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Angry when picked up

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
One year ago, a lovely calico decided to move into my home. She was about 1 1/2 years old than. The owner had a habit of leaving her out doors day and night. When he moved, I gladly negotiated taking her in as she was already coming in for breakfast and curling up for a good snooze every day. I leave my door open in warm months, she loves to belong somewhere and found me a willing receiver.

She doesn't like to be picked up. From time to time, I do but we always have a skirmish of sorts. She will howl, stiffen, resist and scramble a bit. Despite this behavior she has been to the vet's for normal care. From time to time I pick her up for no reason and put her down. She has seen me pick up my other house cat and watches the calmness of the action.

Yesterday, she scooted out the door after dark and I grabbed catching her tail to stop her. I know this hurt. She seems okay this morning but I am tired of the resistance. How do you normalize a basic necessity with a cat? I have to pick her up from time to time. I am tired of a fight. I am bothered that after a year of steady loving care, she doesn't trust this action. How can I make this more comfortable for both of us?
post #2 of 7
You can try giving her a treat every time you pick her up for a while, and maybe pick her up only briefly, and only very gradually lengthen the procedure. That said, good luck! My adopted girl absolutely has never been a lap cat and hates being picked up...the vet has slightly better luck since she's usually so scared she's motionless in the carrier

But, she loves me - she'll flop over for belly rubs, comes running to be brushed, greets me at the door, and sleeps with me. It's just that a lot of cats simply do not like to be picked up or held, IMO. My boy is the opposite, so go figure.
post #3 of 7
My cats do not like to be picked up either, but I do it daily, just so they know it's okay. I pick them up, kiss them, then put them back down before they start to protest.

Tolly tolerates it for about 30 seconds, then starts to squirm, and he is so slippery I have to let go.

Jennie complains, loudly.

Mazy will try to bite if I hold on to her for more than a few seconds after picking her up.

All are happy well adjusted catties. Many cats just don't like to be picked up.

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Sweetie Pie is her name. Once in a while, she will go thru a phase where she will sleep on the bed with me. I always wake up and find her there. Maybe once a month she asks to be petted but only for a few minutes. Every six months or so she asks for a Reiki treatment. Once in a while she will let me brush her face.

Clearly, she has her comfort zones.
post #5 of 7
see, she loves you and trusts you - and, IMO, cats have very long memories but can't always understand that now they're in a forever home. She might still be remembering being outside in the cold and scary, and can't really believe her fortune has permanently changed. I honestly don't think it's anything you're doing or not doing - but if you can be consistent in your actions, she'll have more and more confidence in you. But may still be a little squirmy girl when you pick her up!
post #6 of 7
We always have some wonderful cats at the shelter that love to be petted, love to sit on your lap, love attention...but hate to be picked up. Right now we have one of the sweetest girls in the world, who you do not have enough hands to pet as much as she wants to be petted, but, had we not known her background, would have been put to sleep already, because she absolutely hates being picked up, to the point she scared even our most experienced carers.

Who knows what experiences form these personalities?
post #7 of 7
Originally Posted by mrblanche View Post
Who knows what experiences form these personalities?
I think with some they're just not adjusted to it from a young age, or have been given a fright in the past (dropped, held roughly). Some cats are just more nervous.

Even if your cat hates being held, it is something we all need to be able to do for certain circumstances.
I suggest the OP get on the floor with treats and start LOW and slow. Put your hands on your cat, if she handles that, put your hands on her as you would to pick her up. Slowly progress to actually lifting her weight. Use lots of treats.
If the cat at anytime looks overwhelmed, give a treat, and break to something your cat loves more (play with a toy?) and leave it be for the day. Make sure it does end on a positive note, though, and not with your cat hiding or angry.

If you can get your cat to eventually deal with a few short minutes of being held, leave it at that. That's a lot of work for a cat.
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