Why Do Cats Hate Being Picked Up? 10 Reasons Why

A vet holding a ginger cat close u

Do you love picking up your kitty and snuggling with her? If so, you’re not alone. Many people enjoy giving their cats a good hug. However, did you know that many cats hate being picked up? In this blog post, we will explore the reasons behind this phenomenon and provide some tips on picking up your cat without triggering her flight response.

Why Do Cats Hate Being Picked Up?

The main reason cats hate being picked up is that they are afraid of being trapped. When you pick up a cat, you are essentially trapping them in your arms. This can be very frightening for a cat, as she may not escape if they feel threatened.

What Other Reasons Do Some Cats Hate Being Carried?

Here are 10 reasons why your cat might not like to be carried.

1. Association With Going To The Vets.

One of the other reasons cats may not like being picked up is that they may have negative associations with it. For example, many cats hate being carried because they associate it with going to the vet. If your cat has a bad experience at the vet’s, they may start to become fearful every time you try to pick her up. To avoid this, make sure to handle your cat gently and with care every time you pick her up.

2. Lack Of Control.

Another reason cats may not like being picked up is that they feel like they have no control over the situation. For example, when you pick up a cat, she can’t move away from you or hide if she feels scared. This lack of control can be very stressful for some cats.

3. Your Cat Is Not Well Socialized:

Another reason your cat may not like being picked up is if she is not well socialized. This means she has not had much exposure to humans and doesn’t understand that we are not a threat. If you have a kitten, it is essential to start handling her from a young age to get used to being touched and picked up.

Socializing kittens with a variety of people is very important. It will help them be less fearful of humans of all ages and build confidence and trust in their human owners.

4. Your Cat Was Rejected By Its Mother When It Was A Kitten:

If your cat was rejected by its mother when it was a kitten, it might start to become scared and mistrusting of humans. This can make it difficult for you to pick her up without becoming fearful or aggressive.

Mother cats will pick their kittens up by the scruff of their neck. However, if the mother cat rejected the kitten, they would not have picked them up in this way, and the kitten would not have experienced being picked up, making it a very stressful and scary experience when they are older.

5. Anxiety:

Another reason your cat may not like being picked up is that it may be suffering from anxiety. This can be caused by several things, such as a change in environment or routine. If you think your cat may be anxious, it is vital to speak to your vet to help you find the cause and provide the appropriate treatment. If you have a nervous cat, it is best to avoid picking her up, increasing her anxiety levels.

6. It Is Painful To Your Cat:

It’s important to remember that picking up your cat can be painful for her. If you pick her up by the scruff of the neck, she may start to feel uncomfortable and even panic. Therefore, it’s essential to be gentle and support her whole body when picking her up.

If your cat cries in pain when you pick them up, it could also indicate that they have an injury or medical condition that is causing them pain when they are carried. If this is the case, you should take them to the vet as soon as possible.

7. It’s Unnatural For Them

Another reason cats may not like being picked up is that it’s simply unnatural for them. For example, unlike dogs, cats are not natural climbers or jumpers. So when you try to pick them up, they may feel awkward and uncomfortable.

Passed kittenhood, cats do not communicate to request to be picked up like they did when they were babies. Picking up an adult cat is not usual behaviour for them and can be seen as a sign of dominance or aggression.

8. Cats Have Their Own Personalities:

Just like humans, cats have their own unique personalities. For example, some cats are naturally more independent than others and do not like to be picked up or held. If you have a cat like this, it is best to respect her wishes and leave her be.

Picking up your cat against her will only cause her to become stressed and resentful towards you. It’s important to remember that cats are not like dogs – they do not enjoy being held and hugged by their owners. If you try to pick up your cat when she doesn’t want it, you may end up getting scratched or bitten.

9. They Are Scared:

Many cats simply don’t like being picked up because they are scared. If your cat is timid or shy, she may not enjoy being lifted into the air and held by a stranger. This can be especially true if she has never been handled by humans before.

If your cat is scared of being picked up, taking things slowly is essential. Start by gently petting her and getting her used to your presence. Once she is comfortable with you, you can try picking her up very slowly and supporting her body the entire time. Remember to praise her and give her a treat when she is calm and relaxed in your arms.

10. Previous Negative Experiences:

If your cat has had negative experiences being picked up in the past, she may start to associate the act with fear or anxiety. For example, if you have ever dropped your cat while trying to pick her up, she may start to become scared every time you try to touch her.

If your cat has had a negative experience being picked up, it’s essential to try and figure out what caused it. Once you know the cause, you can work on fixing it so that your cat will no longer be scared. You may need the help of a behaviourist to do this.

why do cats hate being picked up? A Vet holding a tabby cat

Do All Cats Hate Being Picked Up Or Carried?

Not all cats hate being picked up or carried. Some cats actually enjoy it! If your cat is one of these felines, make sure to give her lots of love and attention. She will certainly appreciate it!

Some breeds, such as the Ragdoll, are known for being more affectionate than others and may actually enjoy being picked up and carried if you’re not sure whether your cat likes being picked up.

My cat Owlie actually hates being picked up, I believe it’s because she doesn’t feel in control of her situation but it could be due to past experiences as she was adopted from the RSPCA.

Picking Up Your Cat The Right Way:

Now that we know why cats hate being picked up let’s look at how to pick up your cat the right way.

  • When picking up your cat, always use two hands. Secure while being transported.
  • One hand should support her chest, and the other should support her hindquarters. You should avoid picking her up by the scruff of the neck as this can be uncomfortable for her.
  • Lift your cat slowly and smoothly so that she doesn’t get scared. Make sure to hold her close to your body and avoid shaking her around.

Picking up your cat the right way will help to ensure that she feels safe and secure. However, it’s important to remember that each cat is different, and some may never enjoy being picked up no matter how well you do it. If your cat truly hates being picked up, it’s best to respect her wishes and leave her be. (Source)

Conclusion: Why Do Cats Hate Being Picked Up?

Though not all cats despise the act of being picked up, many do. There are several reasons why this may be so, including a fear of being lifted into the air, negative past experiences, and simply not enjoying it. If your cat falls into the latter category, it’s important to respect her wishes and refrain from picking her up unless she needs to be transported. Instead, try providing her with plenty of love and attention when calm and relaxed – she’ll certainly appreciate it!

Do you have a cat that hates being picked up? What are your experiences with this? Let us know in the comments below!

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Rochelle is a self-claimed crazy cat lady and proud cat mum to Owlie! She has owned, rescued, and fostered cats throughout her whole life. Rochelle created Cats On My Mind as a hub for likeminded cat parents to get all the information they will ever need to give their fur babies their best life!

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