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

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on June 6, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

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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 be hard to decipher, 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 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 their paws, they’re comfortable and relaxed. 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 it.

Because cats are predators, they need to be quick on their feet and ready to jump into action; 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 it if their owner enters the room, stretching out and rolling onto their backs in a show of comfort and contentment.

3 cat face divider

What Does It Mean When a Cat Folds Their Paws?

Cats fold their paws underneath themselves for the same reason they cross them; they’re comfortable and feel safe. Cats use a few sitting or lying positions when they want to relax and unwind.

Having their paws tucked underneath them offers a comfy way to rest while allowing them to stand up quickly if necessary. This way of sitting also provides warmth since their paws are comfortably tucked next to their chests, nestled in warm fur.

cat sitting
Image by: Kirgiz03 , Pixabay


How Can I Tell If My Cat is Relaxed?

Cats usually make it pretty easy to tell if they’re relaxed, 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 with their paws crossed offers a quick way to jump up while being comfortable at the same time.

cat sleeping on owner's lap
Image by: Karpova, Shutterstock

Eyes Closed

If your cat looks toward you and slowly closes their eyes (known as the “slow blink”), it is a sign that they trust you and are relaxed and happy. You can even do this back to your cat to show them that you love and trust them, too!

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 vulnerable in the wild, so it is a total display of trust and relaxation, and your cat feels safe and comfortable around you.

sleepy cat laying on the lap of owner
Image Credit: Alena Ozerova, Shutterstock


Purring is a tell-tale sign that your cat is relaxed and is 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, 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.

cat paw divider

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 crosses their paws when lying down, they’re even more relaxed, but they might be gearing up for a big stretch or inviting you to play.

Featured Image Credit: Kreminska, Shutterstock

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