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Why Does My Cat Cross Their Front Paws? Does This Mean They Feel Relaxed?

Cats are curious creatures. Their behavior can seem hard to determine, but some actions are clearer than others. For example, if your cat stretches one of their paws forward and lays the other paw over the top, crossing it, they’re likely totally relaxed. Cats crossing their front paws is one of the ways they show that they’re content and trust their surroundings.

If your cat has crossed its paws, it means that they’re comfortable and relaxed. Having their paws crossed in front of them means they can still jump up if they need to at a moment’s notice, but they feel safe enough to let their guard down and enjoy themselves.

Cats use a wide array of body language to convey their emotions or wants, and what they do with their paws is a large part of this. Because cats are predators, they need to be quick on their feet and ready to jump into action; this means that if their paws are folded or tucked away, they feel stable and secure enough to relax and not be on high alert.

Cats can also cross their paws when lying on their side in preparation for a big, indulgent stretch. They’ll often do this if their owner comes into a room, stretching out and rolling onto their backs in a show of comfort and contentment.

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What Does It Mean When a Cat Folds Their Paws?

Cats fold their paws underneath themselves for the same reason that they cross them in front of themselves: because they’re comfortable and feel safe. Cats have a few sitting or lying positions (like we do)that they use when they want to relax and unwind. Having their paws tucked underneath them offers a comfy way to rest while being able to stand up quickly if they need to. This way of sitting also provides warmth, as their paws are comfortably tucked up next to their chests, nestled in warm fur.

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Image Credit: Kirgiz03 , Pixabay


How Can I Tell If My Cat is Relaxed?

Cats usually make it pretty easy to tell if they’re relaxed or not, but some cats are more subtle than others. Nevertheless, there are some clear and not-so-clear indications that your cat is relaxed, which we’ll list below:

Paws Crossed or Tucked

As discussed above, if your cat sits with their paws crossed or tucked away beneath them, they feel happy and relaxed wherever they are. Cats often sit and relax for hours, but they also like to survey their surroundings; sitting paws crossed offers a quick way to jump up while being really comfortable for them at the same time.

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Eyes Closed

This is the big one in terms of facial expression: slowly closed eyes. If your cat looks toward you and slowly closes its eyes (known as the “slow blink”), this is a sure sign that your cat trusts you and is relaxed and happy. You can even do this back to your cat to show them that you love and trust them, too!

cat sleeping on owner's lap
Image Credit: Karpova, Shutterstock
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Laying On Their Back or Side

A cat who lies down on their back or side and exposes their tummy is very comfortable with you, relaxed, and happy. This position would make cats extremely vulnerable in the wild, so this is a total display of trust and relaxation, meaning your cat feels safe and comfortable around you and within your home.

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Purring is a tell-tale sign that your cat is relaxed and a lovely sound to hear. Cats purr for various reasons, but the biggest and most common reason is to display happiness and contentment. Cats can purr when they’re in pain or when they’re stressed too, but if your cat is purring and has their paws crossed or lying on their back, it’s very likely that they’re enjoying your company and are truly chilled out.

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Final Thoughts

Cats cross their paws as one of the ways they show they’re relaxed and content. Sitting with their paws crossed is comfortable for them, yet still allows them to jump into action at a moment’s notice if they need to. If your cat is crossing their paws when lying down, this shows that they’re even more chilled out, but they might also be gearing up for a big stretch or even to invite you to play.

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Featured Image Credit: Kreminska, Shutterstock