Why Your Cat Hates Their Paws Being Touched

You might have noticed while laying down with your cat that when you want to look at his cute little paws, he pulls away. Or maybe when you went to clip your cat’s nails, he got angry and bit you or ran away.

Is it really that your cat is angry? Or is there another reason for this behavior?

Cats dislike their paws being touched because paws are extremely sensitive. Paws are one of the ways cats sense the world around them: temperature, vibrations, the condition of the ground they’re on. However, there are ways to make a cat feel safe while handling their paws or clipping their nails.

Even though cats do not like their paws being touched, what can you do to make your cat feel safer? How can you cut your cat’s claws if they won’t let you touch their paw?

Our own cats typically hate having their paws touched and pull their paws away as soon as we touch them.

We’ve got the answers for you here. Read below to find out more about your cat.

Why Are Cats Paws Sensitive?

Cats are extremely sensitive to their environments.

You may know that cats use their whiskers to experience their environment, but did you know that they also use several other parts of their body as well?

When your cat is pulling his paws away from you, it’s most likely because he feels trapped, hurt, or doesn’t want to lose one of the tools he was born with. So, what are the reasons?

Cats have very sensitive paws for several reasons.

  • They use their paws as the first sensory response to their environment.
  • They use their claws as a defense mechanism.
  • Cats need to feel the change in temperature to know where it is safe to step.
  • Cats need to feel vibrations in the ground to not get hurt or hit by a car.
  • Your cat might feel trapped when you hold or touch an essential part of his body.

Now that you know why your cat’s paws are so sensitive, you can get to know your cat better, which can lead to a better relationship overall.

What Does It Mean When My Cat Lets You Touch Its Paws?

So, what if the situation is the opposite for you? If your cat lets you touch its paws, what does this mean?

Well, knowing what we already know about cats’ bodies, it’s safe to assume that this means your cat trusts you to an extent. It is also important to note that your cat may be different.

Some cats may not feel as many sensations in their paws due to an injury, sensory issues, or old age. This could also have to do with whether your cat is right or left-pawed.

A study done by the American Psychological Association on the correlation between temperament profile and profile preference found that cats that favored a certain paw were more affectionate, friendly and obedient than cats that used both paws.

In fact, kitties that don’t favor a paw were also found to be more aggressive. Maybe your cat is one of the cats with a paw preference, and therefore they’re less aggressive and allow you to touch their paws more often.

How Do Cats’ Paws Work?

On a scientific level, you might be wondering how cats’ paws work. The foot of a cat isn’t only for sensing the environment. Their feet also serve many other purposes, including:

  • Killing prey to eat
  • Playing
  • Defending themselves
  • Landing when falling or jumping
  • Climbing
  • Shock-absorbance
  • Leaving scent

Cats use their paws for many different reasons. They are likely wary of having their feet touched because of this.

Humans also use their hands for many reasons. If we were unable to use our hands, we might feel uncomfortable, unsafe, or unable to function normally. For this, cats experience the same.

They need their paws to carry out many different functions. Therefore, they most likely aren’t very comfortable with the idea of losing that function.

How Can I Clip My Cat’s Claws?

You’re probably wondering how to clip your cat’s claws if he doesn’t let you touch his feet. Why should you clip your cat’s nails at all?

It is an integral part of cat care to clip the claws of your cat. If your cat’s nails get too long, he can get hurt, lose a claw, or get his claws stuck on things in the house.

Your cat can also scratch your furniture more easily with long claws. Nail maintenance is important to every creature that has nails, just like humans.

Gently Restrain Your Cat

To firmly but gently restrict your cat’s movement, Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine suggests draping your forearms over the cat’s neck and hind end to restrain the cat in your lap.

Always be gentle as you restrain your cat.

Be Mindful Not To Damage The Quick

When you are clipping their nails, you need to make sure you don’t damage the quick.

The quick is the inside of the claw that has nerves and blood vessels.

It is extremely sensitive, and if you cut your cat here, it will bleed a lot.

Steps To Safely Clipping Your Cat’s Nails

Once you have restrained your cat and have a vet-approved set of nail clippers in hand, follow the steps below:

  • Hold the nail clippers in your dominant hand.
  • Squeeze your cat’s paw slightly to retract the claws.
  • Put the nail clipper around the claw, just before the quick.
  • Squeeze down to cut the nail.
  • Cut perpendicular to the nail, not from the side.

That’s it. You’ve learned how to cut your cat’s nails.

Always talk to your vet for more information if you’re not sure. They have experience and can help you. You don’t want to hurt your cat’s claws, as they won’t trust you in the future if you do.

How Can I Make My Cat Feel Safe with Me?

If you really want to touch your cat’s paws still after reading this, there are some things you can try.

According to Team Cat Rescue, cats react to our emotions. If we are stressed, they’ll feel it and be stressed, too. Make sure you’re not stressed when you’re petting your cat and pay close attention to their stress level.

If you see that it really bothers your cat, consider not touching your cat’s paws. Sometimes, if your cat is giving you a clear signal, it is best to respect it. It might be too stressful for both of you.

The best time to touch a cat safely is when they are awake and laying down with you or in your lap. When a cat has given you trust and is calm and comfortable, they will be in a non-defensive position. This is the safest time to touch a cat’s paws.


Cats are sensitive creatures and require a lot of care. Most cats do not like their paws being touched because of sensory issues, safety issues, and fear.

Sometimes it is best to leave your cat alone when they feel this way, but you can do things to ensure their safety. You can also still take care of your cat’s paws with extra care and steps.

Your cat is most likely one of the most important members of your family. So, make sure to listen to his or her body language and use caution when interacting with the most sensitive parts of their body.