Why Do Cats Meow When You Pick Them Up?

Some cats are more expressive and vocal than others. While your cat may immediately begin purring when you pick him up, some owners become concerned when their cats meow every time they pick them up. One of the most frequently asked questions is why does my cat meow when I pick him up? This is a good question to ask because your cat is definitely trying to tell you something, but what is it? There isn’t just one answer to this question. Your cat is an individual creature with its own personality. He’s telling your something, but it’s up to you to figure out what that is. To solve this mystery, we consult with experts in the field of cat behavior and communication to try to help you determine why your cat is meowing and what he’s trying to say.

Indications that he’s uncomfortable

Life With Cats  advises that it’s important to watch your cat’s body language when you pick him up. A meow could mean a lot of different things. If your cat is uncomfortable or in pain, he will not only meow but show other signs that this is the case. If he shows anxiety, pins his ears back, or tries to avoid being picked up, it’s a good idea to take him to the local vet for a checkup. There may be a medical problem that causes pain or discomfort when he’s picked up. If this is new behavior for him, it’s a good indication that there may be something wrong that needs attention.

He may not like being handled

Every cat is born with its own wonderful personality. Some love to be picked up and cuddled, while others do everything they can to avoid it. some cats simply do not like to be handled. For some, it may be because of mishandling and injury in the past. If your cat stiffens his body, pulls his ears back, or walks away from you, it’s a good sign that he simply doesn’t like being picked up. There are steps you can take to help ease him into physical contact. Start slowly, make slow progress with touching and holding, and offer him treats for allowing you to do so, but don’t force him until he is ready. This is called counter-conditioning, but it takes a long time to undo the damage caused by others.

He might just be conversing with you

If there are no other cues that your cat is in pain, uncomfortable or irritated, he may simply be communicating with you. Cat’s that like to vocalize may be telling you that he likes your company according to Pet Finder. You can usually tell by observing his total body language and listening to the tone of his voice if he is in any distress or pain. If he seems otherwise happy and doesn’t try to get away or wince in pain, he might just be saying thanks.

He may have other needs at the time

If your cat meows when you pick him up, there may be other things that he’d rather be doing. for example, he may need to use the litter box. If he’s just eaten, his stomach may be full, and picking him up may feel uncomfortable. If your cat is hungry, and it’s near feeding time, he may be reminding you that it’s time to eat.

Your cat may be in heat

Some female cats become easily agitated when they’re in heat. They tend to cry more, and it can become annoying, but it’s nature at work so try to give her a break. She may not want you to hold her at this time because her mind is on other things. There isn’t much you can do about it, but to wait it out.

Your cat might be stressed out

If your cat is uptight or distressed about something else, he or she might meow when you pick them up. Cats get moody just like people and it may not want to be picked up. If your cat wants to be left alone it’s a good idea to give them their space. Cats get angry, sad, depressed, stressed, and almost every other emotion you can name.

Should I be concerned?

According to Arm and Hammer, if your cat meows in a high-pitched tone, there is a reason for concern. This indicates that there is pain present, or at a minimum, discomfort. If your cat has just started meowing when he is picked up, and it’s becoming a new behavior, it gives you just cause for concern. You should take your cat to a veterinarian for an examination. If his meow is high pitched but longer, and if it sounds more like a whine, he may be letting you know that there is something he wants, and he expects you to provide it for him.

Final thoughts

Cats communicate with their human owners in a variety of ways. Vocalization or meowing is one of them. When your cat does this it’s for a reason and it’s wise to find out what he is trying to tell you. It could signal a medical problem that needs professional attention. If it’s not a new behavior and there is no evidence of pain or sickness, your cat might just be warning you to give him his personal space. Some cats do not like to be picked up. It’s wise to heed their warnings. When you back a cat into a corner, figuratively speaking, they’re likely to take physical action to show you that they mean business.

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