If your cat has been smelling your hands a lot, this post will show you a number of possible reasons why and what you can do about them.

So, why does my cat smell my hands? Possible reasons why your cat smells your hands are that you have an unusual smell or scent on your hands, it is seeing if you have food, it is greeting you or that it is marking its scent on you.

Your cat might sniff your hands for a number of different reasons and it could be due to a combination of reasons. However, there are some things you can consider when figuring out the main reason and there are a number of things you can do about it.

Reasons why your cat smells your hands

Below are a number of possible reasons and what would make each of them more likely.

You have an unusual smell on your hands

The reason why your cat smells your hands, when you pet it, is likely to be that it smells a strong smell on your hands. Since cats have a better sense of smell than we do, if you cannot smell anything, it could still be the case that your cat does. This would be more likely if your cat doesn’t sniff other parts of your body as much. It would also be more likely if your cat tends to sniff your hands more after you have been cooking or touching something smelly.

You have an unusual scent on you

It is likely that your hands have the scents of other people and animals on them. The reason why your cat smells your hands could be that it is picking up on the scent of other people and animals. This would be more likely if your cat does it more when you have just arrived home and after you have been interacting with other people and animals.

To find out about you

Cats have around 9-16 times better smelling abilities than humans do (source). Dogs have been shown to be able to smell disease in humans (source). While cats do not have the same smelling capabilities as dogs, some people argue that cats are also able to smell certain diseases, so a part of the reason why your cat sniffs you could be to find out how healthy you are.

It wants to smell for food on you

It could also be the case that your cat is doing it in order to see if you have food. This would be more likely if your cat does it more when you have just arrived home or at around the same time that you would normally feed it.

To greet you

Another possible cause is that your cat is greeting you. This would be more likely if it smells your hands more when you have just arrived home or when you have not seen it for a while. It would also be more likely if it gets you to pet it while lying or sitting down with you and it does things such as purr while doing it.

To mark its scent

Cats will, naturally, go around the house sniffing things and rubbing themselves against them. The reason why your cat has been sniffing your hands might also be that it is marking its scent on to you so that other animals are less likely to enter its territory. This would be more likely if your cat also rubs itself against you.

Things to consider

Below are things to consider to help figure out the main reason why your cat has been sniffing your hands.

If your cat has not always sniffed you a lot

If your cat has not always sniffed your hands a lot, it would help to consider what else happened when your cat first started doing it. If your cat started doing it suddenly, it could be due to things such as if you started wearing a different fragrance or spending time around different people causing your cat to pick up on their scent.

The timing of when your cat sniffs you

It would also help to consider the timing of when your cat sniffs your hands and arms. If your cat sniffs you more at a certain time, it would be likely that the timing has something to do with it.

For example, if it sniffs your hands more when you have just arrived home, it would be more likely that it is smelling for food, greeting you and smelling the scent of other people and animals. Whereas, if it does it more when you are petting it, the cause would be more likely that it is marking its scent on to you and being affectionate.

What to do about your cat sniffing your hands

Below are some things you can do about your cat smelling your hands and arms a lot.

Let it do it

Cats will naturally sniff and rub themselves against their surroundings a lot. It is likely that your cat has been sniffing your hands naturally. So, the easiest thing to do would be to just let it continue and to move it whenever it starts getting annoying.

Redirect its focus

Another option would be to redirect its focus towards something else such as toys or to move it somewhere else when it seems likely to start sniffing you.

Why does my cat sniff my fingers?

Your cat might smell your fingers for any of the reasons mentioned above. It would help to consider the timing of when your cat smells your fingers. If it does it right after you have been cooking, it is likely that it smells food on your fingers. Whereas, if it does it when you arrive home, it likely smells the scent of other people and animals or it is trying to smell to see if you have food.

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.