Why Does My Cat Tap Me When I Walk Past

It’s a common sight for cat owners – their feline companions reaching out and tapping them as they walk by. Some cats do it gently, while others use their claws to catch onto their owner’s clothes or skin. But why does this behavior occur? Understanding the meanings behind a cat’s tapping can give owners insights into their cat’s mood and needs.

Cats Tap for Attention

Cats often tap their owners to get their attention. It could be because they’re bored and seeking interaction or because they want to be fed. Sometimes, they tap to initiate a playful game. Additionally, territorial cats may be transferring their scent onto their owners, claiming ownership through the sweat glands in their paws.

However, it’s important to monitor your cat for signs of aggression. If your cat is reaching out with its paw in a warning manner, it may not be happy. Allowing this behavior to continue without addressing the underlying issue can lead to behavioral problems.

Why Does My Cat Tap Me?

It’s perfectly normal for cats to tap their owners. Typically, a tap from a cat is gentle, indicating that it has no intention of causing harm. The purpose of this action is to check if you, the owner, are nearby. This tapping behavior is usually reserved for owners with whom the cat has built a strong bond.

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Many cats tap their owners while they are falling asleep or immediately upon waking up. They do this to gauge their surroundings and see if their owners are still there. Tapping can also be a way for cats to seek attention when they are bored, anxious, or hungry. Monitoring your cat’s behavior will help you determine if it needs something such as food or affection.

Why Does My Cat Reach Its Paw Out to My Face?

When a cuddly cat touches its owner’s face, it’s a clear sign of love and affection. If your cat purrs loudly while doing so, the message is even more apparent. In addition, your cat may tap your face to wake you up because it wants to be fed or play with you. By reaching out its paw, your cat is showing that it trusts you and feels safe and comfortable enough to snuggle up to you while you sleep.

However, keep in mind that sometimes there may be no specific reason behind this behavior. Depending on its position or after stretching, your cat may accidentally touch your face. Alternatively, your face may simply provide a comfortable resting spot for your cat’s paws.

Why Do Cats Like to Hold Your Hand?

It’s undeniably adorable when a cat attempts to hold its owner’s hand, but the exact reasons behind this behavior are not completely understood. However, we do know that cats may hold their owners’ hands for similar reasons as tapping, such as seeking attention, impatience, contentment, the desire to play, or simply finding your hand as a comfortable resting spot.

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This behavior depends on your cat’s mood, personality, and temperament. It serves as a way for your cat to communicate with you. While many owners view it as a sign of love and affection, cats experience emotions on a simpler level and may not fully grasp the complexities of human feelings.

What Does It Mean When a Cat Hits You With Its Paw?

If your cat appears happy and relaxed, a paw tap can be seen as a positive gesture. Here are the main reasons why a cat may hit you with its paw:

Scent Marking

The most logical explanation for a cat pawing you is that it is transferring its scent onto you. Cats have scent glands in their paws and use them to mark their territory. By touching you with their paws, they claim ownership and warn other animals to stay away. While you may not be able to smell these scents, other cats can, resulting in them keeping their distance from you.


Cats may touch you with their paws when they feel they are not receiving enough attention from you. Some cats crave human attention and want to be in close proximity to their owners. If your cat feels ignored, it may paw at you in hopes of receiving a stroke or cuddle. Signs that your cat is desperate for attention include vocalizing and crying more often, displaying destructive tendencies, excessive grooming, and rubbing its body or head against you or exposing its belly. To prevent your cat from becoming depressed or upset, make sure to give it the attention it craves.

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Cats thrive on a regular feeding schedule. They rely on routines to cope with changes in their environment. Since cats can’t speak to communicate their needs, they use actions instead. If you miss a mealtime, your cat may tap you as a reminder. It may also accompany the tapping with meowing and following you around until you feed it.


When your cat taps you with its paw, it may be signaling that it wants to play. This is an invitation for you to grab its favorite toys and engage in some interactive fun. Playtime is vital for cats as it provides the mental stimulation they need. It also helps improve their hunting and stalking skills. Active and playful cat breeds, such as Siamese, Burmese, and Bengal, are more likely to initiate playtime in this manner. However, every cat’s personality and mood can determine whether it will tap you as you walk by.


If you’ve been petting your cat for an extended period, it may become overstimulated. In this case, your cat may hit or touch you with its paw to signal that it wants you to stop. While cats initially enjoy being touched, they can become irritated after a prolonged period of physical contact. This is especially true if you touch them in the same spot repeatedly. Overstimulation can lead to aggression, so it’s important to pay attention to your cat’s comfort levels and boundaries.

Why Do Cats Swat at You When You Walk By?

When a cat swats at you, it’s usually an indication that it is unhappy or upset. Fear is one of the main causes of feline aggression, according to the American Animal Hospital Association. If your cat is afraid of you or if you have done something to upset it, it may swat at you as a warning. Two other reasons for swatting include:

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Status Aggression

Cats may show signs of aggression, including swatting, when they want to establish social dominance. Responding to your cat’s swatting by giving it attention may reinforce the behavior, making it believe that it has control. Ignoring your cat and only providing treats and rewards when it is in a relaxed state can help prevent dominance-related aggression.

Play Aggression

Playful aggression occurs when cats become too intense during playtime. They may bite, scratch, or swat at their owners. This type of aggression is often seen in kittens and young cats with lots of energy. Look out for signs such as intense tail movement, ears held back, and dilated pupils. If you notice these signs, it’s time to end the play session. Ignoring your cat or leaving the room can help discourage this behavior, but physical punishment should always be avoided as it can cause fear and avoidance.

In most cases, cats tap their owners for positive reasons, especially when the tap is gentle. However, if the tapping becomes aggressive or if the cat swats at you, it is likely a sign of annoyance or upset. Pay attention to your cat’s body language and behavior to better understand its needs and emotions.

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