Why Do Cats Shake Their Paws? 5 Possible Reasons

Why do cats shake their paws? Paw shaking is usually harmless and typical among cats.

Cats are fascinating creatures with various unique behaviors. Whether you’ve witnessed your feline friend shake their paws during grooming sessions or after using the litter box, there are several possible reasons behind this intriguing behavior. In this article, we will explore the different reasons why cats shake their paws and gain a deeper understanding of this behavior.

why do cats shake their paws

In some cases, such behavior can be indicative of an issue you need to address. Below, I discuss five potential reasons behind your cat’s incessant paw shaking and what you need to do about it.

Why do cats shake their paws?

Why is my cat shaking its paws

In general, paw shaking isn’t really a cause of concern. But if you’re curious, here are the possible reasons why your cat seems to be shaking something off its paws:

1. Natural grooming instinct

One of the primary reasons why cats shake their paws is their natural grooming instinct. Cats are meticulous groomers, and they use their paws to clean their fur and remove any dirt or debris. After licking themselves, they may shake their paws to get rid of excess moisture or to reposition their fur. This shaking action helps them maintain their cleanliness and keep their fur in optimal condition.

Next time you observe your cat shaking their paws after grooming, remember that it is simply a part of their innate grooming behavior.

2. Marking territory

Another reason behind cats shaking their paws is marking their territory. Cats have scent glands in their paws, and by shaking them, they release pheromones onto the surfaces they touch. This behavior helps them establish their presence and communicate with other cats in the area. So, if you notice your cat shaking their paws after scratching a post or furniture, they are likely leaving their scent behind as a form of territorial marking.

Understanding this behavior can help you create a more enriched environment for your cat, providing them with appropriate scratching surfaces and minimizing the need for territorial marking.

3. Discomfort or Irritation

Sometimes, cats may shake their paws due to discomfort or irritation. It could be something harmless like stepping in a puddle. If your cat has stepped on a sharp object or encountered something unpleasant on their paws, they may shake them in an attempt to alleviate the discomfort. It could also be a sign of an underlying issue, such as a splinter or an insect bite.

If you notice excessive paw shaking accompanied by limping, persistent licking, or head shaking, it is advisable to consult a veterinarian to rule out any potential health concerns. By paying attention to your cat’s paw shaking behavior, you can ensure their well-being and address any potential discomfort they may be experiencing.

Take note that cats can also experience spasms on their paws, which can lead to involuntary shaking. It could be due to hypoglycemia, epilepsy, hyperesthesia, or dreaded rabies.

4. Anxiety or Stress

In some cases, cats may shake their paws as a response to anxiety or stress. Just like humans, cats can experience emotional distress, and paw shaking can be a way for them to release tension. If your cat is in a stressful environment or encounters a situation that triggers anxiety, they may exhibit this behavior as a coping mechanism. It is important to identify the underlying cause of their stress and provide them with a safe and calm environment to help alleviate their anxiety.

By understanding the connection between paw shaking and anxiety, you can take steps to create a stress-free environment for your feline companion.

5. Playful Behavior

Sometimes, cats may shake their paws as part of their playful behavior. When cats engage in play, they often exhibit various movements and actions, including shaking their paws. This behavior can be seen during interactive play sessions with toys or during social interactions with other cats. It is their way of expressing their excitement and enthusiasm during playtime.

If your cat shakes their paws while engaging in play, it’s a positive sign that they are enjoying themselves and having fun.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my cat shaking its paws after spaying?

Cats may shake their paws after spaying due to the stress brought by the procedure. It can also be a sign that the anesthesia is already starting to wear off and your feline is already feeling the pain.

Overall, random shaking of the paws shouldn’t be an issue. However, if your cat’s paw shaking seems involuntary and out of control, you should call the vet right away.

While rare, spaying-related infections can occur, which can lead to a slew of symptoms, including body shaking.

Why is my cat shaking its paws after declawing?

Take note that declawing a cat is a big no-no. Aside from causing unnecessary pain to your pet, declawing will also ruin the feline’s gait.

In the long run, you’ll notice a declawed cat shaking its paws incessantly. It’s because walking with declawed paws is painful, much like walking on an uncomfortable pair of shoes. Please read here: Can Declawed Cats Catch Mice

Take note that a cat’s claws are there for a reason. It helps felines navigate, scratch, walk, and more. Removal of the feline’s claws isn’t just unnecessary, but it’s also inhumane and selfish.

Do cats like their paw pads rubbed?

As much as a cat’s paws are cute and squishy, it’s not a good idea to rub it briskly. Many cats don’t like their paws being touched or rubbed because it’s extremely sensitive.

Nevertheless, many cats got accustomed to the sensation of their paws being touched. Despite this, you should remain gentle to prevent hurting your kitty.

Why does my cat touch my face with its paws?

Why does my cat touch my face with its paws

A cat’s paws are covered with scent glands. So if your kitty puts its paws on you, it means that he’s marking you with its scent.

Sometimes, this will be followed by kneading. It’s a sign that your cat trusts you and feels comfortable around you.

However, if your cat’s claws are drawn, touching your face might be a warning. You might be disturbing the kitty or doing something it doesn’t like.

Why does my cat reach his paw at me?

Why does my cat reach his paw at me

A cat will often reach its paws to its owner to seek attention. Many domesticated kitties exhibit this gesture to demand pets, rubs, and kisses.

Moreover, some cats will reach their paws out to initiate playtime. Take note that kitties don’t have a sense of boundaries and they will try to get attention whenever they want.

As long as your kitty isn’t engaging its claws, this isn’t a worrisome behavior.


Why do cats shake their paws? Cats shake their paws for various reasons, including their natural grooming instinct, marking territory, discomfort or irritation, anxiety or stress, and playful behavior. By understanding these reasons, we can gain a deeper insight into our feline companions’ behaviors and provide them with a supportive and enriched environment.

If you notice any excessive or concerning paw shaking behavior, it is always recommended to consult a veterinarian for further evaluation. Remember to observe and appreciate the unique habits and behaviors of your cats, as they contribute to their individuality and make them the fascinating creatures that they are.

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