body language: lifting paw?

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This topic contains 12 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  kaits_mama 8 years, 1 month ago.

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    In looking at kittens to adopt, I was was trying to read body language.

    When I tried to pet one kitten (the one who immediately went to sleep in my lap every time I picked her up), she lifted her paw when my hand came near her, as if to keep my hand away from her.

    I recently heard that a cat raising its paw is a threat. Was she scared of my hand?

    I noticed when the male human in the household went to pet her, she did the same thing with the lifting her paw, but then she plopped on the ground and exposed her belly to him as if to go submissive.

    Or was she just trying to play with our hands?



    A dog plops on the ground and shows it’s belly to be submissive. It’s pack behavior, exposing its most vulnerable spot to the alpha dog to show it’s not a threat.

    A cat exposing its belly and allowing it to be petted is a sign of massive trust. A raised paw may be a sign of curiosity. My Sophie does it all the time. Look at the ears and tail as well. Alert, erect ears, a calm, relaxed tail and the raised paw indicate curiosity, not fear. Are the claws out? A frightened cat will crouch, protecting its belly, ears go back, and claws come out. Hissing and spitting may occur. Sounds like you’ve just encountered a cat who likes to investigate with his/her paws.

    However, be careful about petting a cat’s belly. Some will roll over and show their belly, but don’t want to be touched. My MILs cat, Demon, was like that. Showed her belly, but don’t touch unless you want a paw full of claw.



    Thanks Gizzysauntie. Sounds like it was just curiosity then. The rest of her was all relaxed, claws not out. The man even said she likes her belly rubbed and I saw him rub it. But they also called her a “troublemaker” and said she instigates play fights with her littermates.



    My kit Dot lifts her paw when something has caught her interst…it is as cute as can be…she is my little huntress!


    My Patches lifts her paw and touches my face when she wants attention. I think the kitten just wanted you to pet her. Sounds like you found the one!



    Cato lifts his paws to take something out of my hands. I have recently taught him to shake because he so wants to hold anything I am holding and raises his paws all the time. A behaviorist suggested I teach him some tricks as a way to reassert my dominance…..he now sits on command and will shake after sitting if asked. I am, however, ready for him to claw me while he shakes my hand. I feel he still wants control over me 🙂 Elizabeth



    Dr Fuzz and Gizzy Girl both lift their paws out of curiosity. Dr Fuzz also lifts his with his claws out when he is mad but no claws = no mad. It sounds to m like that particualr cat is just curious and likes to explore with its paws!



    My sumi is the ultimate ‘troublemaker’ and with that comes the most affectionate and entertaining little character you could meet! She tortures her big sister with her endless attacks and games, but I know she will be a calm adult all too soon, and I savour her energy and kitten personality while it’s here. She lifts her paw (no claws) to my face while gazing directly into my eyes, and touches my cheeks, nose, mouth (tries to stick a paw in my eyes too). For her it’s a tactile exploration of her mewmy’s face. She uses her paws like we use our hands. She also rolls over for her tummy to be tickled, though it always turns into a play fight. I think the kitten you saw sounds like a real little cutie! Take her home!



    Lucy lifts her paw to a person’s face when she comes to visit them. Then she touches her nose to said person’s face. I think all cats have different ways of communicating.



    my cat Ginger Paw favors one of her paws. she doesnt like it to touch the ground and whenevr she isn’t moving she almost always lifts it above ground. she licks it and cleans it all the time. Its her one orange colored paw (hense the name ginger paw) I dont think this is sign language, just one cooky cat who really likes her precious ginger paw



    That is so cute!! 🙂



    My kitty lifts his paw when I give him kisses over and over and he doesn’t want anymore hehe. But his claws are never out. Your situation sounds like a sign of curiosity to me.



    my baby does the “talk to the paw” as i call it when im trying to nuzzle him and he’s had enough. he raises his paw (no claws) to my face to stop me from coming in for the nuzzle, and at the same time looks away. he makes it perfectly clear that he doesnt want my face near him like that.

    Your kitty sounds like a curious one who explores with her paws

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