by Donna
(Riverside NJ)

My feral kitten that I (now 6-7 months old) rescued from outside, will at times hold her front paw up, and then alternate and hold the other paw up. She will not let me handle her yet, so I cannot examine her paw. She only lets me get a few pets in when I put her food down for her to eat.

I also rescued her sister who is polar opposite and already lets me pet, hold a brief moment, and sleeps with me! I am amazed at the difference in personality.

The kitten had stopped doing this for a bit, and has now started again. She has had her shots. I'm worrying terribly, and what makes it hard is not being able to help her due to her "wildness" for her first months of life. She only does this with the front paws. I have mainly observed this while I am fixing her food.

Thank you for helping me with this. This website is awesome!!

Donna Greiner


Yes, there is the possibility that her paws have an injury and until she trusts you enough to let you investigate, or get her to a vet, the question will remain.

However, on the positive side, she may be doing exactly what my cat Chanel does. Chanel was an extremely feral kitten that only weighed 2 ½ pounds when she was 6 months old and I had to segregate her in a separate room with a bed, litter box and food dish for almost 3 months. I repeatedly visited with her and talked to her until she stopped hiding from me. She ate when I left the room and finally ate in front of me. When the 3 months in the room ended, she was at the point where I could pick her up and hold her. She was then able to slowly integrate with the other cats, and fortunately, my 2 year old female rescue cat named Coty took her under her wing and treated her like she was her baby.

But Chanel has a habit, exactly like you describe, where she lifts one paw and then alternates with the other one, when I am getting her meals. It is like she is containing her excitement that she is going to get fed! She doesn’t meow like the others at meal time, just does the foot work.

Remember that many feral kittens learned to be silent in order to survive. They waited while momma cat went out to get food for them or when their mother failed to appear because she was hurt or worse, they had to slowly sneak out and try to feed on bugs or whatever else they could ingest. Food became a reason for excitement.

So, I suggest you watch to see if she does it only at times of “containing excitement” such as meal times. It could be there is no physical injury involved. Or, eventually she will trust you enough to let you take a look at those paws.

Finally, congratulations for being a wonderful kitty rescue person. I commend you for taking the time and giving the love to these little critters who will have a great life having you there.

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