Cats are social creatures that like to be caressed and petted. Cat experts note that specialized nerve cells evolve to relay a pleasant sensation when humans touch their cats. However, petting can become too much for cats. If overstimulated, they may react by grabbing or biting your hand.
Why does my cat grab my hand and bite me?
Your cat grabs your hand and bites you because of the following reasons:
1. She wants to play with you.
Your cat may grab your hand and bite it since she wants to play. It is instinctual among cats to simulate hunting behavior, and your hand is an easy target. A safer way to simulate hunting instincts is by playing with your cat. Take time to play with her for 20 to 30 minutes daily to keep her active and healthy.
Divide playtime into 10 minute chunks to keep your cat interested. Schedule your playtime sessions before meals, before you leave for work, or before bedtime. Provide toys for your cat so she can play on her own. Some great toy suggestions include catnip-filled toys and tower of tracks toys that will keep your cat engrossed while you are away.
2. She may be annoyed and overstimulated.
Your cat likes to be touched, but only to an extent, and only on her terms. Do not presume that she favors being caressed for an extended period since she may become annoyed. Most cats tend to wrap their paw on your hand and grab it as a sign that they’ve had enough of the petting. Be observant of your cat’s behavior and body language to avoid being bitten.
Observe what your cat usually does if she becomes annoyed. Take note of her facial expressions when she is about to bite you. Once you learn the signs, respect your cat’s boundaries and let her be to prevent pet aggression.
Here are the common signs that cats give you to warn you of a bite:
- change in vocalization; a slight quiver to her meows
- flattened ears
- whipping tail
- dilated or narrowed pupils
3. She could feel pain while being groomed.
Your cat may grab your hand and bite at it while being groomed because she is hurting. You may be hurting her while brushing through her fur when there are stubborn tangles and knots. If you are not careful while trimming her nails, it can also hurt her.
Take extra precautions when grooming your cat as it takes time to regain her trust if you hurt her. Stay calm and patient. If you don’t trust your skills, entrust your cat’s grooming needs to a professional groomer.
3. She has an injury.
Check your cat’s body before you react negatively if your cat grabs your hand and bites it. Your cat may be injured because of a catfight or someone else’s pet. If you have a senior cat, she could be suffering from joint pain.
Check your cat for signs of a cut, limp, or other injuries. Take her to the vet for a thorough check-up and treatment.
Why is it a bad idea to use your hands as cat toys?
It is a bad idea to use your hands as cat toys since your cat may presume that it is okay to bite at your hands anytime. Cats have a good memory and tend to continuously treat your hand like a toy if you allow them to. To avoid this, you should not let your cat bite your hand during playtime.
Discourage your cat from clinging to your hand and biting at it by pulling your hand away from her. Gently push her away or place her on the floor. Ignore her for a while so she will know that biting does not merit attention.
If your cat won’t let go of your hand, do not pull away–she may just bite harder. Push your hand into the bite so your cat will let go.
Cats tend to display unexpected behavior such as grabbing your hand and biting it. She could be doing it because she is annoyed and overstimulated with petting. Your cat may also want to play with you. She could also have an injury or have been hurt while being groomed, which is why she is acting this way.
mage: istockphoto.com / lenaBoronina