My cat will not let me pick her up to carry her

by Peg
(Hanover Papebbke)

My cat is great and loves to sit on my lap, but she will not let me pick her up to carry her. When I try to carry her the claws come out and she wiggles until she can get away.

I don’t think she associates being carried with any other unpleasant event. I don’t try this often because I don’t want to reinforce her concern, but I don’t know what to do to break her objection, or fear?

She is three years old. The first year I could carry her and then the resistance started.

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carry like a princess
by: Anonymous

since your kitty will sit on your lap with no problem, maybe try getting the kitty to sit on a pillow on your lap. then after a few times of this, if you can slide your hands underneath the pillow & lift it with the kitty still on it...after a few tries and the kitty stays on, you can try rising from the chair... once you can carry the kitty this way & she is used to it. try just lifting the kitty with sliding your hands under the kitty directly (keeping your hands flat) & go thru the same process as before, just leaving the pillow behind. maybe your kitty doesn't like being held around the ribs or such - I have had kitties like that, there was nothing wrong with them, they just didn't like it. but would allow a flat hand holding.

Use baby steps and rewards
by: Kurt (Admin)

Some cats don't like to be picked up. It may be too confining. Did this start after taking her to the vet?

Maybe being held at the vet's office left an unpleasant impression on your cat, and she now associates being picked up with that.

I would make sure she's not experiencing pain when being picked up. If she is, you'll have to get her to the vet.

Other cats tolerate being picked up, but only if you pick them up a certain way. For example, many cats prefer their legs to be supported, but others seem to find that confining.

You may be able to train your cat to accept being picked up.

As with other behavior modification techniques, take it one step at a time. Slowly getting your cat used to each part of the process and including a reward at each step may do the trick.

You could start by placing your hands in position but instead of restraining your cat to pick her up, pet her for just a moment or two. Stop and give the reward, such as a favorite treat, and give her lots praise. Repeat this over several days before moving to the next step, which would be to gently hold your cat in position without lifting.

If your kitty accepts this, you can then progress to lifting your cat slightly, and so on. With repetition, consistency, short duration, and rewards each time, your cat may come to get used to being picked up. Don't force anything, and if there's a setback, go back to the previous step she will allow.

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