A cat’s meow can hold several secrets in it, and identifying them becomes difficult for new cat owners. While cats love the affection of their owners, many of the owners get concerned about their cats getting uncomfortable and meowing when they hold them. It happens to many, making them think, ‘’why does my cat meow when I pick her up or pet her?’’
The most common reason is sickness or pain, which causes discomfort when you pick the cat and results in a change of behavior. Sometimes, cats meow when they’ve missed you while being away. Also, they meow to show their discomfort because you’re not holding them the right way.
As there are several reasons associated with a cat’s meow when you pick it up or pet it, let’s discuss everything in detail.
Why Does My Cat Meow When I Pick Her Up?
As several reasons are associated with this behavior, we will discuss all of them to help you determine the cause behind your cat’s meow when you hold it or even simply pet it.
1. Pain or sickness
When cats are in pain or ill, we often notice a drastic change in their behavior. They become not only lazy and try to hide but also become uncomfortable and touchy.
So, meowing loudly than usual when being picked up can be a sign of an underlying medical issue or an injury. Sometimes, this meow is also followed by hissing and growling.
A sudden change in your cat’s meow will surely be an indication of an underlying medical issue or injury.
Although cats can tolerate pain to a much greater extent, meowing due to sickness can indicate that your cat has a severe health issue, and neglecting it may risk your furry friend’s life. As illness can make them uncomfortable, they won’t like anyone’s attention, and the owners picking them up might piss them off. Consult with a vet if you suspect your cat is in pain.
2. You’re not bonded well
What happens when you meet a pet for the first time?
Well, if it’s a dog, it will definitely get afraid and bite you. In the case of cats, you can expect a meow. So, if you recently bought a new cat in your house and it meows as soon as you pick her up, it may be because both of you aren’t familiar and the cat is afraid to come into your hands.
The cat will feel frightened when you try to hold it or pet it, and it may meow to show discomfort. If that’s the case with you, it’s better to give it time to bond with you. Once done, it will no longer meow in your hands.
3. You’re not holding it the right way
As cats are fragile with soft bones, picking them the wrong way will make them uncomfortable. That is often the most common reason behind a cat’s meow when being picked up.
Children and new owners don’t know how to make a cat comfortable while holding it. Holding the cat too tight may suffocate it or even break the bones. As you’re making your cat suffer this way, it will look at you as an enemy rather than a friend, which will become a barrier between your bonding.
If you’re not used to picking up cats in your hands, a better idea is to learn it and be gentle when holding it.
4. Stress or anxiety
Like humans, cats can get stressed out, either by the introduction of a new pet in the family or due to separation anxiety.
They will also look gloomy in this state and express short meows whenever you pick them up or try to show them affection. Some medical illnesses are also a sign of stress, linked to meowing on being picked up.
5. Your cat enjoys it
Sometimes, the meowing of a cat is nothing to get worried about!
Cats love their owner’s attention, and meowing whenever you pick them up often means that they’re enjoying your company. In such a case, this meow is to express their joy.
You might also notice your cat meowing when you pick her up after getting home from work or being away for days. So, it’s nothing to worry about!
6. Your cat is busy
Imagine that you have something very important to do, but on your way there somebody stops you and tries to distract you from what you were doing. You wouldn’t like it much I bet. Your cat feels exactly the same way when it wanted to do something important, like to smell other cats or catch a butterfly, but here you are lifting it and holding it. Your cat might just want to carry on doing its business. It will come hug when all the cat errands are tended to.
7. Your cat is in heat
Cats in heat tend to behave differently from how they usually do, so there is nothing to worry about. Your cat has different things in mind rather than spending time with you. Once this period is over, your cat’s behavior will get back to normal.
8. Unpleasant Scent
Have you used any perfume today? Or maybe got a new body spray or hand creme? While humans typically like when fellow humans smell nice, your cat might just be not that much into it. They have a much better sense of smell, and something might be irritating them causing them to meow when you are in close contact with them.
9. Independent Cat
Remember that cats are not dogs, they have a different temperament, usually a pretty independent one. Some cats simply don’t enjoy it when you try to pet them when they didn’t ask for it. The same goes for picking them up. There is a chance your cat doesn’t appreciate the intrusion of her privacy, and she will show it by meowing.
I had a cat like that. She was not to be touched under any circumstances unless she is the one that comes up to you and asks for attention. Take some time to learn your cat’s personality, maybe your cat is just like mine.
Is This Behavior Normal?
Whether this behavior is normal or not depends on the condition. If your cat suddenly starts meowing when being picked up and tries to get away, it is definitely a matter of concern. A longer and high-pitched meow often indicates a health issue and is not normal behavior.
But, some cats have a habit of meowing when you pick them up. They do it out of love. So, short and low-pitched meows are normal in most cats.
While some cats meow on picking them, and this behavior is normal, a sudden shift towards high-pitched meows can become worrisome. If you notice a change in your cat’s meow or it suddenly starts meowing on being picked up, it’s time for a visit to the vet.
But, you shouldn’t worry if your cat meows often to show its affection.
My name is Katie, and I have had different pets at home for as long as I can remember. While I can definitely say I love all animals in general, my heart belongs to cats and dogs. I know you are supposed to choose one or the other, but I could never really decide. I’ve also owned hamsters and fish when I was a kid, and they filled my childhood with very delightful memories.