This post will show you a number of possible reasons why your cat claws your hands and what you can do about them.
So, why does my cat claw my hand? Possible reasons why your cat claws your hand are that it is actually showing pleasure, it wants you to stop petting it, you’re petting it wrong, it is playing, or that it is intimidated.
There are a number of possible reasons why your cat claws your hands and it might do it due to 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.
Why does my cat claw my hands?
Below are a number of possible reasons why your cat has been doing it and what would make each of them more likely to be the main reason.
Your cat wants you to stop touching it
If your cat does it when you are touching it, with your hand, the cause could be that it wants you to stop touching it with your hand. This would be more likely if it also tries to move away from you.
When cats are happy, they will start to do something called “kneading” which is where they pat their paws up and down and extend their claws. If your cat does this to you, when you are petting it, it would be likely that your cat is doing it because it is happy. This would be more likely if your cat does it when you are petting it, and it is purring.
Related: Why does my cat claw my feet?
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 could 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.
Related: Why does my cat claw my face?
Your cat feels intimidated
The reason why your cat has been doing it might also be 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.
Sometimes, cats will also claw when they are being affectionate. The reason why your cat has been clawing your hand 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 clawing 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 clawed your hand
If your cat has not always clawed 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 claw your hand
If your cat tends to do it more in certain situations, it would also help to consider if there is anything special about the timing. For example, if it only does it when you are petting it, the cause might be that there is an issue with the way you are petting it.
What to do about your cat clawing 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 clawing your hand gets rewards. Instead, it would help to reward it when it does not claw your hand and to avoid giving it things such as extra attention when it does claw 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.
If you have been petting it forcefully, it would also likely help to try petting it more gently.
Why does my cat scratch my hands?
If your cat scratches your hands, it would be more likely that it does not like the way you are interacting with it.