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cat still wont let me pick her up

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
i have a cat i got from the shelter last september

she was mishandled and runs away if she thinks you might pick her up, so except to take her to the vet, i never pick her up

i let her come to me
she will now jump on my lap and let me pet her, but all the time she is very nervous, wont sit still and takes off if i make any movement that to her means i might confine her or pick her up

well this is silly i think after all this time,she has to know i am not going to hurt her

would it set her back to start picking her up very very breifly, giving her a quick pet and a good girl and a treat right away?

(she is very food oriented)

i have a cat that i have had for about 6 years now, and she was very similar, she does not like to be picked up even now, but will tolerate it for a few seconds, depending on how i hold her

she will get up on me and fall asleep, but she does not want me to pick her up

i guess i am getting to the point where i feel that there is no reason for them to still act this way (esp the girl i've had for years!)
i have a third cat who LOVES to be picked up, carried, petted non stop
so they should see its a good thing, right?

and i have two grandkitties i catsit and they are both lap cats too, so why do i have these two (both mostly black) cats who are so jumpy about being held?

it makes it very hard if they need medication, or have to go to the vets, i literally have to chase them around and catch them, and i am getting too old for that! plus they are a lot faster than i am!! well they do have those two extra legs!! LOL


any one have this situation?
if so, what did you do, what worked for you?

thanks
althea
post #2 of 17
Hi Althea!

I have 2 cats that after 9 years do not let me pick them up. They have no problem sitting in my lap or sleeping on top of me at night. In fact, they are the 2 that spend more time than any other cats in the house in my lap. Some of my others live to be carried around in my arms. Some cats simply don't tolerate being picked up and never will. It's not a good thing with all cats.

You are right about giving medicine and taking them to the vets. Both are difficult tasks to do. Meds are done with treats and vet visits are just not negotiable with them. Just got to work with them on their own terms sometimes.
post #3 of 17
Kandie is nearly 17 and has hated to be picked up since her spay at 4 months ( think they may have dropped her)... when i need to i brib her... ohh and she is getting nicer in her "golden years"
post #4 of 17
it took me a year before Maverick was happy to be picked up and held. i bribed her with prawns (shrimp) and carried her to the fridge a lot!
post #5 of 17
Both my cats love to be picked up and held and petted, but they both hate for you to sit down and still hold them. MY girl kitten will lay in your lap sometimes but Elliot will never lay on your lap, and neither of them really willingly climb up on my lap to be petted, though they both will sit next to me and sleep or on the opposite sid eof the couch O_O
post #6 of 17
My Marcellus is almost 2 (we got when he was 8 weeks old, shelter cat born in a garage), and he hates being picked up. Everything must be on his terms. I do it every few days just to keep him used to it but only for the shortest of time. He totally tenses up and after about 30 seconds trys to get down...I put him down at this time and then he proceeds to clean himself and his fur "shivers" like I have somehow defiled him. I think some cats are just like that and may always be. Wallace likes to be picked up for just a quick bit for a nice chin scratch but he's too busy to be a lap type cat, although he is extremely chatty and affectionate in other ways. Lewis loves to be picked up, loves the laps and is just a big cuddle bug in general. They are all loved, given affection, absolutely spoiled rotten, but each is totally different. Alas, I think we must just accept them as they are.
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
i was worried that ppl would think i didn't treat my cat right, to see the way two of them act when you go to pick them up!!

good to know they are not the only ones.

well then i will let them be as they are, but see if i can pick them up from time to time so it wont be so traumatic when they need to go to the vet or something

thanks!!

althea and the girls
sara and snoopy in spirit
post #8 of 17
I have had my girl from the age of 8 weeks....she has been loved since day 1 but has never liked being picked up....she will try to get back down immediately. I do believe some cats simply prefer to be petted and not picked up.

Katie
post #9 of 17
Yup, my Ophelia is the same way. She just does not tolerate being picked up unless it's on her terms and ONLY by Daddy. Sometimes. Sometimes not. I've been able to pick her up once, and that was only to help her catch a moth. LOL

An excersize I was told about (but didn't try it...) was to work with her on allowing being picked up. Every day, pick her up only about an inch or two off the ground, starting off for just a couple seconds. Then give treats. Gradually increase the length of time and height of being picked up, always supporting her properly, always rewarding, and if she freaks out (too long or too high) to take a step back and go back to the time/height she was comfortable with. They may never *like* to be picked up, but at least they will know that it isn't a terrible thing. Especially knowing that your girl was mishandled in the past, it will take a lot of time and patience if you want to break that idea. Like someone told me just the other night, they don't remember the good stuff, but they never forget the bad stuff.
post #10 of 17
some cats are just not picker-uppers. We all have personal taste...they do too.
If I get them early enough, I pick them daily and eventually they've allowed me to do it. (one took two years though). I just love picking them up and squishing them, I really miss it if they dont let do it.
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
and Heidi, i think i will try that idea
i didn't realize i was going too fast
i was trying to pick her all the way up and hold her for mere seconds, then reward her with a treat (dry food)

i didnt even think to start that slow, but that may work.

she *does* learn pretty well, i mean, she sure gets the connection between what she does and when she gets the food she wants
she has me trained!! LOL

she has the most pitiful sounding cry, and she is on a diet, and she cries for the forbidden high calorie dry food, and eventually i just cant stand it anymore, and give in

well of course, now she keeps going til i give in!!

boy, if nothing else, having cats is teaching ME patience!!

thanks again everyone
glad to know i am not alone with the timid cat that wont let you hold them

althea and the girls
sara and snoopy in spirit
post #12 of 17
Can non-lap cats ever become lap cats and cuddlers? We got our male from a shelter at 8 mos old where the previous owner had dogs and was urinating on everything so she pinned him up in the bathroom then decided to put him up for adoption. He was sick when we got him and had to put meds down his throat and has since learned to eat meds in wet food. But he is not a cuddler or does not like to be picked up. What can I do? Lee Ann
post #13 of 17
They can. Use the method Valanhb described above. And be very very patient.

My Bailey is afraid of sitting on laps. If I do put her on my lap, she goes into panic mode and claws me trying to escape. But she loves being held against my shoulder, and she loves being brushed, so I hold her, brush her, and while I am sort of slumped on the couch, eventually let her slide closer and closer to my lap. She's getting better.

So far, in 2 1/2 years that I have had her, she has finally, and only once, jumped on my lap. And then immediately scrambled to climb up to my shoulder again.

It can take a very long time, and lots of patience and rewards.
post #14 of 17
Moss hates being picked up, he goes spare so I don't even try anymore. I don't want him to get stressed. If he's happy not to be picked up, I'm happy with that
post #15 of 17
Some cats - even not abused are skittish. I once had a kitty who fire fighters rescued from a wooded area - someone had left her to die as a kitten. She would eventually come to me - to my lap but she was gone in a flash if anyone else came into the house. She had so many hidi holes I could not keep up with them. So, give her time and patience and even then she may still prefer to greet you on her own terms.
post #16 of 17
Some cats just really don't like to be held..and I would advise not forcing it because I did that once and regretted it. Infact that was recently and well...if you don't want to end up with this:




I wouldn't force anything

And that was a cat at the shelter and she hates me to this day..slashed the crap out of my arm..so I kinda hate her too so I just don't go near her
post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigOrangeMenace
Both my cats love to be picked up and held and petted, but they both hate for you to sit down and still hold them. MY girl kitten will lay in your lap sometimes but Elliot will never lay on your lap, and neither of them really willingly climb up on my lap to be petted, though they both will sit next to me and sleep or on the opposite sid eof the couch O_O
That is EXACTLY the way Leo is. He'll actually cry for me to pick him up and walk around with him, but the minute I sit down, off he goes
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