Cat who doesnt like to be held - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 09-05-2010, 07:46 PM Thread Starter
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Cat who doesnt like to be held

I have this 2 year old tortie shell female cat who i call Ms.Brindle...

She does not like to be held. Like i can hold her while sitting on the floor and i can hold her in my lap while im sitting in a chair. But the second i pick her up and start moving around the room..she gets nervous and wants to be put back on the floor.

For the time being i am fostering her. I want her to get used to being held. So how do i do that? When i hold her..she has his scared look in her face and starts to panic.. i feel bad for her.. How is she going to get a home if she doesnt like to be held.

Please help.
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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 09-05-2010, 08:02 PM
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My husband and I tamed our former feral cat (Pretty) and she can now be picked up, held a little and carried for short distances by me. She will *never* be comfortable being held and carried, she will probably always remain a little nervous. It is *hard* for former ferals to completely give up their survival instincts.

I started by *lifting* Pretty TO things. Very minimal holding at all. Hand under chest and other hand under rump for a quick lift TO a low piece of furniture, like: floor to chair, or chair to table-top. As she became more comfortable with that, I started holding her a little longer before setting her down. Then I started lifting her to my chest and then immediately setting her down, slowly increasing the amount of time I held her.

Some cats never become comfortable with being held/carried, even ones raised in loving homes.
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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 09-05-2010, 08:16 PM
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One of the best cats I ever had never wanted to be held or carried while someone was standing. He was most happy cuddled up next to his favorite people.
Some of the cats I have now don't like to be held but they are still very good cats. People who know and love cats can understand that even if a cat is not a cuddler it doesn't mean he doesn't love his people.
Sometimes it just takes time. Juno didn't really even want to be touched for about the first year she was with us. This morning she jumped up on my bed and we had a little purr and pet session.
I hope your foster finds a home with someone who will appreciate her for the wonderful cat she is.


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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 09-05-2010, 10:10 PM
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My feral in-training cat doesn't like to be held or picked up. But when he is feeling friendly, and expecting catnip or treats, hanging around my legs, I reach down & raise just his front half up enough to kiss him & put him down. He doesn't run afterward now, and sometimes even immediately throws himself down flat in front of me, which is his kitty-speak for "please pet me now". Sometimes a little for me is a lot for him I try to tell myself.
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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 09-05-2010, 11:10 PM
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My Muffin is a ragdoll, and ragdolls are reputed to be lap-cats, to enjoy being held and to go very limp when you hold them (hence the name ragdoll). Despite that, Muffin wants nothing to do with laps and hates to be held or picked up. I adopted her at 12 weeks, so she was never a feral. I started like Heidi, lifting her up TO things. I would then carry her around for a little while, speaking softly and showing her things as we walked. I started with short walks for only a few seconds, and slowly increased the time. But, even after more than a year, she will only tolerate being held for perhaps 20 seconds, and only by me. If anyone else tries to pick her up, she literally screams and struggles for her life. So, there's likely only so much you can do.

That said, I wouldn't assume that her not liking to be held will prevent someone from adopting her, particularly since she seems to like to cuddle and sit on your lap. Despite Muffin's peculiarities, I adore her and have never regretted adopting her (although I do hope that one day in the future she will hop on my lap!).

Dogs have owners. Cats have staff.
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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 09-05-2010, 11:43 PM
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I really think it's just in the personality of the cat. I was involved in breeding/showing cats for 18 yrs. that were hand raised from birth until 11-12 wks. of age before they went to new homes, had lots of handling and socialization, and there were some that just didn't like being picked up, and yes often they were torties. Even at cat shows, it's often the torties that grumble and meow when the judge takes them out of the cage to his table to be judged. Often the judge will make a comment about what complainers and talkers they are. I remember one dilute tortie I had that I knew was going to be a top show cat. So she was well socialized to being picked up but from the time she was born, well used to being handled as a judge would, and she was a grumbler until she died at age 17 whenever picked up. She just didn't like the picking up but was OK to be walked around and would sit and cuddle in my lap. She showed beautifully at shows and posed and played with the judge'steaser toy, and did get her grand. So it's not just feral or under-socialized cats that have this personality trait. That's just the way some cats are.
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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 09-05-2010, 11:49 PM
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Cleo hates being picked up and it's almost impossible to hold her. I've been working on it for three years and there's no way she's ever going to change.

Gigi doesn't like it at all, either, but she doesn't fight it like Cleo. But she's definitely not a lap cat. At all.

The twins tense up, but they'll let me pick them up and hold them and walk around for a tiny bit.

Cinderella did not like being picked up - at all - when she first adopted me, but I worked with her and she came to let me pick her up, hold her, walk around with her and kiss her. It did take time, though.

Cali, Cinderella, Cleo and Charlee

Always in my heart, my lovely Cinderella, running free at the Bridge.
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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 09-06-2010, 03:24 AM
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Sugar was dropped off at the pet store at six weeks and was there until six months. According to the employees they would socialize the cats by wrapping them in towels and carrying them around the store. Understandably, she hated being restrained in any way when I got her.

However, she was veeery affectionate and a huge lap cat. I used that to my advantage. I would pick her up off the floor for a couple seconds, distracting her with scritches. Then put her down. Eventually she would sit still in my arms as long as I was scratching but she wouldn't relax and kept her front legs fully extended on my shoulder. The greatest day was when I picked her up, started petting, and she relaxed fully into my shoulder!

However, Sugar will never be completely comfortable being held. If I don't pet her she will struggle and, unlike Skooma, she will never ask to be picked up. She is not as limp as Skooma even when she's comfy.

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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 09-06-2010, 05:03 AM
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I have a very young tortie who doesn't like to be handled, sometimes she will play along and maybe even lick your nose but 90% of the time, you gonna get lit up.

Vet tech tried to warn me that torties can sometimes be very temperamental, pfft...she's since earned the nickname Hellcat.


Last edited by catnip; 09-06-2010 at 05:07 AM.
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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 09-06-2010, 08:58 AM
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Neko doesn't really like to be held. He's very friendly and cuddly but just doesn't want you to walk around with him. He'll tolerate it for a few seconds and then he gets distressed and starts meowing and pushing away. It's no big deal, I just won't hold him. I can still move him and stuff like that, he doesn't go insane or try to hurt you, but there is no need to just hold him for the sake of holding him when it's something he doesn't like.
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