Why Does My Cat Meow When I Pick Her Up? 7 Reasons

In this post, you’ll discover the top 10 reasons your cat is meowing when you pick her up.

It’s the thing that defines our species. A person picks up a cat—and then the cat meows. That’s a lot of power packed into that single act. But why does it matter? It doesn’t have to. You just need to be aware of how it affects you. So let’s look at how we can influence it and turn a negative into a positive:

Here is a fun experiment to see if you can make a cat meow when you pick her up. It’s not something you do by accident. You need to practice this a lot and see it pay off.

Why Do Cats Meow At Humans?

Why Does My Cat Meow When I Pick Her Up

Let’s make sure we’re all on the same page regarding why cats meow at people before we get into the several reasons why a cat could meow when picked up.

Cats vocalize for a variety of reasons, but mature cats meow exclusively for humans, according to Professor Bjarne O. Braastad at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. Adult cats may communicate with one another by hissing, trilling, or chirping, but they rarely meow.

Kittens meow and meow when they need assistance or attention from their mothers.

When kittens move to a new household, they continue to make similar sounds to attract human attention. The kitty gradually understands that its new human reacts to meows as well. They also learn to change their pitch to match human tones!

All of this means you should be aware that your cat’s meow is most likely directed towards you!

10 Reasons Why Your Cat Meows When Being Picked Up

Your Cat Likes Your Company

When some cats are carried up, they meow because they enjoy the attention! They’re attempting to grab your attention and communicate that they want to be near you by meowing.

Pay attention to the meow’s accompanying body language. That meow was their way of expressing “hi, how lovely to see you!” and that they’re fine being picked up if your cat relaxes in your arms, gives you a head tilt, and isn’t attempting to flee.

When you pick up certain cats, they may even trill! Trilling is usually connected with happiness, and it’s always a sweet sound to hear when you pick up your furry buddy.

Your Cat Is Hungry

Why Does My Cat Meow When I Pick Her Up

Your cat appears to be vying for your attention… When you take them up, though, they send out a high-pitched meow and wriggle as if they don’t want to be put down.

Before you start panicking, gently place your cat on the floor and try to figure out what they want.

If your cat tries to bring you to their food dish, you now know what to do! Your cat is ready for a meal if they lead you to their food bowl or sit near it while meowing. “Hey, I don’t want to be taken up!” your cat was saying with that quick meow. “Feed me!” I demand.

Your Cat Doesn’t Like How You Picked Them Up

Even a cat who enjoys being handled will meow if they are lifted up in an inconvenient manner. That meow is simply their way of informing you that you need to alter your strategy!

When picking up a cat, make sure the cat’s entire body is supported. Scuffing or raising your cat by the front legs is not a good idea. It’s also crucial to let your cat to become accustomed to your presence before picking them up.

Watch the video below to discover how a veterinarian takes up a cat without giving it any pain.

 Your Cat Is Stressed

Cats, like people, exhibit a range of emotions and moods. Consider whether something has changed in the home if your cat generally doesn’t mind being picked up but suddenly starts meowing when she is. One of the indicators of a worried cat is increased vocalizations.

Several variables can contribute to stress. Visiting houseguests, the birth of a new baby, minor changes in habit, or medical worries – whatever the reason, a nervous kitten may resist being picked up.

Your Cat Doesn’t Like Being Held

Why Does My Cat Meow When I Pick Her Up

Not every cat enjoys being touched! That meow is their method of signaling that they don’t want to be picked up and that you should return them to their proper place. Some cats may become physically violent depending on their disposition.

Picking up a cat that has been mistreated or damaged in the past may make them feel intimidated. Not to add, most cats like to be in charge of their own fate! Giving a cat power over whether or not they are picked up or handled, according to experts at Nottingham Trent University, makes them feel more comfortable and contented.

Your Cat Isn’t Feeling The Bond

Every time I meet a new cat, I have to fight the impulse to pick it up! But I’m well aware that a cat who isn’t at ease with me is considerably more likely to meow and fight being put down.

If your cat is still a newcomer to your home, they’re still getting acclimated to the smells and sights, so being scooped up for a hug will be overwhelming to them.

Allow time for your new acquaintance to adjust to your presence and fragrance. Allowing new cats to approach you on their own terms is recommended by veterinarians and animal behaviorists. This will give your new family member a sense of ownership over the connection. They will almost certainly allow you to pick them up in the future.

You could even grow to be your cat’s favorite person, with complete pick-up privileges!

Your Cat Isn’t Feeling Well

Unfortunately, a meow can occasionally indicate that your cat is in discomfort or physically ill. Picking up a cat that isn’t feeling well might exacerbate the pain they are experiencing.

Take this new development carefully if your cat doesn’t regularly meow when picked up or if they’re displaying other indications of distress.

If the meowing is accompanied by other indicators of a medical problem, such as changes in movement, a swelling body part, difficulty breathing, or dilated pupils, contact your veterinarian. A veterinarian can determine whether your cat’s meowing when picked up is due to an underlying medical problem.

They Feel Disrespected

Cats don’t need anyone; they prefer to keep an eye on their area on their own. I should remind you, in case you forgot, that cats are born prey.
They climb everything by themselves, which makes them feel good about themselves.
When you try to do that task for them, they perceive it as a betrayal of their beliefs. To combat this, you may provide them with access to certain high places, which will restore their confidence in you.

They Take It As A Restraining Order

Why Does My Cat Meow When I Pick Her Up

Cats are highly self-sufficient pets. They like to be alone themselves. Most cats despise being held in a hug.

They feel stuck and fear that their autonomy may be taken away or ripped away from them.

Remember when you were holding a toddler? How were they attempting to free themselves from your grip? In your cat’s case, the situation is similar.

Bad Experiences

If you have adopted a cat, it is possible that your cat has had some traumatic events in the past, making it difficult for your cat to trust you, believe in you, and think that you would not harm him.

In this instance, you’ll need to look into the areas where your cat has trouble settling. You must allow them to heal, as healing is a complicated term that takes years to leave behind.

Be patient, and don’t make her feel bad just because she doesn’t follow your instructions.

Should I Worry If My Cat Cries When I Pick Them Up?

Take your cat to a veterinarian to rule out medical concerns if your cat is wailing in a high-pitched, frightened manner when picked up.

Most cats strive to disguise their discomfort and agony. Cats seldom meow or scream out while they’re in agony; instead, they do so after they’ve reached a point where they can’t disguise the symptoms any longer.

The easiest method to figure out what’s making them cry is to take them to a veterinarian. If your veterinarian concludes that nothing is wrong, you’ll have some piece of mind knowing that your pet is healthy.

Why Might A Cat Whine When Picked Up?

When a cat’s meow becomes a higher-pitched and longer whine, it can be very alarming. If a cat begins to whine when you attempt to pick them up, this is a clear indication that the cat does not enjoy being taken up.

Picking up certain cats has a bad connotation for them. Perhaps they’re just used to being picked up to take medication, or perhaps they’ve been abused before. Attempting to pick up a cat who does not want to be taken up will just make the cat more uncomfortable.

Picking up a cat might seem like an attack to some cats. You may try to cuddle your cat, but their inherent feline instincts kick in, causing them to flee the scenario.

Remember that your cat is a dangerous predator, but they’re also tiny enough to be prey for a variety of animals. That means some cats may never be happy being carried, and a whine may be their way of expressing their dissatisfaction.

What To Do If Your Cat Dislikes Being Picked Up?

If you’ve ruled out all medical causes for your cat’s fear of being picked up, it’s likely that your cat equates being picked up with a bad event in the past.

Use counter-conditioning to ease into physical touch. Counter-conditioning encourages your cat to associate being picked up as a good rather than a negative event over time.

For instance, you may begin by sitting on the floor and caressing the cat softly while providing a reward. Allow the cat to pick whether or not to hop into your lap by moving the goodie to your lap. Once the cat appears to be comfortable being held, gradually begin lifting the cat while providing plenty of goodies.


To help you determine which cat needs what, look at her body, paws, eyes, ears, and tail. If she doesn’t like it, she will usually let you know by making that noise. And if she loves you and knows you’re about to get her the attention she deserves, she will give you a warm and friendly greeting. If she doesn’t like it, she may even try to run away.

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