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Cat hates being held!

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Lola is about two years old and I've had her for a few months. She's a great cat, but hates being held. You can pick her up and she's OK for a few seconds, but then claws and scratches her way out.

If you continue to hold her firmly but gently and talk to her softly, she'll stay there, but whine miserably the whole time.

I've been trying to get her used to it, but nothing works.

I just want to be able to pet my kitty!
post #2 of 16
You have only had this kitty a little while, and you need to back off and give her time. Let her learn to trust you first, feed her on a schedule, play with her in an interactive way - a toy on a string or a rope (or better yet a toy attached to an old fishing pole) Play with her 10 minutes every day again on a routine.

Do not force her to be held, you will only reinforce her instinct that you can't be trusted. Pet her on the ground, sit on the floor and read out loud to her, just give her some time to get used to her new world.
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
One point I could clarify -

the only time she actually seems to like being picked up is when I first come home. She greets me at the door and she'll let me pick her up and nuzzle her tummy and she licks my face.
post #4 of 16
One of my cats doens't really like to be held. She is now a little over 7 months old and now she can tolerate it a little. She's a very sweet and playfull kitty. She just doesn't like be picked up. She'll jump up where you are but would rather be near you than actually on you. Some kitties are just like that.
post #5 of 16
My Echo is the same way and I've had her since she was a kitten (she will turn 5 on The 4th of July). Just recently she's been more lovable and actually jumps on our laps. She hated being picked up when she was a baby and we never really forced the issue (even though I've always wanted a lap kitty!). The only things that we've changed are we talk to her more and give her more attention while she is laying in her favorite nap time places, & when she rubs against us we pat our laps and try to convience her to get up there (but never force her to sit on our laps). I really think that she is just getting older and is finally out of that rambuncous (sp?) stage..and is now wanting more attention.

Just take your time with her...she will come around eventually. Trust is the most important thing to her and you will need to earn it from her. Good luck!
post #6 of 16
MY cat don't like to be held I have had her for 4 years and she stell dot't like to be held.
post #7 of 16
My cat Chloe HATES being held. She growls the whole time. She's very independent and strong-willed. It would not be her nature to allow anyone to hold her for more than 10 seconds. Now my cat Romeo, on the other hand, is a true lap cat. I guess some cats are just more "aloof." :flower: :flower:
post #8 of 16
My Willie is a major love bug, but does NOT like to be picked up. I have accepted this as a part of his personality and just pet him wherever he is at the time, floor, bed, couch arm, wherever. He'll tolerate it, but I know that he prefers for his feet to be on the ground, so I respect that. Give her time, but if she doesn't come around, you can work out how to feel close to your kitty without making her uncomfortable.
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks, everyone.

I think she's starting to trust me more. She comes and sits near me wherever I am and curls up next to me on the bed at night.

It's good to know that there are just some cats that don't like to be held, and it's not something I'm doing wrong with her.

post #10 of 16
My cat bobbi hated being held when she was a kitten.
Especially if we were walking around with her.


She's now about 10months old and has come a long way re: being held.
She'll now let us hold her for about 30sec before getting squirmy.


There's no way your cat will let you win this straight out so you have to be a little bit sneaky...

If Lola is ok with the action of being picked up and placed against your chest then go from there.
Pick her up.
Place her against your chest.
And then put her down before she starts squirming.
It's important that she doesn't start to panic.
Once she starts to panic she will associate being held with panic.
And you want her to associate being held with being safe.
So put her down before she starts to panic...

Once she is relaxed with this action.
You can start to very slowly add some seconds between the pick-up action, and the put down action.

Just work a second a week.
You'll find that your cat starts to relax, because she knows she will be put down by you, and so she won't scramble.

Please remember that you need to do this in various locations.
If you do it in one spot.
Your cat may not react the same way in another spot.
So it's best to do it in different areas...

And do it frequently.
Not so frequentlt that it annoys your cat but frequently enough so she gets the basic idea.

You can use this technique with almost anything.
Lap sitting. Hugging...

Most of the time, it's not that a cat doesn't like being held, or sitting on a lap, it's just that they have learnt to associate certain behavious differently.
So long as you work methodically and slowly, most cats can be turned into a holdable huggable lap cat.
post #11 of 16

My cat Ginger doesn't like being held too. She is almost 5 and I got her at around 9 months old. We've known each other well. The only time I can hold her is when I go home, she meows me (welcome back) and she likes me to pet her like a baby in my arm. Though I like to tease her occasionally and I hold her tight and of course, she growls and struggles. I always notice that her tail still stands straight when she runs. Or sometimes I said "Ginger, give me a hug" then she runs fast around my place (condo) to escape. It is so funny.
post #12 of 16
Ivo also hates being held, but will tolerate it when I first come home. She's even started kneading my arm when I hold her and pet her, but I always make sure to put her down before she starts trying to get away. It seems like she's slowly learning to trust me picking her up. Just take it slowly and maybe your kitty will come around, too.
post #13 of 16
Binky hates being held. But I can hold her if I let her sort of perch on me and let het support her own weight on her feet. I think she just hates the held down feeling.
post #14 of 16
I adopted my cat, Midnight, (R.I.P.) from a no-kill shelter when she was eight months old. During the entire 13 1/2 years I owned Midnight she was affectionate and trusted me, but hated to be held or restrained in any way. I didn't feel this was a big problem, and really enjoyed all the years I had with her.
post #15 of 16
I live in a seven cat household and I have numerous behavioral issues with a few of them. The one most puzzling is why my baby girl Cubby gets shun from the rest of the bunch because of one cat Gabriel. We now have them completey seperated now by three baby gates. I really need some answers here.
post #16 of 16
Our Tiger, who we miss very much, absolutely hated to be held or restrained in any way. He would growl whenever we did. But.. during the last year and a half of his life, he actually became a lap cat. He loved to climb up on us and knead us and then he would lay down on us, sometimes for an hour or more if we let him. But, If I put my arms around him or restrained him while he was doing this, he would growl, even while he was purring! LOL! Ashke, our main coon, hates to be held by anyone too. He is very tolerant of us holding him, but he is tolerant of most anything because he has such a sweet disposition. But, I know his looks and know he does not enjoy it one bit. He is not a lap cat either. But he likes to come sit next to us. He loves to hang out with us. Aiden, our 10mth old brat cat absolutely LOVES to be held. Of course, it's still only when he wants it, NOT when we want to hold him. But sometimes during the evening he will climb up on us and let us hold him like a baby. He will the proceed to sleep in our arms for hours. I feel so bad putting him down. His record is something like 4 hours! LOL! When he was a little baby, he wanted to be with us and on top of us constantly. I think he has separation anxiety, though. But, we love, and have loved all of our babies, whether they like to be held or not! Each cat is just so different from the next.
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