Why do some cats not like being picked up?


Cats are popular pets due to their independent nature, soft fur, and playful antics. However, not all cats enjoy being picked up, and this can be confusing and frustrating for cat owners. In this article, we will explore various reasons why some cats do not like being picked up and what you can do about it.

Natural Instincts

Cats are natural predators, and their instincts tell them to stay low to the ground and be wary of anything that might pick them up. In the wild, being picked up could mean being carried away by a predator. Therefore, some cats may feel threatened or uncomfortable when lifted off the ground.

Lack of Trust

Cats are also creatures of habit and routine. If they are not used to being held or picked up, they may feel anxious or stressed when someone tries to do so. This can happen if a cat has not had much human interaction, or if they have been mishandled in the past.

Negative Associations

Sometimes cats associate being picked up with something unpleasant, such as going to the vet or being given medication. If your cat only gets picked up when they are going to the vet, they may start to dread being picked up altogether.

Physical Discomfort

Cats are sensitive creatures, and being picked up can be uncomfortable or even painful for some cats. For example, a cat with arthritis or a back injury may find it difficult to be lifted off the ground. Similarly, cats with long hair may find it uncomfortable to be held close to the body, as their hair can get tangled or pulled.


Cats are also susceptible to overstimulation, which can happen when they are picked up and held for too long. Overstimulation can cause a cat to become anxious, agitated, or even aggressive.

Fear of Heights

Some cats are naturally afraid of heights, and being picked up can trigger this fear. This fear may be due to a lack of experience with heights, or it could be a personality trait.

Feeling Trapped

Cats are territorial animals and may feel trapped or confined when they are picked up. They prefer to have control over their surroundings and may feel threatened when they are lifted off the ground.

Personality Traits

Finally, some cats are simply more independent and do not enjoy being held or picked up. This may be a personality trait that is unique to your cat and not something that can be changed.


In conclusion, there are many reasons why some cats do not like being picked up. Some cats may feel threatened, uncomfortable, or anxious, while others may prefer to have control over their surroundings. If your cat does not like being picked up, it is important to respect their boundaries and find other ways to bond with them. This could include playing together, grooming them, or simply sitting nearby and offering affection. With patience and understanding, you can build a strong and rewarding relationship with your feline friend.

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