How many times have you seen your cat stretched out? Our cats are pretty good at this.
It is also one of those behaviors of your body language that we love to observe . After seeing your cat stretched out in a sunny spot, you’ve surely wanted to achieve that same level of relaxation.
As if to reinforce this, the internet also seems to be full of images of stretched cats.
Cats stretch a lot, but why do they do it?
There may be more to this feline behavior than meets the eye. With this article I try to answer this and other questions to help you understand a little more about this instinctive behavior of our cats.
What does it mean that cats stretch?
Stretching is a very important activity for cats and it is because it plays a key role in increasing blood flow and regulating stiffness after periods of inactivity.
In people, when we sleep, our brain paralyzes most of our muscles and since our bodies do not move, the blood does not circulate very well around them. When we wake up, we automatically stretch to improve blood circulation in our muscles and brain, which also helps us feel more alert. Because cats sleep and rest up to 16 hours a day, they are supposed to stretch more often.
Stretching is also a fundamental tactic to defend against potential predators and to hunt down prey. Stretching lengthens muscle fibers, this preserves and improves their attack capacity. Additionally, your ability to remain motionless for hours prepares your body to explode into action at any moment.
Another situation, as with people, stretching makes cats feel good . It can help relieve tension in the back and shoulder muscles and release endorphins in the brain, creating an overall sense of well-being.
Very anxious cats can stretch excessively in a constant attempt to calm down . Sometimes it is accompanied by a yawn, which is another indicator that a cat may feel anxious.
Cat stretching is also one of a number of behaviors seen in females when they are in heat where they are able to conceive and ready to accept a male. Stretching is often accompanied by calls, purrs, rolling, twisting, and head rubbing.
Why does my cat stretch when it sees me?
Stretching is also a charming behavior that our cat can perform as part of their body language and a way of telling us that they are comfortable in our presence.
For example, if you come home after a day at work, your cat will normally greet you by falling sideways and exposing its belly. Also, your cat may stretch its paws, which could be seen as an invitation for you to bend over and give it a pet.
Naturally, if you do this on a regular basis, they will likely repeat the behavior every time you get home.
Why do cats stretch when they come near you?
In addition to being a greeting behavior, as I have indicated previously, a cat may reach towards you to smell your outstretched hand. This will stimulate the secretory glands in his cheeks and allow him to deposit his scent on you by rubbing his cheek against your hand.
Why is your cat stretching in front of you?
Your cat may habitually stretch out in front of you while resting, showing how safe he feels with you .
It can also be stretched to attract your attention. In this case, it will extend its claws to be in contact with any part of your body. Usually this will elicit a response from you, in this way, it has gotten you to pay attention to it.
Why does your cat extend its paws towards you?
Surely you have ever seen your cat extend and retract its front claws while relaxing or when you pet it.
But why do cats stretch their paws in front of you like they’re kneading air?
The explanation of why my cat pretends to be breastfeeding, must be sought in breeding. When kittens are born they are blind and deaf and totally dependent on their mothers.
However, they are able to smell and use this sense to be able to breastfeed . Once there, they extend their toes to stretch their claws, then close them while alternately lifting their paws and pressing on their mother cat’s mammary glands to stimulate milk letdown.
This is a very comforting experience for them, and therefore it is not surprising that cats retain this instinctive kneading reflex into adulthood. They could use it as a means of comforting themselves or to express moments of happiness, evoking the joy they had when they were breastfeeding.
So if your cat does this in front of you, or when you touch it, you can consider yourself very lucky.
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