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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

We've always known that Rookie doesn't like to be picked up. We generally respect that and don't try, although every once in a while we try it just in case she has mellowed since the last time. When my boyfriend picked her up the last couple times, she actually HISSED at him. Hearing a cat hiss just shakes me up. I'm disappointed that she'll probably never like to be picked up. Does your cat do that? I guess the moral of the story is -- just don't pick her up? :(
 

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It's essential to be able to pick up a cat in order to care for it, take it to the vet, and so forth. I encourage you to continue picking her up on a frequent basis. Put her down just before she starts struggling to get free, so she doesn't associate it with a bad experience. It will take a long time, but if you persist and gradually increase the time she's held, I'm sure you'll make progress. :)

Don't put too much stock in the hissing. BTW, is he perhaps the loud, physical, boisterous type? Cats don't like loud noises, or lots of activity -- lots of arm and leg movement, tramping around -- that sort of thing. Think of it in terms of the cat --- visualize yourself as an elephant's pet. :lol:
 

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Thanks, Tim. The hiss happened within a few seconds of picking her up, like before she even made it into her full, upright position. :) It scares the living daylights out of me when she hisses! Our original goal was to pick her up every now and then, just so when it came time to pick her up and put her into the carrier to go to the vet, she wouldn't have such a bad reaction. So much for that theory.
 

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You could also consider how you pick up the cat. When I hold my cats, I sort of have one hand underneath their chest and the other supporting their butt and back legs. And the reason I bring up how you hold them is because my boyfriend's mom sort of just holds the cat around the chest, and the cat's legs are dangling free. My cats don't really like that much, and usually squirm to get away. Maybe there's a position that Rookie likes better?

I also agree with Tim. When you are able to pick Rookie up, make sure you let go as soon as she starts struggling or even before. I like to think that you are giving the cat "control" over the situation, so she knows you will respect her wishes when she wants to go down and so being picked up isn't always a bad thing. I could be reading too much into my cats, but that's my theory. :)
 

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Maybe it's the way your boyfriend is picking up Rookie or simply because she doesn't know him. Mike is a hisser but it is purely out of fear. I've realized that over the past couple years. He never hisses at us but he has hissed at the vet (never bites or escalates) and at house guests who move to quick toward him, (children) Basically he does it when he is scared. I guess you need to determine if you cat will escalate to biting and scratching which wouldn't be good. Mike won't so we just comfort & "shoosh" him and it's not a big deal. I'd just keep working on it and make sure she is comfortable with your boyfriend and that he isn't picking her up in way that she feel like she could fall or something. Some cats just don't like to be picked up. Jake doesn't. He's a big guy and will let us but his feet are totally toes spread uncomfortable. We just do it when absolutely necessary.
 

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I only have one hisser who hisses when I pick him up. He is an adult reformed feral who has recently discovered the joys of central heat and air. He will hiss if I pick him up, sometimes, but not all the time.

He is a big cat, perhaps 16 pounds, and my hands are small. I do support him at the chest and hind end, but perhaps my small hands are uncomfortable for him.
Even though he hisses, I pick him up anyways, I tell him "Oh, stop." and continue until I have put him where I want him. Usually, I just lift him up onto the bed/couch/recliner and immediately let him go with a friendly pet or two to let him know I meant him no harm. Sometimes I will carry him a few steps but I always pay close attention to the animal in my arms and let them go before they start to get uncomfortable and squirm.
Heidi
 

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I would also try handing feeding some treats somewhere in this process, so she associates good things with the picking up process. I agree with the comments about the method being important. Callie hated the actual act of picking her up and would squirm like mad, but once firmly in my arms was happy as a clam to be held. So I would try to get her into that position as quickly as possible.

Also, is this a real all out agressive hiss? Or more of a mild 'will ya leave me alone' hiss? How you react to it is important as well....if you get really upset and nervous, she knows it worked and will do it again. If, as Heidi says, you remain calm and just say 'oh get over it'...then she knows it's not having the desired effect....
 

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The above comments about HOW you pick up a cat are perceptive. I've noticed each of my cats prefers to be picked up and held a different way. Twinkie is so particular that if I hold him anyway where he's not facing to my left he's not happy about it. :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the comments, everyone. My boyfriend and I live together, so it isn't a matter of being less familiar with him. He is a cat person from way back, so his method of picking her up is pretty routine . . . hand under chest and butt so as to not let anything dangle.

I'm not sure how to interpret her hiss, except that it sounds dangerous and scary to me! She even hissed a second time after he put her back down. That's a good idea about working on the "get over it" reaction. To this point, my reaction has been more like, "Don't kill me, oh beastly one."
 

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I've had reformed ferals who didn't like beiing lifted up but did like being held and cuddled for a minute or two. They'd hiss very softly, then purr once they were steady in my arms. I think the lifting motion scared them a little.
I always made sure to support their back feet as i picked them up so they wouldn't feel so much like they were just dangling.
 

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Cats are really good at picking up on our thoughts and emotions. Sometimes it's scary....as if they have ESP. Maybe your cat is picking up on fear of her or a lack of confidence. I don't think a cat wants to be handled by someone who lacks confidence in their ability to handle it. I wouldn't want to be, either. It would make me feel insecure. So, maybe it's a trust and security issue. Just a thought..... :)
 

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When I first got Willis he would hiss when I tried to pick him up and when I was holding him. I decided I would just keep trying it and holding him for a few seconds and then put him down and then kept increasing the time until he got used to it. Now I can carry him around the house - up and down flights of stairs and he is fine with it. Not sure if it will work for us but it did for me.
 
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