Excited Cats is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more.

Why Does My Cat Hug My Arm & Bite Me? Possible Reasons & Prevention Tips

Cats are curious creatures, and any pet lover who owns one can tell you it’s true. A cat can be perfectly happy with being petted and loved one second, and the next, it’s hugging your arm and sinking its teeth in.

Cats do this for a variety of reasons. Whether it’s an act of aggression, pain from teething, a sign of affection, or simply the best way to communicate, cats have a way of getting their message across. In the article below, we’ll talk more about why cats hug your arm and bite you and more, so join us.

3 cat face divider

Why Do Cats Hug Your Arm, Then Bite You?

Cats hug your arm, then bite you for a few reasons. It could be from aggression, teething, affection, or other reasons. We’ll delve further into why cats bite in the sections below.

1. Playing

It is possible that your feline is just trying to play with you when it grabs your arm and bites you. Usually, it’s kittens who do this, but adult cats also play this way. You’ve probably seen adult cats grab and bite each other, and most of the time, the behavior is only normal playing among friends. Your cat may be treating you the same way it treats its peers, which means they’re comfortable enough to play with you.

However, it’s not a behavior that should continue, especially since a deep gash from a cat bite can send you to the doctor’s office. If your cat bites you when you try to pet them, avoid petting them until they walk over to you. Some cats are more sensitive about petting and prefer to decide on their own when it’s appropriate for their owners to touch them.

a red domestic cat bites its owner's hand
Image Credit: Irzhanova Asel, Shutterstock
thematic break

2. Teething

Teething is also a reason for a cat to bite you. It’s normal for kittens to bite you and other objects when they’re teething, but you should correct their biting when they are still young if you don’t want them to continue this behavior when they are adults.

While it may be cute for your young kitten to grab your arm and bite you to alleviate teething pain, it won’t be as cute when your 20-pound cat does the same thing down the line. Providing toys that are safe to chew and moving away from your kitten when they try to bite you can reduce the behavior.

thematic break

3. Hunting

Cats are adorable, cute, and cuddly, but they need to keep their hunting skills sharp. Of course, your indoor cat doesn’t need to do that, but their ancestors did, and it’s instinctual. Hugging your arm and biting you is your cat’s way of perfecting its hunting skills in a safe manner.

You can discourage the behavior by providing more toys that allow your cat to satisfy their hunting drive. Catnip mice and teaser toys are excellent choices.

a tabby cat biting owner's hand
Image Credit: Alie04, Shutterstock
thematic break

4. Aggression

Cats get angry, frustrated, and stressed just as we do. Hugging your arm and biting your arm may be redirected aggression. For example, if your cat sees birds and squirrels in your front yard but can’t get out to chase them, they could get frustrated and take it out on you. Your cat will not come after you directly, but if you try to pet them while they’re in an agitated state, you might get bitten.

thematic break

5. Affection

In the end, it’s possible that your cat is showing you affection, especially if they’re just nibbling on your arm. You have noticed that a mother cat does the same with the kittens, and they’ll do the same with her as they get older. However, even if it’s a friendly gesture, you should discourage the behavior by saying “No” and removing your hand.

kitten playing and biting the owner's hand
Image Credit: Giovanna Rim, Shutterstock


Tips for Preventing Your Cat from Biting Your Arm

Now that you know a few reasons why your cat hugs your arm and bites it, we’ll give you a few tips for stopping the behavior.

  • Avoid harsh corrections like yelling
  • Move your arm as soon as you see that your cat is interested in it
  • Distract your cat with toys
  • Spend more time playing with your cat
  • Discourage the behavior when your pet is a kitten
  • Visit the vet or a veterinary behaviorist if the problem persists

cat paw divider

Final Thoughts

Cats grab your arm and bite you for various reasons. Most of the time, it isn’t that big of an issue unless the cat is leaving marks or injuries. If the tips above for preventing your cat from biting your arm don’t work, it may be time to consult your vet. Your vet can recommend a specialist that deals with behavioral issues in cats, so your cat can get the help they need.

thematic break

Featured Image Credit: Luis Echeverri Urrea, Shutterstock