How To Get Your Cat To Let You Hold It?

Cats tend to be aloof and snobbish, although this may depend on their breed and how they were raised as kittens. Some are okay with being picked up and held, while others do not relish physical interaction. If you are a first-time cat parent, it could be a struggle if your cat avoids you rather than letting you cuddle her. Read on for some helpful tips on how to get your cat to let you hold her. 

How To Get Your Cat To Let You Hold It

Step 1 

To get your cat to allow you to hold her, first make sure she is relaxed. Invite her onto your lap. Some cats may not warm up easily, so you need to be patient. Offer treats, as this usually works with most cats. Once your cat comes to you, pet her and stroke her body.  

You may also scratch her ears and allow her to rub her face against your hand. The latter is a good sign, as it means she is marking you with her pheromones. Keep petting and stroking her. It may be best to avoid the stomach, as many cats react badly to having their stomachs touched. 

Speak to her in a soothing tone and use long strokes as you pet her. Go through this process at least four times a day, for at least 30 seconds. Observe your cat throughout, until she becomes comfortable with you holding and petting her. 

Step 2

Call and talk to your cat and pick her up, placing her on your lap. Place your hands around her shoulders once she sits on your lap, and do this for at least 10 seconds. Give her treats and let her jump back onto the floor. If she stays on your lap for at least a few minutes, try to pick up and let go of her foot, and then offer her a treat. Next, repeat this step and try to touch her mouth and tail, and rub her belly. 

Always give her a treat as you do this and your cat will eventually increase her tolerance for sitting on your lap and having her body touched and handled. The goal of this process is to increase your cat’s threshold for physical interaction. Do not overdo it or your cat will be overwhelmed and will avoid you instead.

Step 3 

Once you have gained your cat’s complete trust and she has become accustomed to the physical interaction, incorporate the earlier steps during play sessions with your cat. Encourage her to chase toys on a string for a few seconds. Have a brief pause, touch her feet and resume with your playtime. Your goal is to touch her and give a treat or touch her and play with her as you establish her tolerance level. However, if your cat becomes stressed or anxious, discontinue the process for a while. 

Once your cat becomes comfortable with being handled and touched, you may also invite other members of your household to do the same.  This will allow your cat to become more used to being held. 

Tips for How To Get Your Cat To Let You Hold It

Be aware of your cat’s tolerance level. 

Always be sensitive to your cat’s tolerance level and be respectful if she refuses to be handled. Do not insist on holding her if she is struggling and trying to escape. Enjoy the closeness if she likes being held, but if she does not, let her go. The more you hold a squirmy cat, the more she will abhor being held the next time you try to hold her. 

If she dislikes being held, slow down and focus on at least putting your hand on her side briefly.  Once she is comfortable with that, you can use gentle pressure as you place your hands on her side again. Next, let go and reward your cat with treats. Try to do this a few times before attempting to pick her up, and be sure that she is comfortable with being held or touched. 

Your approach should not appear threatening or startle her in any way. 

Do not startle your cat by grabbing her from behind if you want to hold her. Your cat should be aware that you are there, and you must approach her in a non-threatening way. Avoid approaching directly from the front, as cats see this as a threatening move. 

Do the steps gently, speak to your cat and give her treats. You will be surprised by the results, so long as the process and training are coupled with patience and determination. 

Conclusion 

Cats are frisky and smart, but they also tend to be aloof and stand-offish.  If you are having a hard time getting your cat to let you hold her, do not lose hope. Follow the steps in the process discussed above. 

Be patient and understand that cats are creatures of habit, so it may take a while before they get used to being handled. Most important is for you to determine her tolerance level, and to approach her without threatening or startling her.

Image: istockphoto.com / Nadtochiy