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Why Is My Cat Pawing at the Floor? 4 Possible Reasons

Patricia Dickson

By Patricia Dickson

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Dr. Lauren Demos

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Cats are confusing animals, even to their owners. You can never tell when the cat will zoom through the house at three in the morning like something is chasing it or why it will suddenly paw at the floor like something is buried underneath.

Whether to protect itself, protect its food, or find water, there’s a lot to be said about a cat pawing at the floor in your home. There are a few reasons for this type of behavior that you might not have considered before. If you’ve ever wondered what those reasons are, we’ll discuss them below.

The 4 Possible Reasons Why Your Cat is Pawing at the Floor

It turns out this isn’t a simple question; there are a few reasons your cat might be pawing at the floor..

1. To Protect Itself

In the wild, cats bury their food to ward off predators. A predator can’t track what it can’t smell, and cats bury their food so predators can’t track them. Although there probably aren’t any predators in your house, your cat probably doesn’t even know why they’re doing this and just do it because they feel like they’re supposed to. This is far more common in female cats, who would hide food so predators couldn’t find their kittens. A male cat is much more likely to spray to warn predators to stay away.

2. To Protect its Food

Your cat might be attempting to bury its food, despite the lack of dirt to bury it with, in order to hide it to come back for later. Wild cats often bury food so they can return and eat it later; it’s kind of the cat form of leftovers. Some cats might even take things a step further and find something to drag over their food bowl to hide it. Since the cats’ instincts cause them to do this, a cat may even hide their food if they’re the only pet in the house.

bengal cat lying on the floor
Image Credit: lshman000, Pixabay

3. They Might be Kneading the Floor

Kneading is when a cat alternates between pushing one paw into the floor and raising the other. Cats do this when they’re happy. They do it to more than just the floor; they knead blankets and furniture, and they probably knead you as well. When a cat kneads, they’re doing it in anticipation of something, whether it’s a good meal or a good nap.

4. They like the feel

Some cats may simply like the texture or feel of the floor under their feet. They may also roll or rub their body on the floor, or their face.

Himalayan cat lying on the floor
Image Credit: MULTI ILHAM ANUGRIYA, Shutterstock

Wrap Up

If you’ve ever seen your cat pawing at the floor, whether it’s beside the water dish, beside the litter box, or just in the middle of the floor in general, you’ve probably wondered what caused it to do such a thing. It’s just instinct of your feline pal’s, so it’s not something that will hurt it or even something you should be concerned about. As long as the cat isn’t tearing up your carpeting, floor pawing is not a concerning behavior.

Featured Image Credit: Piqsels

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