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mizkendall3939's avatar

How do i get my cats to be more comfortable around me so i can hold them more often without them getting mad?

Asked by mizkendall3939 (151points) April 3rd, 2009

okay here it is. I am 13, and have two cats. one is named Abby, and the other is Gandalf (don’t ask) I got abby in 2002 so she is getting kinda old, and she HATES being held. if you try to pick her up she will hiss, growel, maybe even bite you. But she DOES come to sit with you when your sitting down, all the time. She never lays on her side though and I’d really like to be able to hold her, and have her be totally comfortable with me any time.
Gandalf is a white cat and he is very squirmy. You can pick him up but he meows all the time and tries to get down, and if u try to pet him he will run away and squirm off, and it gets really annoying. Gandalf normally only comes to you when your sleeping or every once in a while when your sitting down. I got him in 2005 and he is really nice most of the time, rarely bites.

So my question is, how do i get them to be totally comfortable with me and my familly and be able to hold them? because most of my friends with cats can hold them and they have no problem. please help me!! thanksss! :)) <——————- that is abby <——————and that is Gandalf

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12 Answers

Mr_M's avatar

If a cat doesn’t want to be held, they don’t want to be held. I have 3 cats. My eldest, the Persian, does NOT want to be held. She’ll hiss, growl…we can’t even get her groomed at a groomers. We have her groomed at the vets where they anesthetize her. My youngest, a kitten, wants to cuddle ALL the time, but only with my daughter. Never with me. I pick her up, she wants to get down. LOVES to play with me, loves to get her belly rubbed by me, but doesn’t want me to hold her. My middle cat, the male, is MY cat in that he is ALWAYS around me. He’ll even sleep by my feet every night. But don’t let my daughter try to pick him up. If she manages to catch him, he’ll bite her.

So don’t take it personally. And understand it’s the cat’s nature. The cat calls the shots.

But I would pet them gently when they come near. Don’t brush them, just stroke them on the back of the head. Gently, When they decide to go away, don’t force them to stay. Just wait for the next time. Hold off from picking them up for awhile. Just pet them.

If they come in your bed, just pet them. don’t try to pick them up for awhile.

asmonet's avatar

Cats have personalities, and likes and dislikes. Just like you.
You can’t force them to behave in a way that’s uncomfortable to them, Enjoy them for who they are.

If you want to trick them though, rub some tuna oil on your wrists when you’re at home for a few days. They’ll come up and walk all over your lap and settle in to lick your wrists for an hour or so. They might get more comfortable being held and handled.

But again, do not force it.
They have feelings too.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

Cats are very temperamental .. each cat is different. My luck with “training” cats has been very poor.. in the end you may have to be content that you have grumpy cats..

ratboy's avatar

See a taxidermist.

augustlan's avatar

Just want to echo what people have already said. Every cat is different. We have one that will let you hold her pretty much anytime and one that can’t stand to be picked up or held. Just accept them the way they are.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Yup, cats have their own personalities and you may simply have two who just don’t like being handled much.

They are gorgeous kitties!

teirem1's avatar

You have very pretty kitties!

I think it’s important to get your cats to the point where they are comfortable being held. It is important as there may be a time when you need to move them quickly for a safety reason or hold them at the vets.

As many above stated, every cat has a different personality just like people. And like people they have histories that may have effected they way they view things, ie: being held. Understanding what went on in their past would help but it is not needed. A huge heart on your part and the ability to empathize with the cats feelings is more important.

Note:It also may be physically uncomfortable for them to be held – you need to determine if this is the case. Adjusting how you hold them may solve the problem – if not….

I’ve worked with a lot of rescue animals from horses to cats. Below is my recommendation and has repeatedly worked for me when getting a cat used to being held. You need to know this will take a lot of patience, time, awareness, and consistency.

It’s great that they will already come and sit in your lap as that would be the first step in gaining their confidence and comfort in being held. Start with one of your cats as that will be a lot easier. Get treats that they really, really like and keep some on you (like in you pocket). When you sit down have a blanket or throw in your lap that they can lay on (I’ll explain why the blanket is important later). Give them a small treat and make a small, comforting, quiet unique sound when they first come to your lap (your choice of sound but always make the same sound and then immediately give the treat – they will learn to associate this sound with comfort), pet them gently, talk to them. Do not constrain them if they want to leave – let them. Do this for weeks.

After several weeks of this. Make the comforting sound when they want to leave, pet them with a treat in your hand and encourage them to stay. Give them the treat if they make the smallest gesture of staying and progress everyday with that gesture (ie:you need to progress them to laying back down to get the treat). Let this go on for a couple of weeks or it may take even take longer. Cats are not dogs but they will work with you.

Next when they are comfortable staying longer on your lap – start moving around a bit when they are on you. Just slightly. If they get nervous, stop, make the soothing sound and give a treat. Do it again later. As they become comfortable with movement and know your not going to toss them and they are not going to get hurt from movement you can progress to the next step….I just realized how long this is getting…maybe I should send this to you direct? Let me know and I will continue here or directly to you.

These methods do work but they may take considerable patience and time.

mizkendall3939's avatar

lol you can just keep explaining here, I’ll start trying it!! thankss!!

mizkendall3939's avatar

oh, and also my cat abby is really picky and won’t eat anything except for her dried food and maybe some turkey every once in a while. she used to eat so much tuna but now she hates it. so what should i use for her??

gailcalled's avatar

Dried food is fine. Let your cats train you; that’s the best you can hope for. I would write more but my cat, Milo, wants to sit on the keyboard.

He eats only high-end dried food and is a handsome and charismatic 11 lbs of muscle. (He told me to tell you that.)

@mizkendall3939: Welcome. And do start sentences with upper case letters, please. It makes reading easier.

Mr_M's avatar

Resist the temptation to hug them and squeeze them and kiss them all up when you pick them up. Some cats try to get away from that or anticipation of that.

I do it to my kitten and she won’t let me pick her up. But it’s a trade off I’m willing to make. Yesterday, it was extremely windy in NY. The wind was howling all night and she was afraid.

aprilsimnel's avatar

@Mr_M – Awwww…!

My kitty loved being snuggled and snorgled and smooched by the humans she liked. Not while she was eating or involved with something else, of course, but generally, she was very affectionate.

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