Last Updated: 1 month ago

Wondering how to get your cat to let you hold her?

We’ve got you covered with our guide for encouraging kitty snuggles!

This force-free method respects their independence while also helping you get those cat cuddles you’re craving.

Read on to find out how to hold a cat!

How to Teach Your Cat to Let You Hold Her

It’s a popular consensus that cats are independent animals. This would probably explain why they aren’t fans of being held and picked up.

In their minds, they were going about minding their own business, and to have you come over and aggressively pick them up is disruptive.

If you are a cuddler and want to share a snuggle with your furry feline friend, there could be a way to turn her into a lap cat that likes being held.

While cats take pride in their solidarity, deep down, they do love you. So with the proper steps, your cat can get accustomed to being held.

1. Create a Safe and Soothing Environment

cat playing with toys

Make sure nothing in the vicinity could scare or distract your cat. Cats are very sensitive and alert; therefore, they don’t take too kindly to sudden noises.

Turn your phone off, mute the TV, and head into a room with more privacy—these are all steps you can take to create the right atmosphere to relax your cat.

This is only required in the beginning, when you are lap-training your cat.

As time passes and they open up to cuddling and eventually being held, turning off every ringer in the house won’t be necessary.

2. Play Hard to Get

A major difference between cats and dogs is that cats take their sweet time.

They do things according to their own timeline and would rather not be forced into giving affection.

You need her to want to be near you, sidle up next to you, and not force it out of her.

Find a spot where your cat frequents or enjoys an afternoon nap. Get into a comfortable position and take part in a quiet activity.

Reading, drawing, or even attempting to catch a few winks yourself could draw your cat to you.

Remember, do not chase. When your cat decides it’s time to leave your comfy embrace, let her.

3. Positive Reinforcement

This does the trick with most pets and even small children.

Strengthen your bond by providing positive reinforcement in the form of words, treats, or actions.

Hand them a treat after they’ve come over and settled in your lap. Certain scents and incentives, like catnip, could entice your cat to come over.

After they have positioned themselves comfortably, rub them in a way they like.

To hold your cat, start with small movements like a pat on the head or a rub under the belly to gently coax them into your arms.

4. Know How to Properly Hold a Cat

a pregnant woman holding her cat

The best way to approach your feline is from either side.

Your loving hug may seem like an ambush from behind or too aggressive and head-on from the front.

Pet her a little bit to assess her mood. If she is feeling grouchy, pick another time for snuggles.

Always approach her with a gentle demeanor. When you exude a certain sense of tranquility and peace, it can calm the most anxious of cats.

Slowly place one hand under her chest and the other under her belly. This supports your cat’s entire body.

Once you have her lifted and securely in place, slip a hand under her hind legs and bottom to give her stability.

Cradle her gently and make sure there is a lot of body contact.

5. Know Your Cat

carrying a cat

Different cats may prefer different positions.

Some may prefer to face away from you; some may like to be cradled like a baby; while others may want to have their torso against your chest.

Figure out what your feline likes, and don’t worry; she will give you plenty of clear indications.

6. Don’t Force It

This part is a reminder of its utmost importance. Let your cat dictate the terms of the cuddle.

When you notice her starting to get antsy, squirmy, and trying to escape, then its time to set her down.

Do not hold her against her will. This will make your cat associate being held with being restrained, and it will put her off any future attempts.

Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by holding on. Gently place the cat down, the keyword being gently.

Do not drop her from your standing position or let go suddenly. Support her weight and put her down carefully.

However, if she attempts to leap out of your grasp, you need to be ready for that as well.

7. Do Not Hold Her by the Scruff of Her Neck

holding a cat by the face

Their mothers do it, but only up to a certain age.

When cats are over three months old, they will be too heavy to be lifted by only the skin of their necks, and it could cause long-term muscle damage.

Sometimes holding the scruff of their necks is necessary when trying to assert control, such as when taking certain medications, but never lift them by this area.


We all want to strengthen the bond between our cat cuddle buddies through physical affection.

While dogs may welcome it at any time of the day, their feline counterparts are usually more averse to forced intimacy.

The key is to make your cat feel comfortable and give them the freedom to come to you at their own pace.

Did you try any of these tips to get your cat to let you hold her? Share your experiences below!

Wondering how to get your cat to let you hold her? Read on for tips to encourage a super independent kitty to do a little more snuggling!
Olfa T
Olfa T

Olfa knows how to get things done and has a keen business sense that others admire. She’s always on the go, coming up with new ideas! Her ability to anticipate the needs of her readers and deliver information that they want is what makes CatVills such a success. She loves cuddling her cat Picaciu. He is her inspiration.