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Why Does My Cat Only Let Me Pick Him Up? (Obsessed?)

If your cat is only willing to let you pick it up you may be wondering if this is normal and why it’s happening…

Why does my cat only let me pick him up?

If your cat is only willing to let you pick it up it can be a few reasons, such as anxiety, it has had bad experiences in the past or it only trusts you to do it. Cats tend to build a strong bond with their owner and this may mean they focus all their attention on you.

So, now you know. But, do cats even like being picked up? Why do some cats object to being picked up? Why does my cat panic when I pick it up? Keep reading for these answers, and much more…

3 Reasons why your cat only lets you pick him up:

Why does my cat only let me pick him up?

A cat being held by its owner.

Earlier I briefly explained why your cat may let you pick it up but not others. Therefore, in this section, I will explain each one in more detail…

01. Trusts you

Firstly, your cat trusts you. And, some cats may find it hard to extend this trust to others. So, when another, random person, tries to pick them up they may appear stressed.

It can take some time for a cat to adjust to a new person, so it can be a big assumption that they will just leap into their arms. Also, this varies a lot from cat to cat, some cats will only need a short time to adjust. But, there is usually an adjustment period, regardless.

02. Bad experiences

If your cat has had bad experiences in the past then it may be apprehensive about trusting anyone else. For example, it may have been abused as a young cat, or come from a shelter.

If this happens they may have lost trust in other people. And, if this. is the case, you may have seen it take quite a while to allow you to get near it, right?

03. Anxiety

Some cats have anxiety. When this is the case they may be cautious about many things, including being picked up. For example, they may be fearful of another cat that is stressing them. And, this may make them feel uneasy being picked up.

You may argue, but why let me pick it up then, right? Well, you may be the only person it knows it can trust. Especially when it’s feeling anxious like this.

Do cats like being picked up?

Cats do not like being picked up naturally. However, they can be trained to like or accept it. As they have been domesticated, over the years, they have become more accepting of this, in general.

But, the biggest concern for this is the act of being picked up is not a natural thing for cats. Also, when they are cupped into your arms they feel boxed in and restricted, which takes some time to get used to.

How to get a cat to let you pick them up

To get your cat to let you pick it up you need three important steps:

  1. Sweet talk
  2. Reward
  3. Start slowly

01. Sweet talk

Cats appreciate being warned before being grabbed and lifted, so look at your cat and speak to it kindly as you go in for the lift. This will give it a chance to back off if it’s dead against it.

And, if that happens, it backs off, you can try another time.

02. Reward

Assuming it is happy for you to try the lift. Don’t do it too high, or long. But, the key thing is to reward it (Click here to see the price, on Amazon #Ad). Even if it’s just a very short lift.

This will start to form a positive reinforcement loop. Meaning, it will want to cooperate to get these treats in the future.

03. Start Slowly

Following on from earlier, start slowly, then gradually increase the duration of the hold. In time, if all is well, your cat will adjust to it bit by bit.

Why do some cats not like being picked up?

Some cats do not like being picked up because they do not appreciate the restrictive nature of being held by you. Also, the very nature of being picked up is not natural for them. Some cats may accept it but many others won’t.

The good thing is, depending on the cat’s age, there is a good chance they can be trained to accept being picked up, as discussed earlier. The younger the cat the easier it is to train it. Older cats are more set in their ways and it could be a challenge.

Can you pick up stray cats?

Older stray cats are unlikely to let you pick them up. If they are younger, there is a stronger chance. However, some people have reported success with constant feeding and kindness.

For example, one person reported feeding a stray over a month earned some level of trust. Meaning, just enough to get the cat to be close by them.

Why doesn’t my cat let me pick her up but fine with others?

Your cat may be fine with others and not you picking it up because of something you may have done or do. For example, if you groom your cat regularly, and it objects to it, it may shy away from you.

Cats can be temperamental like this sometimes and it may just be a really small thing that may make them react like this. The annoying thing is you may not know what it is thinking.

Why won’t my cat let me hold her?

If your cat is not willing to let you hold it don’t be offended. It may not be a real issue, it could just be that it does not enjoy it.

I know, earlier I talked about something you may have done, but that is not always the case. It could just be a case of the cat not wanting to be picked up.

If this same cat is fine to headbutt you or play with you, then it is a strong indication that it is fine with you and therefore just not a fan of being picked up, and that’s OK, right?

Why does my cat panic when I try to pick him up? [8a-b]

Why does my cat sound like a kazoo?

A scared/anxious-looking cat with its mouth partially open.

If your cat is panicking when you try to pick it up it could be because of a health issue, or general preference. If it’s the former, a health issue, problems like joint pain in old age could cause it to panic in this way.

Truthfully, it could be many other things, like some form of anxiety caused by several possible scenarios. But, a health issue is a good example of a common response like this.

Why don’t some cats want to cuddle?

Some cats do not want to cuddle because they appreciate moving around on their own, independently. When they are picked up and cuddled in this way it is not natural.

Cats do indeed appreciate being high up. But, they are more interested in getting to this height on their own accord, rather than being lifted by their owner, or anyone else.

Lindsey Browlingdon