This post will show you why your cat attacks your hand and what you can do about it.

So, why does my cat attack my hand? Possible reasons why your cat attacks your hand are that it wants you to stop petting it, you’re petting it wrong, it is playing, or that it is intimidated.

Your cat might attack your hand for multiple reasons and it could be because of a combination of them. However, there are some things you can consider when figuring out the main cause and there are some things you can do about it.

Reasons why your cat attacks your hand

Below are possible reasons why your cat has been doing it and what would make them more likely.

Your cat wants you to stop touching it

If your cat attacks your hand when you are touching it, the cause could be that it wants you to stop touching it. This would be more likely if it also tries to move away from you, it leans away from you, and if it starts biting or hissing.

You’re petting it wrong

Another possible cause is that it does not like the way that you are petting it and it either wants you to stop petting it or to pet it differently. This would be more likely if your cat does it when you are petting it and if it also scratches and bites.

It’s playing

It might also be the case that your cat is actually playing. This would be more likely if it also grabs your hand and if it does not seem to be showing other negative signs such as scratching, hissing or pulling away.

Your cat feels intimidated

Another possible reason why your cat has been doing it is that it feels intimidated. This would be more likely if your cat seems to pull away from you and if it also scratches or hisses. In this case, it could be the case that you are not being gentle enough or you are approaching it too boldly.

Affection

Sometimes, cats will also attack your hands when they are being affectionate. The reason why your cat has been attacking your hands could actually be that it is showing you affection. This would be more likely to be the cause if it does it when it is showing positive body language such as by purring.

Things to consider about your cat attacking your hand

Below are some things to consider to help figure out the main reason why your cat has been doing it.

If your cat has always attacked your hand

If your cat has not always attacked your hand, it would help to consider what else happened when your cat first started doing it. It could be the case that something changed that caused your cat to start doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it might be due to things such as a change in the way that you pet it.

What is different when your cat does not attack your hand

If your cat seems to do it more in certain situations, it would also help to consider if there is anything special about the timing. For example, if your cat only does it when you are petting it, the cause might be that there is an issue with the way you are petting it.

The body language it shows

It would also help to consider the body language it shows when your cat does it. If it shows signs of being agitated such as wagging its tail and moving away, it would be more likely that your cat is doing it because it wants you to stop petting it or to leave it alone. Whereas, if it does things such as purr and rub its head into you, it would be more likely that it is actually playing or showing affection.

What to do about your cat attacking your hand

Below are a number of things you can do about the behavior.

Avoid encouraging the behavior

It might be the case that it has learned that attacking your hand gets rewards. Instead, it would help to reward it when it does not attack your hand and to avoid giving it things such as extra attention when it does attack your hand.

Pet it differently

Another thing to try would be to pet it in a different manner. Often cats prefer to be rubbed below the chin instead of having their bellies or backs rubbed. It could help to try scratching below its chin instead.

Be gentle

If you have been petting it forcefully, it would also likely help to try petting it more gently.

Author

I created and currently run Kitty Cat Tips, the website that you can go to when you have questions about your cat's behavior. It's my hope that you find Kitty Cat Tips to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your cat. You can read more about me and my website here.