Why Does My Cat Hold My Hand? 6 Interesting Reasons

Cats are thoughtful creatures that can display great emotional intelligence. When ignored, it’s not strange to see them stretch out a paw toward your hand. Have you ever asked yourself: why does my cat hold my hand? 

Generally, your cat will hold your hand to show that it loves you and cares. The cat feels safe, loved, and protected under you. Hence, being a social pet, it appreciates everything you do and can make such social responses to indicate that your relationship is intact. 

If you want to know more about why your cat would hold your hand, continue reading this article. We’ll tell you five unique reasons that will surprise you. 

Why Does My Cat Hold My Hand? 5 Reasons that Will Surprise You

why does my cat hold my hand?
A kitten holding a person’s hand

Interacting with your cat makes for a strong bond. The more you handle it, the more the friendliness between you – and it can now hold your hand freely. If you have wondered “cat wants to hold my hand”, here are the 5 reasons why this is usually the case.

1. Your Cat Needs a Reassurance of Your Love and Care

A cat is very astute. One possible reason your cat wanta to hold your hand is for reassurance that (yes) you still love and care for it. They want to be sure that its human attachment is not fake.

Your response can send the right or wrong indicators. So, if you respond by stroking, brushing, or cuddling, it’s a strong message of love you just conveyed. 

You’re simply saying, ‘this friendship is still on, buddy.’ When your feline friend reads such a favorable environment, it may rest assured of a stable relationship. 

Besides your cat holding your hand, cat pets have several behavioural responses to catch their caretaker’s attention. For instance, the slow blink, flank rub, or head rub are powerful tools to establish a solid connection with humans.

On the contrary, a cat may also perceive a negative experience and feel rejected. That’s if you keep it exposed for so long to bad encounters. You can see your cat trying to avoid you or other people as much as possible. 

If you ever had to interact with a poorly socialized or mishandled cat, you definitely would see unlikeable behavior. 

Find Out: How to comfort a cat depressed Wearing a cone

2. It’s a Strong Signal of Communication 

Your kitty also stretches out its paw to hold your hand as a convenient mode of communication. Experts found that cats generally use vocal and visual signals to communicate with their owners.

That being said, be careful not to ignore any of these attempts by your cat. It could be signaling you for play, grooming, or a more personal fun time. 

Holding hands is a common thing among humans that often connotes greetings. Smart-minded cats use this approach to say something like hello to their keepers. That’s what they do with their other social members. 

Remember that well-socialized cats would transfer the same act to humans as their regular companions. They will often accompany this treat with slow blinks to strengthen the signal. 

It’s even more surprising for your cat to ignore the toys or treats you provided just to come where you’re seated and hold you. This level of preference is what pet scientists and researchers conclude cats value their caretaker’s presence much more than any other forms of incentives. 

3. Your Cat Is Trying to Grab Your Attention

A 2017 study revealed that cats preferred having more social time with people who value them. They do whatever it takes to ensure that the attention of their caregivers is redirected to them. 

Socialization takes time and comes in stages. To become familiar to you, the cat must find ways to identify how it needs to relate with you. So, if you ask yourself: why does my cat hold my hand? It’s definitely because it really is trying hard to influence your attentional state and whether you care. 

A good pet parent would never ignore their cat’s calls. By responding positively, your cat develops a positive perception of people. Also, its behavior grows much better. You just need to give back the love it’s showing you. 

Don’t let it seem to beg for your attention. A cat can take hours of hard work just seeking your attention – this may turn into a bother or bad behavior in the long term. 

Guess if you won’t get annoyed if your feline companion jumps across the countertop and knocks off some glasses? Or digs its claws in furniture cushions? Well, that’s likely to happen if you don’t spare enough social time. 

Find Out: How to Say Goodbye to a Dying Cat the Right Way

4. Cats Are Social Smarts 

A cat holding a person's hand
A cat with its owner

For some reason, feline research for social intelligence was neglected for many years. But things have changed, and researchers are now more frequently studying cats as some of the most intelligent pets next to dogs. 

Your cat trying to hold your hand marks a deliberate social intent. It reveals what’s in its head, the cognitive ability, attachment to humans, and personality, among other important insights. 

To strengthen their bond with humans, cats provide both vocal and non-vocal cues to see the response. It means your answer must be kind, if not perfect. 

Pet experts would tell you that cat-human attachment bonds can take different actions. And positive interaction with your cat leads to improved cognitive health

To back up this with other things indicating that your cat is smart, make sure to undertake the following experiments at home.

The table below illustrates some experiments to show how socially smart a cat is:

Experiment How to TestImportanceLesson to Learn
Is your cat conversant with your emotionsTake your cat to a room with unfamiliar objects like a robot vacuum.Touch the vacuum and concentrate on it more than the cat. Say, “what a lovely vacuum,” calmly while the cat watches.Your cat may freak out at first and calms down later. It may approach the object/vacuum since it has seen you with it. Your cat can change its emotional state and mood to match yours. Your mood determines your cat’s mood.
What’s your cat’s preference: you or food/toys?Provide your cat with toys and favorite treats in their regular spots. Sit close and observe what happens.The cat should prefer something it spends a lot of time with. If your cat leaves toys and treats to sit with you for a cuddle or play, its best preference is your presence. 
How independent is your cat?Sit in a room with your cat and don’t pay any attention to it but instead read a book quietly for a couple of minutes. Later, call your cat – see if it comes to you for petting. Very socialized cats will come immediately once you call them. Independent cats just keep their distance. Cats may need more social time to look in place. If it’s anti-social, just keep on putting in more effort until they become friendly. 
Table 1: Experiments to show how socially smart cats are

    5. Your Cat Wants to Play

You keep wondering why does my cat hold my hand with its paw? It probably wants to play not with something else but with you. That’s why it’d paw your hand – to grab your attention. 

A playful cat does not shy from acting like it needs to play. You may respond in different ways, including providing a toy, but remember it wants to toy around with you. 

You may also need to consider other signals when it stretches out its paw. These could be dilated pupils, a wagging tail, and upright ears. All these indicate a cat with a strong desire to play. So, be keen on these extra cues to avoid confusion with time for cuddling. 

According to research, cats love playing with their caregivers to:

  • Improve their cat-human interaction, 
  • Get used to other people and cats later in life, 
  • Satisfy their natural predatory instincts,
  • show people how they should love them.

Cats are naturally not playmates. They are potentially aggressive; if they don’t play, they only remain with their predatory behavior awaiting a trigger. 

Playing with your cat helps it develop normal behaviors and avoid seclusion and overgrooming. 

    6. Your Cat May Want to Comfort You in Distress

As you interact with your cat, it starts learning your emotions. You may be surprised that your cat knows when you’re unwell, anxious, or upset. 

In such circumstances, seeing your cat hold your hand is not uncommon. It’s simply saying, ‘I love you’ and care for you just like you do for me. 

Many cat owners agree that cats can be very comforting in times of sadness. They can do everything to see their caregivers are not suffering. Some of the actions include holding their caregiver’s hand. 

While talking to Romper, Dr. Sara Ochoa, DVM, explains, “A cat or any pet can tell when you’re sad,” “they sense the change in your behavior and know that you’re upset.” 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my cat hold my hand and lick it?

Your cat holds your hand and licks it As a sign of love and affection. The cat does this to indicate that it’s highly bonded to you.

Why do cats put their hand on your hand?

Cats usually put their paws on your hands to show they’re highly comfortable around you. Therefore, they would like to bond more with you.

what does it mean when a cat holds your hand?

Your cat holding your hand is simply a gesture from your furry friend that it loves you and feels safe around you.

Why does my cat hold my hand when sleeping?

Because he likes to touch you, your cat decides to lay his paw on you before he goes to sleep. He feels comfortable about the physical interaction and appreciates it. It’s like when a couple spoons or holds hands while falling asleep. Your cat is expressing its affection for you.

why does my cat hold my hand?

Cats enjoy being petted, especially by people. Your cat can be trying to get your attention if they put their paw in your hand or grip it with their paws. You may just give them a basic acknowledgement, or they could want to be plucked or massaged. 

What should I do when my cat holds my hand?

Do not turn your little pet away when it is holding your hand to show you affection. Neither should you suffocate them with too much love. calmy crease them to acknowledge their feelings.

Final Thoughts

So, why does my cat hold my hand? There could be many reasons. But most importantly, know that cats are social smarts. 

They usually want to be close to you for petting, cuddling and playing, or they just want to comfort you through your distress. However, note that all cats will not behave like this. Some are very reserved.

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