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Why Does My Cat Hug My Arm? 5 Vet-Reviewed Reasons

Written by: Melissa Gunter

Last Updated on March 23, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

cat hugs hand

Why Does My Cat Hug My Arm? 5 Vet-Reviewed Reasons


Dr. Luqman Javed Photo


Dr. Luqman Javed

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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It isn’t every day that a cat will allow you to enter the sanctity of their world. Many cats parade around the house like they own it, which we know they do, and graciously ignore you until they are ready for food. Then at other times, your cat will do something so shocking you’re running to the Internet to find out if something is wrong with them or if it’s something more sinister like plotting to kill you while you sleep.

Thankfully for cat owners around the world, not everything your cat does has ulterior motives. For instance, you may wonder why your cat suddenly hops up and hugs your arm. Or perhaps they do this when you’re sleeping or even while the two of you are lounging on the sofa. The reason your cat hugs your arm could be a bit surprising to you. The most common answer is, they want to show you affection. Yes, shocking, but true. However, there are a few other reasons your cat may decide to bestow their touch upon you and hug your arm. Let’s take a deeper look so you can rest easier at night knowing your kitty isn’t hashing out a master plan.

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The 5 Reasons Why Your Cat Hugs Your Arm

Cats have individual personalities. Like us humans, each one has their own quirks, likes, dislikes, and temperaments. This is what makes us love the little divas so much. With that being said, pinpointing the exact reason a particular cat does something is hard, especially if the relationship with the kitty is new. To help you better answer the question as to why your cat is hugging your arm, we’ll take a look at several reasons why your kitty may be doing this. The more you understand your cat, or get to know them if the relationship is new, you’ll be able to determine which reason suits your kitty’s personality best.

1. They Are Showing You Affection

While it may be hard to believe, cats do like us, sometimes. Nice kitties or those who deem you worthy tend to try and show you how important you are in their lives. When your cat is in a particularly affectionate mood, they may want to hold your arm and let you know. If the situation allows for you to sit there with your kitty and soak in the affection they are showing, definitely do it. This will only strengthen the bond between the two of you.

2. Your Kitty Is Looking for Security

Cats are known for getting stressed out and anxious in certain situations. Perhaps they heard something outside that frightened them or new circumstances are taking place inside the home. When things like this happen, your cat may expect you to provide them with comfort and security so they can deal. One way of reaching out for this security is to hug your arm.

A young teen girl naps on the couch, hugging her cat
Image Credit: Simone Hogan, Shutterstock

3. Your Cat Could Be Cold

Like many of us, cats aren’t fans of being cold. When the colder months of the year roll around, it’s not unusual to find your cat curled up on blankets or sleeping near a heating source. You are another source of warmth for your cat. If the chill gets to your kitty, coming up to you for a nice snuggle could make everything right in their world again.

4. They’re Keeping You in Place

If your cat is hugging your arm while the two of you are snuggling in bed or on the sofa, it could be a sign that they don’t want you to move. It’s completely normal for cats to try ways of keeping you with them when they are in the mood to tolerate your presence. Stay in your spot. You most likely don’t want an upset kitty.

5. They Like What You’re Doing

While this doesn’t happen often, there are times when we do something right in the eyes of our kitty and they want our attention. For example, they may allow a belly rub. If that’s the case, they may hold on to your hand to keep you from stopping.

woman hugging a cat
Image Credit: Alek_B, Pixabay

When Holding Your Arm Isn’t a Good Thing

The reasons that your cat may like to hug your arm are mostly cute and welcoming. There are times, however, when your cat “hugging” your arm isn’t so nice, and all cat parents have been in this situation. If a simple hug to the arm turns into a tight squeeze with hind legs becoming involved, you should prepare yourself. Most likely, the follow-up to this embrace is the dreaded “love bite.”

While none of us truly understand the inner workings of a cat’s mind, we do get the “love bite”. This is when your cat has indulged our cuddling, bonding, and affection all they want. When they are done. They are done. Sometimes they give you warning signs that the fun is over. Other times, they don’t. Either way, if your arm stays in position, and your cat is fed up, a bite will most likely come your way. If you want to avoid these painful reminders of how much your cat is in control, learn to read the room. After a few slip-ups, you’ll know when it’s time to get your arm out of the clutches of the beast.

Do Cats Understand Love and Affection?

While no one can read a cat’s mind, it’s clear that cats get what’s going on around them. They know when you’re happy or sad. They even know when you’re trying to reach out for a bit of affection with them. What’s even better is the fact that sometimes, they want to return your feelings. Of course, not every cat is going to feel this way, and not every cat is going to reciprocate signs of affection. That’s okay. It’s part of the life we choose to lead as cat owners. Some days, it’s great. On other days, we barely exist.

white cat with the owner
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are many reasons a cat may hug your arm, but the main point of this behavior is to show affection towards you. If you have a cute, cuddly kitty who wants to spend their day hugging you and giving you all the kisses, you’re a truly lucky cat owner. If you’re one of the many cat owners out there who is constantly trying to get a bit of affection out of your kitty, relish it when they offer it. Beautiful moments like an arm hug are all too fleeting to ignore.

Featured Image Credit: gka photo, Shutterstock

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