Helping Guide Bengal Cat Owners

Why Does My Cat Hug My Arm and Bite Me?

For such a cuddly fur of chaos, cats can be unpredictable. If your cat is always hugging and biting your arm, we have a few possible reasons for you.

Your cat may be trying to tell you something! They want to play, are overstimulated, or aren’t in the mood to engage with you.

What can you do to deal with this behavior? Let’s find out what’s causing it and how you can address their wants and needs.

Why Is My Cat Biting My Arm?

One thing to note about this behavior is who’s doing it, the kitten or the adult cat? Kittens much like human babies explore the world using their mouths, and since kittens don’t have fingers to grab things willingly, kittens bite because they are yet to learn that humans don’t interact this way.

Adult cats, on the other, know that it is painful for us to be bitten on the arm, and so they do this to catch our attention for something they want or need.

  • Asserting dominance. Cats want their space and if they feel that you are invading it or dominating, they’ll quickly let you know by biting, hissing and yowling, or scratching.
  • Not wanting to be touched. You may have pet them too much or have touched sensitive parts of their body. It’s their way of saying, “No, don’t do that.”
  • Asking for food, water, affection, or playtime. A hungry cat can be gentle with letting you know that they want food, but some learn that getting you to react with an “ow” instead of an “aw” is more effective. They do it too when they want to play again or demand affection.
  • Behavioral issue. There should be limited tolerance on your part for this behavior. When a cat keeps latching on to your arm and biting, even though you have provided every possible thing they want, it’s wiser to deal with this issue sooner than later.

Read: Why Do Cats like to Watch Running Water?

What Can I Do to Stop My Cat From Biting Me?

Kittens learn faster so it’s always best to start young. It will take more patience and effort to train your adult cat from using its mouth instead of its voice.

  • Don’t use your hand or arm as a toy. When your cat learns that it can scratch and bite your hand for fun, it will grow up thinking it’s okay to do this. Use toys instead.
  • Be consistent with your boundaries and tell your guests. You train your cat to bite the toy and not you, and although guests find it cute that they’re being nibbled on, this shouldn’t be allowed. Your cat will get confused and continue to practice this behavior.
  • Replace arms with toys and a reward. Use that chaotic energy and tire it out of them. Give them their treats to reward good behavior. If you have time, schedule playtime for at least 30 minutes or an hour every day.
  • Keep their water fresh every two to five hours and make sure they’re fed.
  • VCAHospitals recommends using loud noises such as alarms and a water spray to dissuade your cat from biting.

How Do I React When My Cat Hugs My Arm and Bites It?

As annoying and painful as it can be, don’t be tempted to smack them as it will only provoke your cat to hurt you more.

Using your other hand, push against their ribcage and quickly put your hand far from their reach. Don’t pull your body away while the teeth are on your flesh or clothing as your cat will hold on to you. Maintain distance and use a stern voice to tell them no. Make an angry face. Cats can recognize your facial expressions.

Read: Understanding Your Cat’s Body Language: Why Is My Cat Acting Strange and Scared?

Why Does My Cat Grab My Arm and Bite Me When I Rub His Belly?

Our cats are as proud as can be but they have subtle ways of telling us that they’re appreciative of our care and how much they trust us – they expose their bellies. Unfortunately, it’s not always an invitation for a belly rub.

Your cat bites because that’s their way of saying, “Stop. I don’t like that.” It hurts us to be pushed away like that but understand that they have boundaries as much as we do. When rubbing their belly, make sure to note their reactions if they like it or they outright hate it.

Read: 5 Common Reasons Your Cat May Be Acting Quieter Than Usual

Why Does My Cat Want Me to Pet Her but then Bites Me?

Petting-induced aggression or overstimulation aggression is when cats attack unprovoked while being petted. You call for them and touch their head but then they bite.

This happens due to overstimulation from being stroked or after it’s given attention. The cause is hard to pinpoint and it happens unpredictably

Why Does My Cat Bite Me While Cuddling?

It’s a short-lived moment to cuddle a cat. You can’t predict when they’re over it, so they let you know with a bite. Your cat is telling you that it’s done with cuddling and wants to be left alone.

You may be tempted to coax your cat into prolonging the cuddle but it’s best to leave it alone. It’ll come back for more after a few days or hours.

Read: Do Cats Like to Hunt at Night?

Is It Okay to Play-Bite with My Cat?

Kittens have an adorable way of telling us they love us, such as nibbling on our fingers. As cute as it is, biting from your cat should not be encouraged.

When those sharp teeth leave you hissing in pain, don’t chastise your cat by cuddling as it’ll see it as a green light to keep it like tradition. This becomes a behavioral issue for you and your guests.

What Are the Warning Signs My Cat Will Bite?

  • Your cat growls or lets out a low humming sound.
  • Your cat stares at you with dilated eyes.
  • The tail swishes back and forth.
  • The skin prickles in waves over their body.
  • They’re in a position ready to pounce.

You have to be mindful of your actions and perceptive of your cat’s moods. One thing to watch out for is when you keep mindlessly petting them for over two minutes, and then they strike.

It can be hard to tell the warning signs as they can bite unexpectedly even when you think both of you are having fun. Sometimes, it’s better to let your cat be touched on its terms. They will come to you when they want it, and when you’re lucky, you may stroke them for as long as you like.

Read: Why Is My Cat Hovering over the Water Bowl but Not Drinking? Is It Something I Have to Worry About?

Can A Cat Bite Lead to an Infection?

Cats have sharp teeth that can tear the skin open for bacteria to be welcomed in. In an article reviewed by nurse practitioner Dr. Cynthia Cobb, four diseases were listed to be carried by cats including Cat Scratch Disease and Tetanus.

Symptoms of an infected cat bite are listed below:

  • Discoloration and warmth on the wounded area.
  • Swelling and inflammation.
  • Formation of blister/s.

Some symptoms manifest within 1 to 2 weeks after the incident. For more severe reactions to the bite:

  • Pus and strange odor from the infection.
  • Loss of sensation in the area.
  • Fever and fatigue.
  • Tender and swollen lymph nodes.
  • A red, pink, or purple growing bump that looks like an open sore or ulcer.


Cats utilize their mouth in many ways to tell us something. They bite to ask for food, water, affection, and even playtime. When they’re overstimulated, they bite too to tell us they don’t want it anymore. And of all areas on our body to be bitten, they bite the arm or hand the most because it’s easier to latch on to.

Scroll to Top