Some cats just don’t like when you pick them up or hold them in your arms, even if it’s just for some loving snuggles. Certain breeds like Ragdolls and Ragamuffins are known for their love of being held, but there are exceptions even among those kinds of cats. You just want to express your love to your feline fur baby, so why don’t they like being picked up for cuddles? Here are a few reasons your cat might not enjoy being picked up or held.
Some Cats Are Easily Scared
Imagine a creature about ten times bigger than you picking you up off the ground and holding you. It can be terrifying for a cat, especially one that is easily startled or scared, to be picked up by a human. If your cat is easily spooked by loud noises, quick movements, or sudden changes in their territory, it’s quite possible that they are simply fearful of being held. Let them approach you on their own terms to avoid causing more fear.
They May Feel Disrespected
Most cats like to perch up high to keep an eye over their domain, but many of them like to do it their way and don’t appreciate you lifting them up. They are, after all, descended from wild cats who climb just fine on their own, and they may feel disrespected if you’re doing the work for them. If your cat doesn’t like being picked up, try placing some perches or accessible high places around so they can get to your eye level by themselves.
They May Not Like Being Restrained
Even a loving embrace is a form of restraint for cats as they can’t get away or move freely. Even human toddlers don’t like to be held when they’re running around playing. The restricted movement may make your cat feel like they don’t have control or that you’ve trapped them, and cats need their independence. This can be especially true for cats that were formerly strays and need to have freedom of movement to feel safe.
They May Have Had Bad Experiences
If you’ve adopted a cat, you may have no idea what a previous owner did to them or what their past experiences might be. Certainly a history of abuse would make a cat fearful of being picked up. However, that fear might not even come from such a sinister place. Stressful trips to the vet or groomers may cause your cat to associate being held with anxiety. You can try reteaching your cat to enjoy being held by associating being picked up with positive experiences, but it may take a very long time or not even happen at all.
It’s Not A Natural Greeting For Cats
Cats don’t greet other cats by picking them up. They approach cautiously, sniff, lick, rub against each other, or bonk heads. In fact, being picked up may make a cat feel like they are being taken by a predator. Being held lovingly isn’t natural for a cat, so even though your intention is friendly, it may not come off that way. Try other forms of greetings and learn to read cues that your kitty is giving you. Trust is earned.
They Could Have A Painful Injury Or Medical Condition
If your cat used to like being picked up but hates it now, it might be time for a trip to the vet to check for injuries or medical conditions that could be causing pain. Even after the condition is treated, it’s possible that your cat will still avoid being picked up because they associate it with feeling hurt. Past injuries could be the cause of your cat refusing to be picked up, and you should respect your kitty’s comfort.
What other reasons would a cat have for hating to be picked up? Does your cat love being held, or would they prefer to stay on solid ground? Let us know in the comments below!