Cats are independent animals that like to cuddle and be petted, but many do not like being picked up. It simply is not in their nature. After all, they would not pick each other up or expect any other animal to pick them up in nature, so they are not genetically inclined to enjoy being picked up now that they are domesticated. Cats that are handled by their caretakers from a young age are more likely to tolerate being picked up and held.
Cats that do not like being picked up can be trained to tolerate it with patience and understanding. It’s all about gaining trust and creating a solid bond. Not all cats will come around to getting picked up and will always protest such an act. Some cats seem to like being picked up from the get-go, though. If your kitty enjoys being picked up and held, consider yourself lucky to be able to share that bond with them!
Reasons That a Cat Might Stop Wanting to Be Picked Up
If your cat liked being picked up and held but has recently stopped enjoying it, there are a few reasons behind the new reaction. First, a cat could be in pain or ill, and being held is not comfortable to them. If illness or pain is the problem, other signs should also be present, such as diarrhea, lethargy, limping, and whimpering. A traumatic experience can also cause cats to retreat and stop wanting to be picked up or held.
Having a bad experience with a stranger outside, being attacked by another animal in the house, and being teased by children can all negatively affect your cat and their ability to be open and trusting when interacting with you. If your cat likes to be held by you but does not want other people to pick them up, it could be that they don’t like being picked up in general but trusts you enough to engage in the activity.
Getting a Cat Used to Being Picked Up
If your new pet cat does not seem completely opposed to being picked up, there are a few things that you can do to get them used to it and even enjoy it. It is important not to force your kitty to be held, though, as this will just deter them from wanting to be picked up again in the future. If they resist being picked up, let them go and give them their space.
Forcing your kitty to be held can cause them stress and make them retreat from interactions altogether. To get your cat used to being picked up, start by simply petting them while you are sitting comfortably in a chair or on a couch. Encourage them to get on your lap while you pet them. Once they are comfortable on your lap, gently pick them up and cuddle them against your neck.
Keep practicing these steps until your kitty is comfortable while being held near your neck. Once they are comfortable with the practice, you can start trying to pick them up while you stand. Make slow movements, and always ensure that your kitty knows that they are in charge of when they are held. The process of getting your cat comfortable with being picked up and held can take days, if not weeks, so patience is necessary.
A Short Recap
Many cats don’t like being held because it is not in their nature. Others don’t mind it, and still others can be trained to enjoy it. You can enjoy your cat’s company and bond with one another even if your kitty does not enjoy being picked up. Find other activities to do together that they do enjoy, such as playing fetch and cuddling on the couch.
Featured Image Credit: Zhuravlev Andrey, Shutterstock