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Why Does My Cat Hold My Hand? 10 Reasons (Cat Behaviour Explained)

Melissa Gunter

By Melissa Gunter

Cute fluffy cat paw on hand

In case you haven’t figured it out, we aren’t cat owners, we are cat minions. We do their bidding to keep them happy and hope they will bestow their love and affection on us in response. We spend our lives trying to understand these cunning little creatures in hopes of forming a bond. When something as simple as your cat coming up to you and placing its paw on your hand happens, our hearts flutter with the hope that we’ve satisfied our precious gifts. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Here’s a look at 10 reasons your cat may be holding your hand. Hopefully, this will help you navigate this odd occurrence and proceed correctly to not upset your kitty queen or king.

The 10 Reasons Why Your Cat Holds Your Hand

1. Security

As pet owners, we want our fur babies to feel safe and protected. If you’ve conveyed this sense of security and protection to your cat, they may show you their appreciation and love by laying their paw in your hand. While this sweet gesture is heartwarming to those of us who strive to provide our pets with a great home life, there could be more to it. Your cat could also be holding your hand to show that they want you to feel protected as well. Yes, a protective pet is normally associated with dogs but cats can care about their owner’s well-being too. Whether they are thanking you for your protection or offering theirs, feeling secure is important for a cat and they love showing it.

gray tabby cat cuddling up to her owner in bed
Image Credit: Chris Abney, Unsplash

2. Love and Affection

Cats are fickle creatures. Each one you meet has its own personality. Perhaps your cat showers you with love and affection daily. Maybe your cat decides to give you a bit of love when they decide you deserve it. Either way it goes, placing their paw in your hand is one of the ways cats show they love you. Now, you know your cat best. If they do this and your heart swells with love your immediate reaction could be to go in for a cuddle. If your cat is a cuddle bug, by all means, go for it. However, if you have one of those cats that only allows affection on their terms, offering a hug after a session of hand-holding may be pushing it. Tread lightly in those cases, my friend.

3. Your Cat Needs Attention

As we’ve already mentioned, cats want things on their terms. Another reason they may try holding your hand is to get your attention. Whether this is a need for affection, they’re out of food, or they want to play it is a great way to make you take notice. Cats do not like being overlooked by their human minions. If you don’t notice their cues and give them the attention they desire, the hand-holding could develop into wrapping their paws around you and biting scenario. Keep your kitty happy to keep your hand safe.

cat with long whiskers looking up
Image Credit: NON, Unsplash

4. The Kitty Is Happy

Kitties love showing you they are happy. You’ll hear the purring. You may even get to feel the wonderful presence of their claws as they make biscuits on your arm, leg, or chest. Another way your cat may show they are happy is to reach over, placing its paw in your hand. This is a sweet gesture made by many cats to show their home life is everything they want it to be. Take the gesture to heart. Making a cat happy, even for a few fleeting moments, is something all kitty minions strive to do.

5. Kitty Wants a Pet

Cats want pets when they are in the mood. Some kitties welcome this type of attention all the time. Others, not so much. If your cat comes to you and places its paw in your hand, it could potentially want a pet. This is where knowing your cat comes into play. Read the room. If your cat seems loving, go in for the pet. If not, just continue to hold their hand until they convey what they truly want from you. It’s a dicey situation but you’ll figure it out. Hopefully.

Cat sleeping with a woman
Image Credit: Neverfurgetmypet, Pixabay

6. Your Cat Is Feeling Playful

Cats love to play. They also like making whatever they find into a toy. This can include your hand. Don’t be surprised if your cat hops up next to you and places its paw on your hand wanting you to share in the fun. Usually, however, when your cat wants you to play, the hand-holding doesn’t last long. They’ll initiate you into the fun.

7. Loneliness

Yes, even though they are the most aloof domestic pets around, cats can still get lonely. When you work long hours or have to spend more time away, don’t be surprised if your cat comes to let you know they miss you. Placing its paw in your hand is a sweet, gentle reminder that although they rule the house, you’re still their human and they miss you.

sad lonely cat
Image by: medveda, Shutterstock

8. You’re Annoying

Cat owners are known for trying their best to play, cuddle, and otherwise spend time with their kitties. Our cats, on the other hand, aren’t always in the mood for this kind of attention. If that’s the case, you may reach out and try to pet your cat when it doesn’t want you to. Using their paw to stop you may look like hand-holding but is actually your cat’s way of saying you’re annoying them.

9. Anxiousness

Cats can get anxious when odd things happen around the house. It can be something as simple as moving a piece of furniture or it could be something major like construction work outside. When your kitty gets nervous, you are its go-to for help. Be supportive and don’t ignore the gesture. This will help your cat understand things are going to be alright.

anxious looking tabby cat
Image Credit: StockSnap, Pixabay

10. Your Cat Is Having a Bad Day

There are times when your cat may simply be having a bad day and wants to be near you to make things better. They could be feeling under the weather or simply bored. Whatever is making their day less than cat-tastic, coming to hold your hand may make it better.


While there are multiple reasons your cat could be holding your hand, knowing your cat is the best way to decipher the ancient code these curious creatures live by. When your kitty comes over to show some affection, be accepting. However, always remember your cat’s mood can change within seconds so don’t be shocked if the loving gesture goes awry quickly. It’s just the way cats are.

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Featured Image Credit: Kunitsa Yana, Shutterstock

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