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Problem with being picked up

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Ok, this will probably be a long post, well, I know it will be and i'm really sorry! I did a search and went through the stickied topics but i couldn't find exactly what I was looking for. Sorry for all the ramling!

Anyway, our cat Libby is about 10/11 months old now and in short, she hates being picked up.

Now, the thing is, she's getting a bit worse with it. She never liked being picked up, but she was usually calm enough. I'd pick her up up-right and my husband would pick her up and put her on her back and she'd play with his other hand.

A couple of weeks ago she was being held by my husband when she kinda got too feisty and twisted and fell out of his arms. Since then she's understandably been wary about him picking her up.

We also have a couple of friends (who also own cats) who pick her up and she really makes a fuss when they do. We tell them not to and how she'll react, but they do it anyway and don't let her go - and then they get scratched and bitten. I don't like that she does it but right now, after all the warnings and their own experience, they should know better and I sort of feel like they deserve it. They tell us we're just spoiling her and we're to blame. I think this might be true but at the same time I don't want her being forced to do things she doesn't like.

I'm sorry if this is all out of order, i'm trying to give all the info and failing miserably to keep it short and to the point!

She's still fine when I hold her. With my husband and our friends though she started off maybe crying a little a few months ago to now fully flipping out and crying loudly and claws all out, etc.

I've always made sure I place her down gently, never letting her jump even an inch down from my hands... I don't let go until all 4 paws are firmly on the ground. I've been telling my husband to do the same so she feels safe and she's finally getting a little better with him.

I know she's doing all this because she's scared. I also know what our friends do isn't helping one bit and I know i've got to be more firm with telling them to cut it out.

I guess really I just want to know how we can address this issue. Should we leave her alone and just not pick her up again because she obviously doesn't enjoy it? Or should we (as one co-worker of my husbands suggested) pick her up as much as possible to get her used to it? I'm kind of going for the former because I dont' want to be selfish and subject her to something that we enjoy but she doesn't. Then again if there's any way we can get her used to it then it would be great, and also helpful for times we need to pick her up, not just the times when we want to.
post #2 of 18
Some cats just really dislike being picked up - if she seems to be liking it less and less, then just let her be.

I can't pick up Ferris for any reason other than lifting him from the floor to my lap, and I can't hold Ginger for longer than 30 seconds or she flips out. Not because she ever got any trauma from being held, it is just that she can't stand to be picked up and help, period. Nothing personal.
post #3 of 18
Some cats simply do not like to be picked up.
I have a couple myself.
I would not force the issue with her as all it will do is cause avoidance issues and a lack of trust.
post #4 of 18
I have one who LOVES to be picked up (Radar) and will go all purry and floppy in your arms, and the other (Sonic) who doesn't try to claw or bite and still purrs, but he will wriggle and wriggle until you put him down. We have treated them both exactly the same, it is not down to their treatment or experiences, just their personalities.

I agree with others, if she doesn't like it, don't put her through it or she will only become afraid of you. Obviously there are times when you need to pick a cat up, for grooming, vet, medication, or to get them away from wherever they have managed to get into where they aren't supposed to be but leave it for times when it is necessary and don't stress her out at other times
post #5 of 18
After having cats most of my life I have realized that you can't make them like something just because you want them to like it. For the first five years that I had my cat Simon he won't sit on my lap for very long even though I wanted him to. I would always make my lap available, but most of the time he would rather sit next to me. Well, I went through a pretty emotional experience a few years back and ever since that event he has turned into a lap cat. Now he will lay with me for hours if I let him. So I learned that you let them be who they are going to be and somewhere down the road they just might change, just like people.

So just enjoy your kitty and find another one that might like to be picked up.
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all your replies

They all just confirm what I thought really.

I was just unsure because this is the first cat either of us have ever had and so I don't know how to deal with these things. We just know what friends have told us (who have owned cats for years), about not spoiling her (giving in to her not wanting to be picked up) and how doing it more will get her used to it.

I know deep down we're being selfish though, as I said, we're doing it because we want to, not because she wants us to. It's just difficult sometimes because she's so darn cute!

Who knows, maybe even if we stop she'll miss it and become more friendly! I doubt it though, lol.

Thanks again
post #7 of 18
Some cats just really don't like it. I had a cat who loved being picked up, held like a baby, carried around, etc. But then Alley absolutely hated being picked up or put on your lap. She would cry and twist around and scratch to be let down. She was the same for the 9 years she was with me. Hope you have better luck with your kitty in that regard, but she may never like it, so I wouldn't try to force her.

If your friends disregard your wishes about trying to handle her, then they deserve a scratch or two
post #8 of 18
If your friends disregard your wishes about trying to handle her, then they deserve a scratch or two
Yeah, what the heck is wrong with your so called friends??
post #9 of 18
I agree that some just don't like being picked up, or may not be used to it. My wife can pick up Reeses and hold her for a bit, but you can tell she's just being polite and counting down until she finally meows or twists out of her arms. I on the other hand can't pick her up. Last time I tried, she ripped my shirt
post #10 of 18
"Who knows, maybe even if we stop she'll miss it and become more friendly! I doubt it though, lol."

You would be surprised. When I first got Natasha-she would run away every time I got near her. I was disappointed she wasn't very friendly. Once I accepted the fact that she was skittish and didn't expect her to be a lap cat she all of sudden become one.

Now she wakes me up in the middle of the night cause she wants some love and attention. Sometimes it has to be on their terms.

Good luck-we love pictures around here. hint hint.

post #11 of 18
I`m thinking you should tell your friends to not pick her up first as any progress you make with her will be ruined if they hold her and upset her.

Lots of cats dont like to be picked up and cuddled, like others have said but I think it makes sense to be able to pick her up in emergencies or if your at the vets etc.

I`m no expert but Kitty was pretty wild when I got him. Picking him up was a complete no-no! It`s taken a few years and he still isn`t thrilled at being picked up sometimes but mostly he`s happy.
I pick him up nearly every day now and I do it when I get in from work because thats when he`s all happy to see me and he wants attention. At first I could only hold him for a minute, now it`s 5 minutes.
He hated being stroked too at first but you learn to read the signs and stop before they lash out, gradually they get more confidence and allow you to stroke for longer. I used the same theory with picking him up. I`d pick him up, scratch his chin then put him down before he felt the need to struggle and the more relaxed he got the longer I could hold him for.
I hope that makes sense?!
post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 
They are good friends, I know it seems like they're not but, really, they are - aside from this! I tell Libby off a bit for scratching them but yeah, Paula, I think they deserve a couple too! The problem with one of them is that he had a cat for many years, a very loyal cat who he loved dearly. He wouldn't spoil him at all and says it toughened him up - so that's where his philosophy (and jabs about spoiling her) come from.

Most of it (in regards to the 2 friends) is my fault, I know. I'm too scared that I am spoiling her and worried (as someone with no cat experience arguing against 2 people with lots) that I really have no idea what i'm doing and that they'll think i'm a terrible meowmy. I've got to stop that.

Jaffa - that definitely makes sense. I think that's why she still let's me pick her up without a fuss - though she won't look at me in defiance to me doing it! That's probably why I still try too, because I don't just pick her up and force her to stay. I try to make it rewarding for her (she loves the back of her ears being scratched!) and make sure I know the cues and put her down (gently) before she begins any kind of struggle.

I'm rambling again. I'm too good at that!

Thanks for all your replies.

Assuming it's ok to post pictures outside of the picture forum, here's Libby (she always looks so serious!) -

post #13 of 18
Awwwww! Libby is gorgeous!
I don`t think your spoiling her or being a bad Meowmy.
Good Luck!
post #14 of 18
Originally Posted by Jaffacake View Post
Awwwww! Libby is gorgeous!
I don`t think your spoiling her or being a bad Meowmy.
Good Luck!

Spoiling SKIN children is one thing, but I don't think that spoiling FUR children is wrong at all, unless you are specifically overindulging them with too much food, in that case, it can be bad for their health.

But there is nothing wrong with letting a cat be itself, and if they don't like being held, don't force it. They will only love and appreciate you more for letting them be.
post #15 of 18
I have a cat (Meggie) who hates to be picked up, and has hated it since she was 6 weeks old! She squeeks like you are squeezing the stuffing out of her, and twists and wiggles like mad, and is tense the whole time (having to pill her is fun ), and her back twitches when we put her down- there is just something physically uncomfortable for her being picked up (she also freaks and twitches her skin on her back if you pet her there more than once or twice ). And then my oldest cat had to be taught to be allowed to be picked up (she would claw and scratch, etc.), just because she didn't like it (trust issue) and now she still isn't thrilled at first, but after the first couple of seconds (getting her arranged, secured and still) she will purr and enjoy it these days if it's me or her dad. So, no, you aren't spoiling your cat by not forcing her to be picked up just because someone wants to hold her- she may really be physically uncomfortable .
post #16 of 18
I agree that not picking the cat up doesn't mean you're spoiling it. Your friends' advice, though well meaning, is wrong. There are things many cats don't like -- including having their stomachs touched -- and it's best to just respect that and let them be.

Seeing it from a cat's perspective, humans are so much bigger than cats, and being suddenly scooped way up into the air and flipped over, and then subjected to fussing and petting when they aren't in the mood... it's no surprise that some don't like it. Plus your cat has more reason to be afraid, since she fell recently.

It sounds like she may not have minded being picked up before she fell. So if you don't pick her up for a long time, she may eventually forget and get to like it again. Or she may not.

Another thing is that kittens and young cats often prefer to run around and play rather than sit still and be cuddled at length. So your cat may get more mellow and affectionate with age.
post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your replies

emmy - I have considered that she may mellow. She's not even a year old yet, her demeanor may change still. She never enjoyed being picked up, but yes, the fall, combined with our friends, have just made it worse. Luckily she distinguishes between us and will still let me pick her up with no fuss, so we won't have any problems with the times we need to pick her up.

I should really have not listened to my friends in the first place. As I said, it was just because of my lack, and their tons, of experience. I should go with my instinct though. She won't become some spoiled, fussy thing if I let her do what she's happy with/don't force her to do what she doesn't want. She'd never even bitten or clawed anyone (aside from play nibbling on me and my husband) before they gave their advice

And thank you for saying Libby is gorgeous I'd let her know you said so, but she knows it already, haha! Whenever she wants something she just rolls around on her back on the floor because she knows how cute she is!
post #18 of 18
Your cat is adorable!!

Zoey HATES to be picked up.. absolutely hates it. I blame her previous owners but I wont get into that again.

I just dont pick her up unless its necessary. Some will say you should try to make them get used to picking them up but honestly, Zoey is 5 now and I've had her for 4 years and she STILL hates to be picked up, so I just dont pick her up. She meows and growls and complains and just sounds like she's being tortured its pretty ridiculous lol. But she LOVES to be near me and she LOVES to be pet and loves to give head bonks and is really affectionate in every other way. Cats are just weird.

At least I have Saki, who I can just scoop up and hug and smooosh with kisses whenever I want
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