Should Cats Not Be Picked Up?

Cats are beloved pets, but should they be picked up? This is a question that many cat owners have asked themselves. In this article, “Should cats not be picked up?”, we will explore the pros and cons of picking up cats and provide advice on how to do it safely if you choose to do so.

Reasons Why Cats Should Not Be Picked Up

Cats should not be picked up as it can cause them stress and anxiety, potential injury, and unwanted behavior.

Stress and Anxiety

Picking up cats can cause them to become stressed and anxious. This is because cats are naturally independent animals that like to explore their environment on their own terms. When they are picked up, they feel like they have lost control of the situation which can cause them to become scared and anxious. Additionally, cats may not be comfortable with being handled by humans and this can also lead to stress and anxiety.

Potential Injury

Picking up cats can also lead to potential injury. Cats have sharp claws that can easily scratch or puncture skin if they become startled or scared while being held. Additionally, cats may struggle when being held which could lead to accidental falls or other injuries.

Unwanted Behavior

Finally, picking up cats can lead to unwanted behavior such as scratching or biting in order for them to escape the situation. This type of behavior should be avoided as it could lead to further injury or even infection if the cat’s claws or teeth come into contact with open wounds on the skin.

Alternatives to Picking Up Your Cat

Picking up your cat is not always the best way to interact with them. There are other ways to show your cat love and attention that can be just as rewarding.

Petting and Stroking

Petting and stroking your cat is a great way to show them affection. You can start by gently running your hand along their back or scratching behind their ears. It’s important to pay attention to how your cat responds, as some cats may not enjoy being petted for too long.

Playing With Toys and Games

Playing with toys and games is a great way to keep your cat entertained and engaged. Try using interactive toys like feather wands, laser pointers, or treat puzzles. This will help keep your cat active and mentally stimulated.

Providing a Safe Space for Your Cat

Providing a safe space for your cat is essential for their well-being. Make sure that they have access to food, water, litter boxes, scratching posts, and comfortable bedding in an area that is free from loud noises or other stressors. According to the ASPCA, cats should also have access to windows so they can observe the outdoors safely from inside the home.

Signs That Your Cat Does Not Want to Be Picked Up

It is important to respect your cat’s wishes and not pick them up if they are not comfortable with it. There are certain signs that your cat will give you that indicate they do not want to be picked up. Paying attention to these signs will help you ensure that your cat is comfortable and happy.

Hissing and Growling

One of the most obvious signs that your cat does not want to be picked up is if they start hissing or growling when you approach them. This is a clear sign of discomfort and should be respected.

Avoidance or Running Away

If your cat starts avoiding you or running away when you approach them, this could also be a sign that they do not want to be picked up. Cats are naturally independent animals, so it is important to respect their space and only pick them up when they are comfortable with it.

Flattened Ears and Tail Tucking

If your cat’s ears flatten against their head or their tail tucks between their legs, this could also indicate that they do not want to be picked up. Cats use body language as a way of communicating with us, so paying attention to these subtle cues can help us understand how our cats are feeling in any given situation.


How to Train Your Cat to Enjoy Being Picked Up

Cats are naturally independent creatures and should not be picked up without their consent. However, if you want to pick up your cat, it is possible to train them to enjoy the experience. Here are some tips for training your cat to enjoy being picked up:

Positive Reinforcement Training Techniques

– Give treats when your cat allows you to pick them up.
– Offer praise and petting when they stay calm in your arms.
– Speak in a soothing voice and provide gentle strokes while holding them.
– Place them back on the ground after a few seconds of holding them.

Desensitization Exercises for Handling Anxiety

– Start by getting your cat used to being touched by placing a hand on their back or head for a few seconds at a time.
– Gradually increase the amount of time that you touch them each day.
– Move onto stroking their fur and then gently lifting their paws off the ground one at a time.
– Once they are comfortable with this, begin lifting them off the ground for short periods of time while providing treats and praise.

Creating a Safe Environment for Handling Your Cat

– Make sure that all areas where you will be handling your cat are free from any potential hazards such as sharp objects or other animals that may cause stress or fear in your cat.
– Ensure that there is plenty of space around where you will be handling your cat so that they do not feel trapped or overwhelmed by their surroundings.
– Provide comfortable bedding or blankets for your cat so that they have something soft to land on if they become startled during handling sessions.
– Make sure that all family members know how to properly handle cats and follow safety guidelines set out by the ASPCA.

When Is It Appropriate To Pick Up Your Cat?

It is generally not recommended to pick up your cat, as it can be quite stressful for them. However, there are certain times when it may be necessary or appropriate to do so.

Veterinary Visits or Emergencies

In the event of a veterinary visit or emergency, it may be necessary to pick up your cat in order to transport them safely and quickly. If possible, use a secure carrier or crate and handle your cat gently and calmly.

Moving or Traveling With Your Cat

If you are moving house or traveling with your cat, it may be necessary to pick them up in order to get them into their carrier safely and securely. Again, use a secure carrier or crate and handle your cat gently and calmly.

Grooming or Bathing

In some cases, it may be necessary to pick up your cat in order to groom them or give them a bath. If this is the case, handle your cat gently and calmly and ensure that they are comfortable at all times. It is also important to provide plenty of treats during the process as a reward for their cooperation.


In conclusion, cats should not be picked up unless it is absolutely necessary. If you must pick up your cat, make sure to do so in a safe and gentle manner. It is important to remember that cats are independent creatures and should be respected as such. If you are looking for more information on how to properly care for your cat, visit for helpful tips and advice.

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