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Why Does My Cat Hold My Hand? 4 Common Reasons

Written by: Sarah Psaradelis

Last Updated on June 7, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Black cat with paw on a girl's hand

Why Does My Cat Hold My Hand? 4 Common Reasons

A pet holding your hand is a sign of love and affection, and it is usually associated with dogs. But cats can be equally as interested in communicating with us on a physical level, sometimes placing their paw in our hand or grabbing our hand between their paws.

This usually means that your cat feels secure with you and that they feel safe enough to show that they feel comfortable being close to someone they love. On some days, your cat might refuse to have their paw held by you, but on other days, they may initiate it themselves. This can depend on your cat’s mood, as how they are feeling plays a major role in how they act throughout the day and toward you.

A cat that is feeling playful, seeking attention, desiring to demonstrate that you’re a place of security for them, or simply wanting to be petted may place their paw in your hand as a way to “hold” it.

cat paw divider

The 4 Reasons Why Your Cat Holds Your Hand

1. To Get Your Attention

There’s no doubt that cats love attention, especially from humans. By placing their paw in your hand or grabbing your hand with their paws, your cat could be looking for attention. This can be a simple acknowledgment from you, or they may want to be rubbed or picked up. Some cats will do this when they are feeling hungry, as they know that this behavior might be enough encouragement to feed them.

Cat's paw on a human hand
Image Credit: Counselling, Pixabay

2. For Security and Safety

A cat that feels safe with you will not hesitate to show how much they love and care for you. You might be a form of comfort and security to your cat, so they will enjoy having you hold their paw without pulling it away, or they will simply place their paw in your hand willingly. Your cat could even be trying to protect you without being able to verbally express this. Instead, your cat may try to be near you and get your attention because they feel protective over you.

Some cats may also do this when they sense that you are acting differently throughout the day, perhaps as their way of asking what is wrong or seeking comfort to know if you are okay.

3. To Be Petted

Most cats enjoy being petted, even if they get irritated with you after a few minutes. If you are petting your cat and suddenly stop, they will try to paw at you to get you to pet them some more. Some cats enjoy petting and your presence, so they will try to hold your hand to encourage you to keep petting them.

Other cats might do this when you are sitting down, and they take it as an invitation to try to get you to pet them. It is also common for cats to lick and paw at your hand if they feel that they do not want you to stop petting them because it feels nice for them.

Petting a ginger cat outside
Image Credit: dashkabudich, Pixabay

4. Due to Playfulness

To some cats, our hands look like toys. Kitties can turn almost anything into a toy or fun activity, which includes pawing at your hand or trying to swat at it. This is just your cat being curious and playful, and they could be showing you that they feel like playing with something.

This would be a good idea to give them a toy to distract them from trying to paw and play with your hand, which can get quite sore if they bring their teeth and claws out if they get too excited.

cat paw divider

Why Do Cats Hold Our Hands When We Are Sad?

While cats do not have the ability to express their emotions on the same level as humans, many cat owners believe that their cat’s extended paw is there to help them feel better in times when they are stressed or sad. When we are feeling down, we may be less energetic than usual.

This means we might spend more time sitting or lying down, which allows your cat to interact with us because they struggle to do it when we are busy. It is also possible that your cat could be sensing your unhappiness by changes in your facial expressions and behavior, and they may try to paw at your hands. This helps many cat owners feel slightly better knowing that their cats care about them when they feel down and that cats do this with love and affection.



If your cat decides to hold your hand with their paw or they allow you to hold their paw in your hand, it is a sign that they trust you. A cat will show how they are feeling in various ways since they cannot verbally communicate with us in a way we understand, and trying to get your attention or show you comfort by pawing at you is one of those ways. Although each reason behind a cat’s hand-holding is different, it’s almost always positive.

Featured Image Credit: cottonbro, Pexels

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