely advantageous, nevertheless it implies that not one of the theories I’ll be posting on this article are backed in any means by science.

They’re simply guesses, primarily based on my instinct or the instinct of others across the internet whose ideas I’ve discovered on boards, question-and-answer model websites, the feedback part on different posts of mine – mainly across the internet.

Let me know if any of the theories strike you as extra possible than others, in case your cat does this, which principle you are feeling describes his or her behaviour higher, and for those who can consider any extra theories that didn’t occur to make it to this listing.

Can’t wait to listen to your tales & ideas within the feedback under! With out additional ado…

Theories That Could Clarify Why Cats Contact Human Faces with Their Paws

1. To get your consideration.

Sure, cats undoubtedly want consideration, and to be trustworthy, a number of cats want far more consideration than many would assume cats ever may need, primarily being on the verge of being “consideration whores” so to talk.

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Some individuals love this, some individuals hate it.

When you might love this or battle with a extremely attention-demanding cat relying on how a lot consideration you are feeling you may give, both means, a number of occasions – this act does appear to be a means of grabbing consideration from you.

What’s extra “in your face” (pun supposed) than a paw to your nostril, cheek, or chin? Laborious not to concentrate to that!

2. As a type of affection, like he/she is petting you.

There are a number of theories round how precisely cats touching human faces interprets to being a type of affection, however irrespective of whether or not or not you imagine these explicit causes behind the behaviour ring true, there does appear to be a large case to be made for the essential concept that it's an affectionate act.

3. As a type of mimicry, copying your petting actions and returning them again to you.

There could also be one thing to the idea that cats copy our actions, like the way in which we sit, or the way in which we stand; simply basically behaviours of ours that they see and mimic again at us.

If this mimicry is ever confirmed to be a factor, I’m guessing touching our faces and stroking or petting them would undoubtedly be on the prime of the listing of behaviours that will match into this class.

Trixie Minou Cuddly Cave Cat Mattress – Amazon / Chewy

4. As a type of testing you – asking you to belief she or he gained’t harm you with claws.

I’ve learn this principle being recommended by a couple of completely different individuals. It’s an attention-grabbing one, although I don't know how you'd even start to attempt testing it out.

It looks like we might anthropomorphize a bit an excessive amount of with this one for me to wholeheartedly imagine it, as I don’t suppose cats can actually conceptualize testing you, personally, not to mention testing you by placing his or her paws close to your face with out scratching.

That being mentioned, you by no means know! This might become true, that means felines are way more clever than most would ever suppose to provide them credit score for.

5. As a type of displaying belief – that you simply gained’t chunk his or her paw though it’s subsequent to your face.

Alongside an identical vein, but utterly completely different and even the alternative practically of the final level. A cat ought to have the ability to conceptualize you may chunk her or him along with your mouth for this to make sense.

I've no drawback with this a part of the idea, cats can undoubtedly perceive a mouth is for consuming and for those who fake to chunk a cat that’s by no means been “play” bitten earlier than, a cat will usually yelp and attempt to run, afraid.

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However the cat additionally has to consider placing his or her paw close to your mouth, whereas trusting for it to not be bitten, and form of suppose that this is likely to be a type of displaying belief?

This looks like a stretch to me, however let me know for those who suppose cats are attainable of this intricate a thought within the feedback.

Perhaps it’s a extra unconscious factor than alongside the strains I’m pondering? Like they belief you adequate to let their arms go close to the place that may harm them.

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6. As a result of she or he was stretching & your face was a snug resting place as soon as performed.

Cats like to stretch, and who can blame them – stretching is nice for us as properly and if we did it as a lot as a cat, I’m certain we’d have a heck of so much much less rigidity in our shoulders!

After a cat’s performed stretching, she or he typically rests a paw in an odd place, so why not your face?

It’s a heat, tender, fairly padded place if a cheek or a nostril is picked. Is sensible to me.

7. As a result of she or he is reaching towards you affectionately and your face occurs to be the closest a part of your physique.

Certainly one of my cats, Bjorn, sticks his arm out straight whereas stretching to demand cuddles.

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How do I do know he’s demanding cuddles? As a result of if I cuddle him straight after he’s tremendous happy, and ceases the behaviour.

Typically, nonetheless, he’ll stretch out towards me affectionately once we’re sitting on the sofa and he’s already snuggled up subsequent to me fortunately.

I can think about if my face occurred to be mendacity within the spot he was reaching towards me affectionately in, he’d merely let his paw relaxation on my face as an alternative of on my leg or hand or wherever he occurred to be reaching.

8. Whenever you’re asleep: to wake you up.

This wants no actual rationalization. Everyone knows how properly one thing on our face works towards waking us up within the morning – even for these of us who're notably tough to wake.

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Loads of pet dad and mom appear to have cats who do that. Mine select to wake me up within the morning with meows and cries for kibble, however I’m 100% sure a paw on my face could be simply as efficient.

It’s my very own fault, nonetheless. I select to make use of them as a cat alarm clock that forestalls me from sleeping in.

I may all the time feed them by hand as soon as within the evenings solely, and let the PetSafe Automated Pet Feeder I purchased to provide the boys meals all through the day deal with the mornings for me.

PetSafe Wholesome Pet Merely Feed Automated Cat & Canine Feeder – Amazon / Chewy
Catit Design Senses Meals Maze – Amazon / Chewy

9. To inform you he/she needs one thing, like meals or to be set free.

This appears to be a extremely widespread, actually apparent option to get a message throughout primarily based on what a number of pet dad and mom report.

In case your cat needs one thing specifically, like so that you can open the entrance door to let her or him out, so that you can refill kibble or hand over some snacks, it’s actually possible you’ll already know because of this your cat touches your face, as you’ll virtually actually go to do the factor she or he needs from you after being ordered (and possibly even pestered for those who have been asleep when this occurred) to do the deed.

10. To ask particularly for cuddles & to be pet.

I’ve alluded to this so much all through this text, however I haven’t but outright mentioned it. Plenty of occasions cats put their paws in your face, not only for consideration, however to particularly demand to be pet and cuddled.

I don't know what the approximate share of cats who do that behaviour particularly need this one factor because of this, however my guess is it’s excessive, and that means over 50%, possibly even 70 or 80% need cuddles after they contact a human face.

11. As a result of she or he’s feeling playful & making an attempt to get you to play.

Whereas it’s not all the time the case, cats will usually nip and chunk at ft, legs, and ankles after they’re feeling playful and need to get your consideration particularly so you may assist them set free their hunter prey drive. Equally, some cats appear to paw at faces in an effort to get their pet dad and mom’ consideration for a spherical of play.

Should you suppose this is likely to be what your cat is after, and it occurs very often, attempt investing in some toys cats can play with by themselves, my boys’ favourites being cat springs and cat kick toys just like the Kong Kickeroo.

They’ll assist your cat get out power whenever you’re not round in addition to whenever you’re sadly too busy to play after they occur to get that urge to hunt.

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Catit Design Senses Play Circuit Gentle Up Ball Monitor Cat Toy – Amazon / Chewy

12. Whenever you’re holding him/her: as a result of your face or nostril is a snug resting place for his or her paw.

My husband Thomas likes to carry our cats near his face when he cuddles them, and so they usually oblige.

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He usually places them down after a brief, pleasant squeeze, but when he holds them for lengthy sufficient, they’ll usually relaxation a single paw on his nostril, on his beard, or on his cheek – no matter’s closest or occurs to be in a pleasant place for resting their paws.

I completely suppose it is a matter of consolation since they don’t usually do it till it’s been some time that they’ve been held.

13. Additionally whenever you’re holding him/her: to maintain your face a bit distance away & keep a private bubble.

This can be a secondary cause why the boys prefer to put a paw on Thomas. I’ve seen it talked about across the internet a pair occasions, since everyone knows how a lot cats like their private bubble typically.

I undoubtedly suppose it’s attainable, and one in every of my two cats, Bjorn, might even imply one thing additional when he places a paw on Thomas’ face…

14. Once more when holding him/her: to forestall you from giving kisses for those who do and your cat dislikes them.

I additionally discovered this cause listed on-line someplace, and sure by no means would’ve considered it till it was talked about.

Our first cat, Avery, loves kisses. He understands they’re a type of affection, won't ever wince or run away once we kiss him, and can even rub his face on the sides of our glasses if we’re holding him and kissing him, and thus he’s inside attain of our specs.

That being mentioned, our second cat, Bjorn, completely doesn’t like being kissed – most probably as a result of he nonetheless hasn’t grown used to them, as over the previous few months, he’s not recoiling like he used to to being kissed on the top.

He was additionally fearful of being “eaten” and would run and cry for those who made “om nom” noises close to his face.

Once more – he’s getting used to this sort of play, so ultimately, we’re guessing he’ll be utterly un-phased and never even budge at any of this, identical to Avery. He practically is already.

However within the meantime, if he’s already being picked up, and he's not the most important fan of kisses, I can see him wanting to maintain Thomas’ face at a bit distance partially to forestall the potential for kisses, which do occur very often when cuddles are being delved out.

Hopefully, this gained’t be the case for lengthy, and he’ll develop to see kisses as a type of human affection as Avery firmly does.

15. To scent you and mark you as his or her personal.

Cats have scent glands on the pads of their paws, and so after they contact your face, identical to after they rub up in opposition to it with their higher lip and whiskers, they depart their scent on you and form of mark you as their very own territory.

I personally suppose this can be part of the entire story, however undoubtedly isn’t sufficient of a proof all on it’s personal.

Your Ideas on Cats Pawing Human Faces?

Why do you suppose cats paw at, contact, and typically even relaxation their paws on human faces for fairly a while?

Have your cats ever performed this? What kind of touching do your cats do? Is it a paw that stays immobile in your face for a very long time, a short while? Is it a pawing movement, one thing like human petting?

Why do you suppose your cats do that? Are there a number of causes? One overwhelming one?

Which explanations do you suppose usually tend to clarify why cats basically contact human faces with their paws? Which do you suppose are the least possible causes?

Love to listen to your ideas, experiences, and tales within the feedback down under!

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About the Author: Thien Bao

Hello, my name is ThienBao. I am a freelance developer specializing in various types of code.