I adopted a stray female cat back in July and everything is going great, she's very lovely.

However, she have a habit that makes me smile but I wanted to know what it means.

Sometimes, when I walk through the house and pass beside her, she gives a paw stroke on my foot (most of the time when I have slippers). No claws, just a usual cat paw stroke. It seems it's a play thing, but I wanted to know if it's something else.

I'm sorry if my question is non-sense, I never had cats before so I don't know about their behaviors.

  • do your cat show other types of play/hunting behaviour like ambush/suprise attack. – trond hansen Feb 6 '18 at 13:28
  • Yes, as I said she was a stray cat so I always let her go outside when she asks and she hunt grasshoppers for instance. Inside of the house, she has her "crazy" moments from time to time, where she sneaks in bags / paper boxes and sometimes, curtains, then jumped on whatever she finds on the floor (toy or not), but never me or my boyfriend. And honestly, it's fun to see ! For further explainations, I don't know her age but I'm pretty sure she's young. She had her first baby (born dead) just before I decided to adopt her. – Pauloscorps Feb 6 '18 at 13:44

Cats have scent glands at strategic locations all over their body. The pads of the paw are one of them. When your cat touches you with their paw they are putting their scent on you marking you as something familiar in thier territory, or as some people refer to it as “marking you as their property.”

The cat is also marking you when he rubs up against your leg or rubs his head or face on you.

Little paw swipes are a playful gesture as well. It is also a way to get your attention so that you might pet or interact with them. I have a cat that puts his paw on me when he wants to be fed. Odds are the pawing behavior achieves all of these ends.

You see cats do this to each other a lot. Sometimes its playful other times it is “hey, move along, this is my spot.”

Don’t worry: You are in the right place for people to not think your cat behavior questions are nonsense.

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