Little by little, start from simply petting them, to holding them on their sides, to lifting them a little bit, to finally being able to pick them up. If the cat really fights you, try to make it quick and then give the cat space and peace to slowly rebuild the trust.
Some cats are very particular when it comes to being held – let alone getting picked up. However, there will be times where you will absolutely need to pick them up. What do you do then? Is there a safe way where you don’t have to sacrifice your extremities? You’ll be glad to know that the answer is YES. Read on to find out how.
Breeds like Ragdolls and Ragamuffins are known for being cuddle bugs – they crave human attention so much, and are always open for some physical expressions of affection. The same cannot be said for some cats though.
Before we even hope to pick up a cat who really doesn’t want to be picked up, we must first understand why they don’t want to be swept off their feet in the first place.
For one, getting picked up and held tight by an animal much bigger than yourself is honestly terrifying. To add to that, cats really don’t like feeling restrained. Cats are like water — if given the chance, they’d prefer to escape. If your cat was formerly a stray, then they would definitely appreciate freedom more than cuddles. Another reason why your cat may be distressed when picked up is that it may be a trigger for a past trauma.
If you don’t know the kind of life your cat led before you adopted them, they may have had a history of abuse, thus leaving them too fearful and distrusting to be picked up. It is advised that you take your cat to a vet to see if there are any underlying medical reasons as to why your cat isn’t comfortable being picked up.
If it is not any of the above, your cat not liking being picked up could simply be because it’s unnatural to them. Cats have a totally different language than us. Picking up is as foreign to cats as them putting their bums towards our faces is to us. Your cat may also eel a bit disrespected when picked up. After all, cats are incredibly proud creatures.
Now, to answer the main question of this article, there is a way for you to pick up your cat in preparation for the times when you will actually need to pick them up. The big secret is to help them tolerate being held. Little by little, start from simply petting them, to holding them on their sides, to lifting them a little bit, to finally being able to pick them up. Don’t forget to respect your cat’s comfort at every stage. Once they’ve reached their limit, don’t push it. Try again tomorrow. Of course, praise and give them treats throughout this whole training.
But what if you need to pick up your cat RIGHT NOW? You must do it carefully. Don’t just pick them up from behind where they can’t see you. You don’t want to startle your cat – you want to keep on their good side the whole time. If your cat is a grown cat, and not a tiny kitten, do not pick them up by the scruff of their neck as this can be potentially painful and dangerous for them.
Make sure your cat knows your intentions when you go for the pick-up. Lift them up gently but securely. You want them to feel fully supported. When your cat struggles, contain the urge to hold them closer and tighter. Remember, cats don’t like feeling restrained.
Don’t carry your cat like a baby. Keep your hand under their belly as you’re placing your cat against your chest. Do not let their legs dangle – help them feel secured.
When it’s time for you to let your cat go, they will probably try to run away, so make sure all of the doors and windows are closed. Do give them their space to cool off, and try not to attempt any physical interaction before your cat is fully ready again.
What are the friendliest cat breeds?
Cat temperaments are often linked to their breeds. If you want a cat who will surely enjoy your attention and affection, these are three of the many great breeds to look out for:
- Persian. The quintessential lap cat. They love to snuggle but are not so demanding of your attention. They are very laidback little fur balls.
- Abyssinian. Smart and active cats who are not typically lap cats, but they really enjoy human attention. These cats are so smart; they may be training you more than you’re training them.
- Ragdoll. They’re often called the puppy cats. They’re absolute people pleasers. They’ll play fetch, come when called, and even follow you from room to room.
What is cat squishing?
Cat squishing is a way to restrain a cat without them feeling uncomfortable and for you to keep safe – great for when you need to give your cats their medicine. Squish your cat down on a surface in a gentle but firm way. Sounds weird, but this technique works well and doesn’t give your cat unnecessary stress.
Why do mama cats carry their kittens by the neck?
At the back of the kitten’s necks, they have a loose patch of skin. This is their scruff. When cats are held by their scruff, their instinct is to become instantly submissive. This is a way for mama cat to calm down their energetic kittens, or to transport them easily without much fuss. However, if you are not a cat yourself, it’s best not to carry cats or kittens by their scruffs.
The thing with cats is they value their personal space. If you need to carry them around, just be sure to give them the respect that they need, to be aware of their comfort level, and to keep them secured.