Whenever I get back home from work, my cat Snowy always comes running to say hello. Sometimes, she purrs, rubs her head and body against me, and meows, like she’s expressing her happiness just like I feel when I see her. But one day, something different happened. Instead of purring and buzzing with excitement, she started to stretch right after spotting me.Why is she doing that? Why Does My Cat Stretch When She Sees Me?
I wondered. Well, a cat stretching after seeing their owner is a sign of contentment. It’s like they’re getting ready to show their love and affection in their own unique way.
In this article, we’ll delve deep into the stretching behavior of cats. Because knowing the depth of the reason can help us to stay one step ahead in our cat-human relationship. So, let’s dive in…
Why Does My Cat Stretch So Much When She Sees Me
Well, these fascinating creatures are known for their mysterious behavior and quirks. Remember, in one of our previous conversations we talked about cat’s tail slapping behavior, or making sounds like pigeons?
But today we’ll discuss why our feline starts to stretch when they see us.
Stretching is Form of Feline Language
Cats have their own way of expressing themselves, and stretching is one of them. After seeing you, your cats start to stretch. And the meaning of their doings is she’s saying hello, wanting some scratching, petting or yummy treats.
She is also showing you her unbounded trust, feeling as cozy as they feel when they lie down in their warm bed. So, stretching is a sign of respect and adornace in the cat world. That’s why your cat will stretch before getting scratched or petted.
Waking Up The Body
Do you know this mystic creature sleeps for about 15 hours a day? 7 – 8 hours more than us, how lazy ! And they are most active during dawn and dusk.
So, when your cat stretches out after spotting you they are like trying to tell you that they have a quite good nap and it’s time for some exercise or playtime. Also they need to move their muscles to get rid of stiffness.
Besides saying hello, or giving a lovely greeting, your cat stretches because she wants to show you how much she loves you. She may also rub her head or body against you, purr, or meow.
These are all ways of marking you as her own and telling you that you are her favorite person in the world.
Comfort and Relaxation
Another reason is she’s feeling blissful and relaxed. She may lie on her back, exposing her vulnerable belly to scratch. Sometimes she’ll make you follow her favorite spot, sit on your lap and relax.
Having Your Full Attention
Just like that, your cat may stretch after seeing you to get your full attention. These are all ways of inviting you to play with her, give her some time and get endeavors from their favorite person.
Lowering Heat Level
Cats have a higher body temperature than humans, about 38°C (100°F), so they may feel warmer than we do. Stretching helps them to expose more of their skin to the air and lower their heat level.
Knead-Stretch Their Territory
Kneading is part of a feline’s thing like marking their territorial zone, with their paws where they have scent glands. Stretching is a way of extending their kneading area and claiming more space as theirs.
So, when your cat stretches near you, they are not only greeting you but also marking you and the surrounding area as their own.
Why Do My Cats Stretch Her Paws Out On Me
While snuggling with your cat, you may have noticed that your pet sometimes stretches their paws out on you. My cat Snowy does this when I hold her in my arms and scratch her soft tummy. She also kneads my lap, chest, or arm with her paws, or gently digs her claws into my skin.
Well, this behavior we can call paddling or making dough, and it’s passed on from generation to generation, starting from their early life.
When they were babies, they used to scratch their mother’s belly while nursing. It aids in the stimulation of milk production.
As your cat grew older, she transferred this behavior to you, her human parent. When she stretches her paws out on you, she is expressing her happiness and contentment.
Since she has scent glands on her paws that leave her smell on you, she’s also marking you as her own.
Why Do Your Cats Stretch In Front Of You
As we said before, your cats may try to reach you out through stretching, especially in front of you while relaxing, showing how comfortable they feel in your presence.
Of course, stretching is the easiest and effective way to get your attention.
Normally, they will stretch out at your feet, spreading their claws to touch whatever area of your body that is close to them. As a result, it will make you react and give them what they want.
You see, it’s a feline trick! Next time, they will know exactly how to ‘persuade’ you to pay attention to them and their desire!
The Science Behind Cat’s Stretching Behavior
Cat stretching behavior is not only cute and funny, but also important for their health and well-being. It helps cats to maintain their flexibility, agility, and balance, prevent injuries, relieve stress, and improve their mood.
When cats stretch, they work their muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints. One of the muscles that cats use for stretching is the soleus muscle, which is in the lower leg. This muscle helps them to move their ankle joints and keep their feet steady.
Not only that, stretching makes your cat body parts more loose and flexible, moving their joints and muscles better. This stretching is one of the parts of physiotherapy for cats that have muscle or joint injuries.
Types Of Cat’s Stretch
You may notice a variety of stretching movements in cats. Some of them have different names.
- The Morning Stretch: Cat stretches its whole body by extending its legs and tail, usually after waking up from a nap.
- The Front-limb Stretch: Cat stretches its front legs by extending them forward and spreading its toes, often while lifting its rear end.
- The Back Arch: This is when a cat arches its back by pushing its spine upward and tucking its tail under.
- The Leg Stretch: Cat stretches one or both of its hind legs by lifting them up and bending them at the knee, while lying on its side or back.
- The Sploot: This is when they lie on their belly and spread one or both of its hind legs behind it. Most relaxing and comfortable position for cats, helps to cool them down by exposing their belly to the air.
- The ‘Cat-Cow’ Stretch: A cat alternates between arching its back and curving it downward, while standing on all fours. This helps to stretch the spine and abdominal muscles.
Are there any health issues associated with cat stretching?
Till now, we learn the good side of stretching. But there’s also a bitter truth about it. If you’re wondering if any health issue causes excessive stretching, then no. But it can cause physical problems.
Yes, if your cat stretches with cold muscles, it can cause them injury. Apart from that, not all cat stretching is positive or harmless. Some cats may stretch their paws out on things or places that they want to scratch or break.
What Should You Do When Your Cat Stretches On you?
When your cat stretches to greet you, respond with love and affection. Pet them and give them gentle strokes. And if they do it for something they want like your attention, treat or squeezy cuddle, just give it to them.
How To Strengthen the Bond With Cats?
Here are some tips to make the most of this endearing behavior:
- Play and Engage: Cats love to play, and stretching is a way of getting ready for some fun. You can join your cat in their playtime by using some toys that they like. You can use feather wands or laser pointers to make them chase and jump.
- Respect Their Space: Although stretching is a way of showing trust, you need to respect your cat’s boundaries. If your cat wants to stretch without being touched, let them do that.
Cats like to have control over their interactions. So let them decide when and how they want to be with you.
- Provide Enrichment: We know cat stretching is a way of stimulating their mind. However, to strengthen the bond, provide them with some enrichment activities that challenge their brain.
You can give them puzzle toys or treat-dispensing toys that make them think and work for their reward. This will keep them interested and engaged.
Wrapping The Cat-Stretching Up
You might be curious about what your cat is trying to say when they stretch. Sometimes cats stretch because they are hungry and waiting for their food, but other times they stretch because they want some attention or because their body feels tight and needs to loosen up.
Whatever the reason for their stretches may be, show them some love!
If you liked this blog post on cat behavior, please share it with others who have pets too so we can all learn more about our furry friends together!