Last Updated: 1 month ago

Have you ever wondered why your cat hates being picked up?

Some cats like to be held, but others try to wiggle the moment you hug them.

Even the sweetest cat might not like being held, and it’s definitely a confusing thing for some cat owners.

Why does one cat hate being picked up while another cat likes it?

Today we’re going to explore 7 things that answer the question: why does my cat hate being picked up?

7 Reasons Why Cats Hate Being Held

Picking your cat up and holding their purring body to your chest is one of the perks of being a cat owner.

It relaxes you and makes your worries and anxiety disappear for a couple of minutes.

Unfortunately, some cats barely tolerate being held and do the impossible to avoid your cuddling attempts.

So, are you doing something wrong, or is your cat strange? Let’s find out the answer to the question: Why does my cat hate being picked up?

#1 Your Cat Is Scared

Imagine that you’re as small as your cat and going on your business when somebody picks you up without warning.

How would you feel being randomly picked up off of the solid ground and being held by a giant? Scared is the first thing to come to mind.

Some cats hate being picked up because the whole experience is too terrifying for them.

I’m talking about cats who startle easily at loud noises or sudden movements and dash to hide whenever they feel threatened.

Unfortunately, some kitties are shy and easy to spook by nature, and you can’t do much to change their personalities.

For some, getting picked up by humans is too close to being attacked by predators, so they’re never going to enjoy it.

If your cat seems genuinely afraid when you pick them up, you should leave your kitty on the ground.

Let them approach you on their terms to avoid getting scratched or antagonizing your cat.

#2 Your Cat Isn’t Well-Socialized

Another reason you might find yourself saying, “My cat hates being held,” is a lack of socialization.

You might think that socialization is a puppy thing, but it’s an essential kitten care tip as well.

If a young kitten doesn’t get exposed to humans early in their life, they might be wary and shy around people as they develop into adult cats.

Cats who haven’t had positive human interactions usually see your petting and cuddling attempts as something dangerous.

They don’t understand that you show your affection and love by holding them and would claw their way out of your hands if they had to.

Fortunately, unsocialized cats might like being held if you put effort into making it a very positive experience.

#3 Your Cat Feels Disrespected

Cats love to observe the world from up high, but only when they get there of their own free will.

Pick them up and place them on the counter or the chair, and they will give you the stinky eye.

So, some cats feel like you don’t respect their climbing abilities when you pick them up to hold them.

They prefer to reach their destination by themselves and feel offended that you think they need your help to do it.

What you can do in these situations is to put more vertical space in your house and let your cats come to your eye level by themselves.

#4 Your Cat Feels Restricted

When you pick your cat up, you do it with good intentions. You want to cuddle Kitty and show how much you love her.

But your embrace might still feel like a cage to your cat. It can especially feel like a form of restraint if you tend to snuggle them close to your chest.

All cats hate it when they’re restricted and can’t go wherever they want to go.

That’s why they despise closed doors and spend so much time scratching and meowing at you to open them.

Usually, former stray cats need a lot more space than cats who have never lived on the streets.

These cats need to feel that they’re in control of the situation and don’t like feeling trapped in their arms.

So, if a cat feels that you’re restricting its movements, it’ll struggle to get free of your loving embrace.

Fortunately, you can turn them into lap cats with enough patience, time, and rewards.

#5 Your Cat Has Had a Negative Experience

Another reason why your cat hates being held is a traumatic experience from the past.

While cats don’t form memories as we do, positive and negative events leave their mark and shape your cat’s behavior.

Adopted or rescued cats have a history that you can’t possibly know.

Some of these cats might have been through something that has made them afraid of people picking them or holding them, such as a bad experience with a previous owner.

You have to understand that it’s not only about abusive situations.

A cat who was startled by a loud sound while being held in someone’s arms might also hate being picked up and carried around.

In these situations, you can work on making your cat understand that being picked up equals good things.

However, abused or maltreated cats might never trust humans completely. That’s something you’ve got to accept.

#6 Your Cat Is in Pain

Does your cat suddenly hate being picked up and meow whenever you try to do it? Then your cat might be in pain.

Whenever a pet deviates from their established patterns and behaviors, it’s usually a sign of illness Your cat might have fallen while jumping and hurt their stomach or back.

If your pet has access to the outside world, someone might have kicked your kitty, or stray dogs might have attacked them.

So, you should make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible if your cat seems to be in pain.

#7 It’s a Breed Thing

Finally, some cat breeds are more likely to hate being picked up than others.

For example, Ragdolls are one of the most laid-back cats, and they love it when you hold them.

They usually get limp whenever somebody picks them up, hence their name.

On the other hand, Abyssinians and Bengals don’t like cuddles, and some people even consider them an aggressive cat breed.

Persians also don’t like climbing as much as other cats. They prefer to keep their paws on the ground and nap on the couch.

How Do I Get My Cat to Like Being Held?

Use a soothing voice when picking up your cat, and give it plenty of treats as long as the kitty doesn’t struggle. Put her down when she wants to.

Remember, it’s important to tailor your training session to your cat’s tolerance level to ensure that it responds well to this new form of affection.

How Do You Pick Up a Cat That Doesn’t Like Being Picked Up?

In general, if you’ve tried making being picked up a pleasant experience for your cat and it won’t go for it, you really should push the issue.

However, if you need to pick your cat up for an emergency or to administer medications, there are ways to do it.

Most of the time, scruffing your cat will put it in the “off” position.

Many vets actually call the scruff “the off button.”

Most cats will immediately go limp when scruffed, making it easier to pick them up even if they don’t like it. 

Just to be on the safe side, especially if you’re administering medications, you should also wrap your cat in a towel.

This “kitty burrito,” as it’s called, helps keep your cat from squirming away or scratching you.

My Cat Hates Being Held, and That’s Okay

Don’t sweat it too much if your cat hates being picked up.

Some cats are just too shy, reserved, or dignified to allow a human to carry them around.

Some of them may have reasons that stem from previous abuse as well, making it even more important not to push the issue. 

Respect your cat’s boundaries and let them approach you on their terms.

Otherwise, your cat will avoid your hands whenever they think you’re about to pick them up. That will make taking your cat to the vet impossible.

What do you think about these 7 reasons why your cat hates being picked up? Does your cat like being held? Tell us below!

Have you ever wondered why your cat hates being picked up? Worried you’re doing something wrong? Read on for 7 reasons why he’s just not into your snuggles!
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.