Why Do Cats Curl Their Paws?

Why Do Cats Curl Their Paws

If you are a cat parent, no doubt you have noticed some peculiar habits on your feline.

Cat sticking its tongue out, sniffing and loving the smell of bleach, or the common one, curling their paws inwards.

So why do cats fold their paws?


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.


Why do cats curl their paws inwards?

cat curled paw

Relaxation is one answer to the question “Why do cats fold their paws?”.

When your feline lies down with the front paws tucked in, it is called “the cat loaf” or “kitty loaf”.

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.

They want to spring into action in case they are attacked.

This resting position is also perfect for the cat slap.

And cats are known to smack the life out of anything or anyone that tries to upset their zen and peace.


Another reason why a cat will tuck their paws under their belly is to preserve heat.

Cats, like dogs, have paw pads that are used for heat regulation.

When it gets too hot, heat will escape through the paw pads to cool the cat.

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.

Cats have other ways to show comfort like kneading with front paws on a surface or your skin.

But this is not the only weird thing you notice in your cat.


Besides folding the paws, cats have other interesting habits worth noting.

Here are a few we find cute and what they mean to cats.


Chattering sound

This is the famous cat clicking sound that pet parents get to witness.

The chattering sound usually follows a long staring into nothingness.

When you see this, your cat just spotted something fascinating that he is trying to reach for.


It could be a bird perched on a tree or a rodent that missed him and ducked into its hideout (remember Tom n Jerry?)

The clicking or chattering sound is your cat expressing his frustration.

If it is in the wild, cats would make chattering sounds to mimic prey like birds.


Cat lying down belly up

cat lying down belly up

Your cat will lie down belly up when he is being playful.

This is also a sign that he is deeply relaxed and is having a good time.


In this state, some cats would welcome a gentle belly rub and a bit of playing.

But do not overdo it or you will earn yourself a nip.


Cat curled up into a ball

Cat curled up into a ball

Isn’t it adorable when your feline curls up into a ball on your dirty laundry or the sink bowl?

Curling up into a cute furball is your cat’s version of snuggling.


It helps him keep warm as he counts a thousand sheep through the night.

Cats living together tend to curl together in a ball.


Lying down in Sphinx position

cat sphinx pose

Your feline assumes the cat loaf but this time the head is erect like the Sphinx statue.

The paws are straightened as opposed to curling inwards.

This is still a relaxing position for your cat.


But he is more alert or anticipating something.

You might have seen your cat doing this


Cat staring into space

cat staring into space

Sometimes your kitty will stare into nothingness without making a sound.

He may look stunned but he is staring at something you cannot see.


It could also be that he hears a faint noise that you cannot hear.

It is normal for cats to behave this way.



The problem with cats is that they get the same look on their face whether they see a moth or an ax-murderer

-Paula Poundstone



Bringing home the kill

If your cat loves you, he might want to give you gifts once in a while.

One such gift is sharing the kill he caught in your garden.

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.


Fitting in strange places

cat on a small box

Cats love to perch in the oddest of places.

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.



Learn More:

How Much Space Does a Cat Need



Cats always seek small spaces to rest in.

They feel safer in hiding than being out in the open where predators can spot them easily.

Getting your feline a small cat house could stop him from sleeping or resting in odd places.


Eating everything but food

Ever noticed your cat chewing on weird objects like plastic, cloth, or inedible plants?

If it happens once a while, then your cat is bored and trying to find ways to entertain himself.


But if eating non-food items become rampant, it could be a behavioral condition called Pica.

Pica stems from underlying physical or psychological problems.

VIDEO: Cat Chews on Plastic


Final thoughts

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.

Which other weird cat behaviors do you know about?

Leave us a comment below.


See Also

Frequently Asked Questions

Cats are pros when it comes to the stare down. 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. If your cat is lifting one paw to constantly nudge you, they are probably looking for attention. Spend more time with your cat to prevent separation anxiety.

Cats, especially kittens, love to play box on other cats and humans. They are just having fun and it is no cause for alarm. But if your cat uses his claws to hit you, it is a behavior you do not want to encourage.

Cats learn to knead with their paws when suckling their mother’s milk. The kneading behavior is a way to show affection and appreciation. When your cat kneads your skin, it is his way of saying ‘I Love You’.


A pet owner who loves to share useful facts and information about a variety of animals.