Why Does My Cat Attack My Hand?

Im getting more and more calls from cat guardians who are confused about why theyre getting bitten when petting their cats. Things start out just fine and then suddenly, without warning, the cat turns around and lashes out with teeth or claws.

Go to the veterinarian to make sure there isnt an injury youre unaware of or some unseen condition such as arthritis, tooth problem, abscess, etc.

How do I get my cat to stop attacking my hands?

Training Steps:. Starting out, use a cat toy on a stick to keep your hands farther from their mouth. If your cat attacks your hand when playing, remove your hand and put a toy in front of them. Click and reward them with a treat when they start playing with the toy instead of going after your hand.

Why does my cat grab my hand and bite me?

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.

Should I let my cat attack my hand?

We recommend that you never let your cat or kitten play with your hands or any part of your body. This includes anything you might be wearing (for example, try to avoid cat toys that are made to be worn as gloves).

Why does my cat attack me out of nowhere?

There are many possible reasons why cats suddenly attack their owners including misguided play, a show of dominance, fear, or a medical issue. The good news is that, with time and patience, the issue can usually be corrected.

Cat attacks are either predatory or play aggression, and both behaviors may look identical. These behaviors in cats range from minor to severe scratching and biting. It’s unlikely that a scratch or bite from a house cat will be fatal, but such injuries can be painful and run the risk of infection.

But if it attacks under these circumstances, it’s easily attributed to a specific cause, which is different from sustained or frequent aggressive behavior. Any combination of stealth, silence, alert stance, hunting postures, and lunging or springing at “prey” that moves suddenly after being still.

What begins as “play” can tip over into dangerous aggression, bites, and outright attacks when the kitten or cat becomes aroused. They are known to terrorize shy, fearful cats , bully smaller kittens, and pester geriatric felines, in addition to targeting owners. Before trying behavior modification techniques, it’s worth a trip to the veterinarian to make sure there isn’t an underlying medical condition causing a kitten’s aggression.

There are a number of ways you can encourage healthy, vigorous play in your kitten but avoid aggressive behavior that may result in injury. Stop an attack in progress via a water gun, citronella spray, or the sound of hissing air from an aerosol can.

This stuff always seems to come in clusters. I spent some time counseling the first foster about why his cat was biting him. I spent even more time counseling the second foster. Then I worked with the adopter who had the same issue. It finally took Jackson Galaxys My Cat From Hell on Animal Planet doing an episode where every cat bit his or her person, for me to see the, ah, cat scratches on the wall. Or bites on my arm.

Most people know how sensitive a cats whiskers are, and wouldnt be rough with that spot on their faces. What people dont realize is that while the muzzle contains the greatest number of whiskers, cats actually have them all over their bodies, on their paws, head, back Theyre smaller and finer, so not as easily seen, but if you look closely, theyre there.

For some cats, however, their whiskers are ultra sensitive, and not just on their faces but everywhere. Imagine that you were incredibly ticklish, and that someone for the sake of argument, someone you even liked a lot wouldnt stop tickling you. And its not surprising that fosters and owners are surprised when the affectionate cat suddenly snaps and takes a bite out of the hand they love

You can pet a dog, all day, and hell only bite you if you stop. And thats another difference between the species discipline that works on a dog is the wrong approach for a cat. Before we talk about changing feline biting behavior, though, you need a little Urdu to French translation.

When a cat becomes overstimulated from petting, she is actually telling you that shes had enough if you speak her language . Dogs beat their tails back and forth when theyre happy. Cats give a slow flick of just the tip of the tail.

When the whole tail becomes involved, swishing back and forth thats a warning. Also, watch the eyes , A calm, relaxed cats pupils will be narrow. If a ridge stands up or her skin ripples the cat is also telling you, in cat-speak, shes done.

Its like someone one time said to me after watching the Amityville Horror you know, when your house tells you get out Get Out! When you do touch her, concentrate on her head, the sides of her face, and the back of her neck. Stay away from full body petting you may get there eventually, but dont try it in the beginning.

Many cats get more sensitive toward their tails you may have seen a cat who would stick his rump in the air if you petted him at the base of the tail thats a high stimulation spot. Also, the closer you are to the back of the head, the harder it is to whip around and bite you. Send her to the floor but dont touch her because shes building up to a snap.

Gently, slowly stand up and shell leap down. If she does go too far and bite or swat, put her on the floor again, by gently standing up. Dont push her with your hands, and totally ignore her.

Dont be surprised if she wants right back up fairly soon cats recover quickly, and the petting aggressive ones seem to be the ones that want the contact to begin with. At first, she wont quite know what she did wrong but she will quickly make the association between biting, and a time out. You may be able to help establish a calming atmosphere which will increase her tolerance by using a pheremone spray or plugins such as Feliway, or a flower essence such as Jackson Galaxy Solutions. Try spraying on a small blanket or towel, on your lap.

Shell sit with you, shes affectionate she just isnt a cat that can be held, or excessively petted. I have a cat with petting aggression but I havent been bitten in a long time.

1. Vet Visit for Your Cat

Just to be on the safe side, have your cat examined by the veterinarian because the sudden aggression may be the result of pain. He may be fine when you pet him in some locations on his body but if you hit that tender spot he may react aggressively. Go to the veterinarian to make sure there isn’t an injury you’re unaware of or some unseen condition such as arthritis, tooth problem, abscess, etc.

Signs of Aggression

The stalking and hunting instincts of their ancestors are still very strong in modern-day house cats. Usually, a cat sees something moving in a way that provokes the instinct to attack, meaning that the cat considers the object (a hand, a foot, a small child) to be a threat or prey. Either way, the cat is driven to use its claws and possibly its teeth to complete the attack.

Why does my cat attack me?

I can’t tell you how often I hear “why does my cat attack me?” Let’s start with full disclosure – I have a cat with “petting aggression.” “Aggression” isn’t really the right word, though that’s what it’s generally called. It’s not really aggressive – nor is it mean, nor is the intent to actually hurt someone.Most people know how sensitive a cat’s whiskers are, and wouldn’t be rough with that spot on their faces. What people don’t realize is that while the muzzle contains the greatest number of whiskers, cats actually have them all over their bodies, on their paws, head, back… They’re smaller and finer, so not as easily seen, but if you look closely, they’re there.Just as some people aren’t ticklish, some cats aren’t particularly sensitive about their whiskers, or about being touched. For some cats, however, their whiskers are ultra sensitive, and not just on their faces but everywhere. Imagine that you were incredibly ticklish, and that someone – for the sake of argument, someone you even liked a lot – wouldn’t stop tickling you. You’d be screaming “stop, stop,” right? Well, imagine now that you only spoke Urdu, but your tickler spoke only French. And because he didn’t understand, he wouldn’t stop. Eventually, what would you do – if he weighed 10 times what you did and you couldn’t get away? Right. You’d bite him, or hit him.

Cats’ thresholds for being touched vary

Those not-very-ticklish cats, they’re the exception. Those are the ones you can roll over and give belly rubs to. I have one of those, also. He’s a limp dishrag when you handle him, and he loves it. The extremely ticklish cats, they’re the exception, too. Most cats fall somewhere in the middle. The ones that exhibit petting aggression – they’re usually the friendly ones, the ones that seek out petting. And it’s not surprising that fosters and owners are surprised when the affectionate cat suddenly snaps and takes a bite out of the hand they love…One of the intriguing things about cats is that they’re not dogs. You can pet a dog, all day, and he’ll only bite you if you stop. Cats… the sensitive ones… have a threshold. And, you have to understand how they tick, if you’re going to change their behavior. Dogs, they’ll modify their behavior because they want to please you. Cats, on the other hand, to change their behaviors, you have to convince them that they want to change. And that’s another difference between the species – discipline that works on a dog – is the wrong approach for a cat.

Understanding how cats communicate

Before we talk about changing feline biting behavior, though, you need a little Urdu to French translation. When a cat becomes overstimulated from petting, she is actually telling you that she’s had enough – if you speak her language.

Feline body language

The most obvious sign is the tail. Dogs beat their tails back and forth when they’re happy. Cats give a slow flick of just the tip of the tail. When the whole tail becomes involved, swishing back and forth – that’s a warning. Also, watch the eyes, A calm, relaxed cat’s pupils will be narrow. When they dilate, the stimulation tank is full. Watch also the fur along the back and the back of the head. If a ridge stands up – or her skin ripples – the cat is also telling you, in cat-speak, she’s done. It’s like someone one time said to me after watching the Amityville Horror – you know, when your house tells you “get out…” Get Out! When the cat tells you she’s done – leave her be. If she’s on your lap, stop touching her.

How to pet a cat

When you do touch her, concentrate on her head, the sides of her face, and the back of her neck. Stay away from full body petting – you may get there eventually, but don’t try it in the beginning. Many cats get more sensitive toward their tails – you may have seen a cat who would stick his rump in the air if you petted him at the base of the tail – that’s a high stimulation spot. Also, the closer you are to the back of the head, the harder it is to whip around and bite you.

How to conduct a petting session

Now that you know what to watch for, end the petting sessions before she’s had enough. Send her to the floor – but don’t touch her because she’s building up to a snap. Gently, slowly stand up and she’ll leap down. Then, give her a treat. If she does go too far and bite or swat, put her on the floor – again, by gently standing up. Don’t push her with your hands, and totally ignore her. Don’t push her off, don’t scold, don’t make eye contact, just totally shun her. Especially, don’t use a spray bottle, don’t tap her nose. Those techniques may work to discourage other behaviors, but retraining aggression with aggression is doomed to fail. You’re speaking French again, not Urdu, when you do that.

Patience is key

Don’t be surprised if she wants right back up fairly soon – cats recover quickly, and the petting aggressive ones seem to be the ones that want the contact to begin with. Let her back up and start over. At first, she won’t quite know what she did wrong – but she will quickly make the association between biting, and a “time out.” You may be able to help establish a calming atmosphere which will increase her tolerance by using a pheremone spray or plugins such as Feliway, or a flower essence such as Jackson Galaxy Solutions. Try spraying on a small blanket or towel, on your lap.The last thing to consider is to embrace what the cat brings to you. She’ll sit with you, she’s affectionate – she just isn’t a cat that can be held, or excessively petted. The house is telling you, “get out” — don’t hold her.I have a cat with petting aggression – but I haven’t been bitten in a long time. Working with the cat, understanding the cat – goes a long way toward producing desirable behaviors.