Why Does My Cat Hate Being Held? Here Are The Reasons

Showing affection to a cat can be a confusing process for many cat owners. While some cats will crave for your touch, some cats can entirely retaliate.

So, you might be wondering that you are doing something wrong with them. We can ensure that it is probably the cat who is responsible for the retaliation.

It is an unnatural show of affection to them, and the feeling of being restricted drives them away when you are going to touch it.

As a result, it might end up hurting you emotionally. But you cannot worry about it.

If you are kind and affectionate towards it, you can patiently touch your cat without an undesirable reaction. This article focuses on this particular aspect of the cat-human relationship.

Why Does My Cat Hate Being Held?


There can be several possible behind this particular behavior of the cat. In this section, we will get a closer look at the probable causes of this behavior.

1. Unnatural Show Of Affection

Cats are independent creatures, and cuddling is not a normal method of showing affection to them. Most of the cats dislike the concept of picking them up and holding them.

If you closely observe the cats, the usual methods of showing affection include head butting, winking, curling their tails around legs, etc. Hence, the act of picking them up and holding them feels alien to them.

2. Timid Behaviour

If you have adopted an adult cat, it can fear you because of the size difference. You will always be a threat in their eyes.

Also, they may be getting habituated to new surroundings. If you are trying to pick it up in that phase, they can get scared.

3. Restraining Their Freedom

It should be quite apparent that the cats love their freedom. They like to roam their territory without any restraints.

Your act of picking the cat up can seem like a restriction of movement to the cats. Hence, they might irrationally react when you are trying to pick it up.

4. Previous Trauma

This type of fear is more observable for shelter cats. Shelters recover the cats from the streets or troubled homes, and most of these cats went through some trauma one way or another.

Hence, your act of love may be triggering those bad experiences. You have to be extremely patient in those cases and give it as long as it needs recovery.

5. Disrespecting Their Space

Cats are independent creatures and do not like anyone invading their space. If you are picking it up to cuddle, you are invading their precious territory.

They can react in an unwelcoming way if they consider you to be a threat to their space. Cats may feel that you are disrespecting their space by picking them up and restricting free movement.

6. Painful Spots

This behavior can also be indicative of internal pain. You can always realize that the cat is suffering from some agony right away.

The cat may react to your touch because it is probably hurting the cat more when you are picking it up. You can run your fingers softly all over the cat. If it is reacting to particular body spots, you can take the cat to a vet as soon as possible.

Ways To Teach Them To Love Your Touch:

You have to be patient with the cat and make it accustomed to your touch before attempting to pick it up. There are a few tips that you should know to make the cat love being held by you.

  • Find a suitable time when the cat is in a relaxed state. You can slowly approach the cat while maintaining a calm environment. If it is not running away from you, pet the cat with long strokes without picking it up. You have to keep up this habit a few times every day.
  • Positive reinforcement will not harm the gradual process. You can give cat treats whenever they are sitting on your lap. It will be an effective way of letting them know that they are showing acceptable behavior. However, you should not force them to stay on your lap if they don’t want to.
  • You have to keep your attempts as minimal as possible at the start. You can gradually increase the amount of time that you spend petting the cat. It will help you maintain a friendly environment for the cat, and they will not feel scared.
  • Be patient with the whole process of making them comfortable with your touch. If you rush into the process, then the cats will be scared of you, and it may have unwanted effects on the cat. Hence, you have to be extremely careful with the cat. Also, you cannot be forceful in any of the situations. Forcing the cat will be more harmful in this scenario.


Cats are astoundingly particular about their freedom, and they do not allow anyone to invade their privacy.

It is natural for the cat to react dismissively if you are trying to pick it up.

While it is their unaccepting behavior that can make them react this way, internal pain can also be responsible for this behavior. You have to be careful with the cat and approach the cat gradually to make it habituated.

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