Why Do Cats Paw At The Window?

Cats are mysterious little creatures and that adds to their adorable factor. They do engage in many behaviors that we as cat owners struggle to comprehend.

Just the other day, I saw my cat scratching and pawing at the window. He was so absorbed in his actions that the didn’t even hear me call “dinner time!”

But why exactly do cats paw and scratch at the window?

Cats might paw or scratch at the window if they see a small critter or birds outside. This activates the hunters in cats but also frustrates them due to the barrier. Some cats might also be intrigued by their reflection in the window and could be trying to touch its reflection.

Even though such a behavior isn’t dangerous it can be disruptive to the cat owner at times.

Read on to further understand the reasons behind this behaviour and how to stop your cat from pawing or scratching windows if necessary.

Your Cat Sees A Potential Prey Outside

Cats are excellent hunters and can’t resist going into hunting mode when they see a small critter or bird.

Cats are known to be one of the most effective hunters in the animal kingdom, averaging a 50% success rate.

Even though our furry friend doesn’t have to hunt for food, the instinct to hunt in cats is still very strong.

In fact, many stray and feral cats in the wild hunt small creatures not only for food but also for fun. This has caused some species to go extinct or dwindle down to very small numbers.

Most cats paw at the window to show their excitement and frustration at the same time. Some might even indulge in vocalization like chirping or thrilling to express their heightened emotions.

Your Cat Wants To Go Outside

When cats scratch at windows, it could also mean that they would like to be let inside or outside.

If you have a cat that is allowed to roam outdoors as well, it could be pawing at your windows when it wants to come in for food. Or if your cat’s litter box is outside and it has to use it, your kitty will start pawing at the window wanting to be let out.

If your cat is both indoor and outdoor, it might be a better idea to install a cat flap on your door to allow for easy access.

This way, you don’t always need to manually open the door or window to let your cat in or out of the house.

For cat owners that allow their cats to roam outdoors, it might not be the best option as many cats can get into trouble this way.

Some will get into fights with other cats, get attacked by predators or even get into road mishaps.

There are many dangers lurking in the outside world that can cause potential harm to your precious cat.

It is always best to keep domesticated cats indoors all the time.

Your Cat Is Intrigued By Its Reflection

It is said that cats have the mentality of a 2-year-old kid. And I’m pretty sure at that age, most of us don’t have the capacity to recognize our own reflection as well.

There are two ways that a cat can react when it thinks its own reflection is another cat.

It can act out of curiosity and start pawing at the window trying to touch its new imaginary friend but to no avail.

Or if your cat is territorial, it can start to turn aggressive towards its own reflection by scratching and hissing at the window.

Either way, both reactions deserve a video and a few pictures for memory’s sake because it’s too cute.

Most cats will wise up after a while and get bored of their reflections when there’s no reaction from this strange ‘cat’.

Marking Its Scent

Cats are territorial creatures and have a natural instinct to mark their territories with their own scent. Cats mark their scent with scent glands situated in different parts of their bodies.

Scent marking cats make use of their scent glands located at the anus entrance, mouth, cheeks and paw pads. This is why cats rub their teeth and gums on objects or humans.

In cat language, this means “You belong to me.”

Your cat is scent marking the window with its own scent by pawing at it.

It could be due to another cat that has scent-mark its territory near the window and your cat is trying to reinforce its territory at the window.

Your Cat Is Sharpening Its Claws

A cat’s claws are its weapons and cats used them for hunting and as well as for defending. Most cats sharpen their claws by scratching things.

Cats in the wild will be scratching tree barks and wooden panels to sharpen their claws.

Your cat could be trying to keep its claws sharp by scratching windows. Might not be the most effective way as the glass surface is smooth.

But if your cat’s claws are sharp enough, it can sound like fingernails on a chalkboard and can even damage the glass panel.

You Have A Window Cat

Widow cats are cats that love spending time by the windows. They love sitting or lying down on the window sill just watching the world go by.

Think of the window as your cat’s gigantic TV screen

Your cat could be pawing or scratching the window just because it likes it. Some cats have certain unexplainable preferences like being stroked firmly at their butt area.

Your cat could just like the way its paws feel on the glass with its cool and smooth surface.

Being at the window allows cats to warm themselves up nicely. Cats have a slightly higher body temperature than humans thus requiring more heat to warm themselves up.

Being near the window allows them to stretch and bask in the sun’s glorious rays while they nap.

How To Stop Your Cat From Scratching The Window?

Most cat owners are not bothered with their cats pawing or scratching at the window. The majority of cats don’t indulge in such behavior for long periods of time and would rather be napping in front of the window.

However, it can be a problem when your cat starts scratching and damaging the windows. Or it gets so traumatized by its own reflection and becomes too aggressive.

You can use the following tips to stop such a behavior.

Get A Scratching Post

cat scratching post

Scratching posts are a necessary item for all cat owners. It is a great tool to have for diverting your cat’s attention and energy. Plus it helps your cat to sharpen and renew its claws.

Whenever you find your cat scratching your window, carry it to the scratching post. You might have to put your cat’s paws on the scratching post to give it an idea of what to do.

Sprinkling some catnip on the scratching post can also encourage your cat to use it more often.

Use A Deterrent

If your cat is still very insistent about damaging your windows, use a deterrent to keep it away. You can try mixing some vinegar and water in a spray bottle and spray it on and around your windows. The smell of the vinegar will discourage your cat from approaching the window.

Cats aren’t fond of such smells and will tend to avoid them.

Here’s a useful tip.

If your cat loves scratching your furniture, you can also spray sound vinegar around it to discourage your cat from laying its claws on it.

One downside about using a spray deterrent is that it needs to be refreshed every few hours. If you need to be out of the house for the day, use an electronic motion sensor deterrent that can emit a loud sound when it senses movement.

Use Anti-Reflective Tint

This method works well for cats that get aggressive when seeing their own reflections in the window.

Try tinting your windows with an anti-reflective film. This helps to reduce the reflection on your windows and can help your cat relax.


Don’t be too concerned if you see your cat pawing at the windows. As long as it remains calm and non-aggressive, your cat is just intrigued by what is happening outside.

The only downside is that you will have to clean off your cat’s dirty paw stains on the windows daily.

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