Why does my cat not like having its paws touched?

If you have a cat, you’ve probably noticed that felines don’t like being petted on their paws. If you are lucky enough to have a rather quiet cat, he will be a little nervous. Sometimes the animal is more violent. He bites or scratches the person responsible for his discomfort. How to explain this reaction? Here’s everything you need to know about cat paws.

The paws of a cat: anatomy

Our friends the cats walk on all fours and more precisely on the toes. This is why they belong to the category of digitigrade animals. The paws of a cat always have the same anatomy.

Cat’s paws and their fingers

Cats have:

  • 5 toes on the front legs, which are the front legs,
  • 4 toes on the hind legs, the hind legs.

It should be noted that the front and rear legs do not have the same anatomy. The front legs offer the cat great skill. It is with these paws that he can grab his toys and other objects. They are therefore more flexible. The hind legs are different, they are much more muscular and bulkier. They allow the cat to run and jump.

The pads

At the end of each of the cat’s paws, there are pads. These little clover-shaped balls are a bit rough. They play an important role which is to absorb shocks in the event of a jump or fall. Because we all know it: the cat always lands on its feet!


In addition to the pads, the fingers on the cat’s paws have claws which have the particularity of being retractable. Indeed, the cat can completely retract its claws and take them out as soon as it needs them, but not when it wishes. The reflex is involuntary.

Vigilance is essential with the claws of a cat. This part of the anatomy is a weapon for felines. Although the claws can be dangerous, it is illegal to have an onyxectomy. This surgical operation consists of amputating the last phalanx of each finger. Even if the practice offers more comfort to the owners, it harms the well-being of the animal.

The paws of a cat: what use?

The paws of a cat have several functions, they allow the animal to walk, run, jump, in short to move. The paws also allow felines to play, catch objects, hunt, climb trees or their cat tree… They even offer cats the possibility of communicating! Indeed, they leave pheromones with the passage of the cats so that they mark their territory. It is also through the paws, and in particular the pads, that cats sweat and regulate their body temperature.

The paws of a cat: great sensitivity

The paws of felines and therefore cats are very sensitive. It is for this reason that the animal does not like to be touched. There are many nerve endings. Thanks to its paws, a cat can feel a lot of sensations. In a natural environment, he can for example perceive small vibrations indicating to him that an enemy, a danger or even a prey is approaching. This extraordinary sensory capacity is complemented by hearing and smell. The paws also allow the cat to know on what type of surface it is moving. By touching his paws, you rob him of one of his senses. It’s a bit like being blindfolded!

What happens when you touch a cat’s paws?

A cat’s paws are very sensitive. But the presence of nerve endings in number does not explain the reluctance of cats. When you touch a cat’s paws, you neutralize what allows it to defend itself, namely its claws. In addition, you immobilize it. How the cat feels a prisoner and his reaction can be violent. Never force a cat to let its paws touch. His instinct dominates!

How to touch the paws of a cat?

Sometimes you have no choice and you have to touch your feline’s paws. This is the case, for example, if your cat is injured. But how do you do it? The secret to success is this: you have to earn your cat’s trust. Here are our tips.

  • Reassure your cat by talking softly and stroking it.
  • Gently massage her paws to show her that there is no danger.
  • Give her a treat before and after the massage.

Be careful, you should only touch a cat’s paws if necessary. The claws are the only defense for felines. If they don’t have it, they can come after you.

Maintain a cat’s claws?

A healthy cat is a cat with beautiful claws. How to preserve these essential assets? The first thing to do is to feed your pet well. He needs all the essential nutrients to have a beautiful coat and strong claws. Also remember to give him water at will. Your cat must hydrate himself daily.

To maintain its claws, the cat needs to go out. In the garden, it will make its claws on tree trunks or on poles. If he does not have access to the outside, consider putting a scraper in your home. There are all kinds! Some cat trees also have spaces with a scratching post. If your cat has nowhere to scratch, it will use your furniture, sofa, or rugs.