Get your timid cat used to being picked up

Their adoption opportunities will increase if you get a timid cat used to being picked up.

Your scaredy cat may be quite comfortable being touched and even enjoy it. When you try to pick them up, though, you may be surprised how panicked they are.

Why is being picked up frightening to them?

Imagine yourself as a cat. The only time you’d be off the ground, involuntarily, is if you’d been grabbed by a predator. Terrifying!

So being picked up is a really big deal for most of them and requires an extra dose of trust and lots of patience on your part.

How to get them used to being picked up

  • Wait until they’re in their bed and pick them up in their bed – their hands and feet won’t be dangling in the air, so they’ll feel less unsafe.
  • Once they’re in their ‘graduation room’, kneel, or sit with your legs stretched out, on the floor and hand feed them. Make them stand on your thighs to get the food.
  • Once they’re comfortable standing, or sitting, on your thighs, start gently pushing their thighs a little while they’re eating, so they get used to being moved around by someone else.
  • Start putting your hand under their tummy while they’re eating.
  • Hold them against your body while they’re eating.
  • Kneel on the floor during meal time, hold them against you and slightly raise yourself off the ground. Start with just an inch or so. Gradually increase how high you raise yourself.
  • Once they don’t freak out, try slowly standing up while holding them, ideally while they’re eating.
  • Stand up while holding them and walk around a bit, preferably while they’re eating.
  • Approach them from a standing position and pick them up.

You may need to use extra, extra special treats to convince them that being picked up is worth it.

A step closer to adoption

When you can reliably pick them up, they’ve made great progress and are one step closer to being adopted.
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