Do Cats Like To Be Picked Up?

Do cats like to be picked up? The answer is not always the same. Some cats may enjoy being picked up and held, while others may find it stressful. In this article, “Do cats like to be picked up?”, we will explore the different factors that can influence a cat’s opinion on being held and discuss how to tell if your cat is comfortable with being picked up.

What Does it Mean to Pick Up a Cat?

Picking up a cat is an act of trust and understanding between the cat and their owner. It is a way for the owner to show their love and affection for their pet, as well as provide them with comfort and security. Cats can be very sensitive creatures, so it is important to pick them up in a gentle manner that will not cause them any distress.

The Physical Act of Picking Up a Cat

When picking up a cat, it is important to do so in the correct manner. Here are some tips on how to properly pick up your cat:

  • Approach your cat slowly and calmly.
  • Place one hand under their chest and the other hand supporting their hind legs.
  • Lift your cat gently and securely.
  • Hold your cat close to your body.

It is also important to remember that cats can become easily startled or scared if they are picked up too quickly or roughly. Therefore, it is important to take your time when picking up your cat and ensure that they are comfortable with the process.

The Psychological Impact of Being Picked Up

Being picked up by their owner can have both positive and negative psychological impacts on cats. On one hand, being picked up can help cats feel secure, loved, and comforted by their owners. This can help create a strong bond between the two of them. On the other hand, cats may feel anxious or scared if they are picked up too quickly or roughly, which could lead to behavioral issues such as aggression or avoidance of being touched by their owners. Therefore, it is important for owners to understand how their cats feel about being picked up in order to ensure that they are providing them with the best care possible. According to the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), “Cats should only be picked up when necessary—for example, when you need to transport them somewhere—and should never be forced into situations where they feel uncomfortable or unsafe.” Source.

Why Do Cats Not Like to Be Picked Up?

Cats are curious and independent creatures that often prefer to explore their environment on their own terms. While some cats may enjoy being held or petted, many cats do not like to be picked up and held for extended periods of time. This is because cats are naturally fearful of the unknown and lack control over their environment when they are being held.

Fear of the Unknown

Cats are naturally wary of unfamiliar people, places, and things. When a cat is picked up, they may feel scared or threatened by the sudden change in environment. This fear can cause them to become anxious or agitated, making them more likely to struggle or try to escape from being held.

Lack of Control Over Their Environment

Cats prefer to be in control of their environment and may become uncomfortable when they are unable to move freely or explore on their own terms. Being held can also make it difficult for cats to access resources such as food, water, and shelter which can further increase their stress levels. Additionally, cats may not feel safe when they are unable to use their claws or teeth as a form of defense if needed.

Overall, it is important for cat owners to understand why cats do not typically like being picked up and take steps to ensure that their cat feels safe and secure in all situations. Some ways that owners can help reduce stress levels include:

When Is It Appropriate to Pick Up a Cat?

Picking up a cat can be a great way to bond with your furry friend, but it is important to understand when it is appropriate and when it is not. Generally speaking, cats do not like to be picked up and should only be done so when the cat is comfortable with you or when they need medical attention or comfort.

When the Cat Is Comfortable With You

When a cat is comfortable with you, they may allow you to pick them up and even enjoy it. Signs that your cat is comfortable with you include:

If your cat displays any of these behaviors, it may be appropriate to pick them up.

When the Cat Needs Medical Attention or Comfort

In some cases, picking up a cat may be necessary for their health and wellbeing. This includes situations such as:

In these cases, picking up your cat may be necessary in order to provide them with the care they need.


How Can You Make Your Cat More Comfortable With Being Picked Up?

Cats are naturally independent, so it can be difficult to make them comfortable with being picked up. However, there are a few steps you can take to make the process easier.

Establish Trust and Security Through Positive Interactions

Creating a trusting relationship with your cat is key to making them more comfortable with being picked up. Here are some tips for building trust:

  • Spend time playing and interacting with your cat every day.
  • Provide plenty of toys and scratching posts.
  • Give your cat treats when they do something you like.
  • Groom your cat regularly.
  • Socialize your cat with other people and animals.

Provide Comfort and Support During Pick-Ups

When picking up your cat, make sure to provide comfort and support. Here are some tips:

What Are Some Alternatives to Picking Up a Cat?

Cats are unique animals and not all cats like to be picked up. If you want to show your cat affection, there are other ways to do so. Here are some alternatives to picking up a cat that can help build trust and strengthen the bond between you and your pet.

Petting and Grooming Sessions

Petting and grooming sessions are great ways for cats to get comfortable with their owners. This can be done by brushing their fur or scratching behind their ears. Cats also enjoy being massaged, which can be done with gentle strokes on their back or head.

Playing With Toys and Games

Playing with toys is another great way to bond with cats. Toys such as feather wands, laser pointers, or interactive toys can help keep cats entertained while also providing mental stimulation. Additionally, playing hide-and-seek games or fetch games can help cats stay active while also having fun with their owners.


In conclusion, it’s important to remember that cats are individuals and each one has their own preferences when it comes to being picked up. Some cats may enjoy being held and cuddled, while others may find it stressful. To ensure your cat is comfortable with being picked up, watch for signs of stress such as tail twitching, ears flattening, or meowing. If you’re ever unsure if your cat is enjoying being held, it’s best to put them down and let them come to you when they’re ready. For more information on how to care for your cat, visit A Pet’s Home.

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