Why Does My Cat Put His Paw On My Face?

Why Does My Cat Put His Paw On My Face
Image: istockphoto.com / amenic181

Most cats are affectionate by nature. They rub against your legs, headbutt you, and curl into a ball in your lap. However, they have certain behaviors that are hard to understand such as when they bite your nose, sniff your face or put their paw on your face. 

Why does my cat put his paw on my face?

Your cat may put his paw on your face for the following reasons:

1. He is returning the favor since you are petting him.

Cats are remarkably intelligent and while they enjoy being on the receiving end of ear and head rubs as well as chin scratches, they want to give back, too.  This is why your cat is putting his paw on your face since he may just want to return the favor and intends to pet you, too. So, who says that cats are insensitive and ungrateful? 

2. To transfer his scent to you. 

Just as cats rub against our legs and faces, they may also mark their territory by putting their paw on your face. It is their way to transfer their scent to you so that when other cats come in contact with you they will be aware that you “belong” to a particular feline. 

3. Your cat is showing his affection for you.

Another reason why your cat is putting his paw on your face is to show his love and affection for you.  This is often accompanied by loud purrs while he touches your face. Cats that sit close, touch you, and slowly blink their eyes are showing their cat love to you as their favored human.

4. To wake you up. 

Living with a cat also has its perks especially if you are a deep sleeper. Consider it as your “furry alarm clock” to alert you that the sun is already out! Your cat may put his paw on your face to wake you from your slumber because he may be hungry and wants to be fed, he wants to be let out or he may just simply be bored and wants you to spend time with him. 

5. As his way of saying that he wants to play with you. 

Your cat may be touching your face with his paws as his way of saying that he wants to play with you.  This is entirely okay though but what if you’re working from home and you have Zoom meetings to attend? What you can do is invest in durable cat toys to keep your cat busy and happy. 

he wants to play with you. 
Image: istockphoto.com / AaronAmat

6. Your cat may be testing you. 

Another reason why your cat may be touching your face with his paw is that he’s putting you to a test. This is usually the scenario if you adopted your cat from a pet shelter or if he was a rescued stray.  He may have a traumatic background resulting in a lack of trust toward humans. Building trust is not an automatic thing and it takes time but with your patience and care, your cat will ultimately warm up and eventually trust you. 

7. Your cat wants to snuggle with you. 

While your cat may be putting his paw on your face to show his affection, he may also be doing this because he wants to snuggle with you. Cats may seem aloof but they may also be affectionate and clingy at times.  This is a clear indication that your cat trusts you and he’s letting down his defenses by snuggling and stretching out his paws to your face especially if he’s taking a nap. 

8. As a way of creating his personal space bubble. 

Remember your reaction each time you’ve had enough of your parents’ barrage of hugs and kisses? That’s what exactly your cat may feel if you overindulge him with nose boops and flood him with smacks and kisses here and there. What your cat does is literally what every ordinary person would do and that is to put his paw on your face as a way of saying, “I’ve had enough!” It is his way of creating a personal space bubble so don’t take it personally, just let him be and respect his privacy. 

9. To show that he trusts you. 

Putting a paw on your face especially when a cat is asleep entails a deep sense of trust. This is because cats are very vulnerable when they’re asleep and if your cat is doing that while he’s off to slumberland it clearly shows that your cat completely trusts you. 

Final thoughts

Certain cats may look standoffish but they are also capable of expressing affection toward their favorite humans. Your cat may be touching or putting his paw on your face to signify that he wants to play and cuddle with you, wake you up, or mark his territory. However, it may also signify that he wants you to back off as a means to assert his personal space especially if he’s had enough of your nose boops and kisses.