How to Get a Cat Used to Being Picked Up

How to Get a Cat Used to Being Picked Up

Cats are known for their independent nature and can be quite particular about being handled or picked up. However, with patience and proper training, you can help your furry friend become more comfortable with being picked up. Here are some tips to get your cat used to being picked up:

1. Start slow: Begin by gently petting your cat in their favorite spots, like behind the ears or under the chin. This will help them associate touch with positive experiences.

2. Use positive reinforcement: Reward your cat with treats or praise each time they allow you to touch them. This positive reinforcement will create a positive association with being handled.

3. Gradually increase touch: Once your cat is comfortable with petting, slowly start to touch other parts of their body, such as their back or paws. Be gentle and observe their body language to ensure they are still comfortable.

4. Lift them briefly: After your cat is comfortable with being touched, try lifting them for a brief moment. Start by supporting their back legs and gradually lift them a few inches off the ground. If they become anxious or struggle, put them back down and try again later.

5. Create a safe space: Provide a secure and comfortable environment where your cat feels safe. This will help them relax and become more open to being handled.

6. Respect their boundaries: Cats have their own comfort zones, and it is essential to respect their boundaries. Avoid forcing them to be held if they are showing signs of stress or discomfort.

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7. Be patient: Remember that each cat is unique, and it may take time for them to adjust to being picked up. Patience and consistency are key when training your cat.


1. Why does my cat dislike being picked up?
Some cats may dislike being picked up due to fear, past negative experiences, or simply their independent nature.

2. How can I tell if my cat is comfortable being picked up?
Watch for signs of relaxation, such as purring or kneading, and a relaxed posture. If your cat is tense, struggling, or hissing, they are likely uncomfortable.

3. What if my cat scratches or bites when I try to pick them up?
If your cat displays aggressive behavior, it’s crucial to consult with a veterinarian or animal behaviorist for guidance on how to address this issue.

4. Can I use treats to encourage my cat to be picked up?
Yes, treats can be a great way to positively reinforce your cat’s behavior. However, make sure not to rely solely on treats, as this may create a dependency.

5. Should I trim my cat’s nails before attempting to pick them up?
Trimming your cat’s nails can be helpful if they tend to scratch, but it is not necessary for training them to be comfortable with being picked up.

6. How long does it take for a cat to get used to being picked up?
The time it takes for a cat to become comfortable with being picked up can vary. It may take days, weeks, or even months, depending on the individual cat.

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7. Can I pick up my cat anytime I want once they are comfortable?
Even if your cat becomes comfortable being picked up, it is still essential to respect their boundaries and only pick them up when they are willing and relaxed.