Why Does My Cat Meow When I Pick Her Up

Why Does My Cat Meow When I Pick Her Up?

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Last Updated on May 20, 2023 by Pauline G. Carter

Cats meow when picked up because they communicate through vocalization. This is their way of showing attention or expressing discomfort or insecurity when handled.

As a cat owner, you may wonder how to handle your pet when they meow. It is essential to consider their temperament and to respect their boundaries. This can help you create a trusting bond with your pet while keeping them happy and comfortable.

Understanding the reasons behind your cat’s meows can be helpful in building a relationship based on mutual respect and understanding. In this article, we will explore the various reasons why cats meow when picked up and what pet owners can do to help their cats feel more comfortable and secure.

Why Does My Cat Meow When I Pick Her Up?

Credit: cat-world.com

Understanding Feline Behavior

Cats are fascinating creatures and, despite their reputation for being aloof, they love to communicate with their human companions. Sometimes, however, our feline friends can be misunderstood, especially when it comes to their vocalizations. If you’re wondering why your cat meows when you pick her up, understanding feline behavior is key.

Ways To Communicate With Cats

It’s crucial to communicate with your cat to understand their needs. Here are a few ways to interact with your furry companion:

  • Eye contact: Looking directly into your cat’s eyes can help you establish a connection and bond with your pet.
  • Body language: Cats use their body language to communicate. For instance, if your cat’s tail is puffed up, it means they’re scared or agitated.
  • Vocalizations: Cats make different sounds, and each has a specific meaning. Meows signal that your cat wants something from you.
  • Positive reinforcement: Rewarding your pet for good behavior reinforces the behavior, and your cat learns what is acceptable.

Understanding feline behavior is essential for interpreting your cat’s actions. Next time you pick up your cat and hear a meow, try to communicate with them using these tips; you never know what they might be trying to tell you.

Reasons Why A Cat Meows

Different Types Of Meows

Just like humans speak in different tones and styles, cats meow in different ways to communicate their needs to their owners. Here are some meowing styles and their respective meanings:

  • Short meows: They are often an attempt by cats to say hello or get your attention. Cat owners usually hear these meows when their cats welcome them home or want to play.
  • Long and drawn-out meows: These meows can signify a request for food or water, or a desire for more attention from their owners.
  • Rapid-fire meows: Cats may use these meows while in distress or pain, often requiring immediate medical attention.
  • Chirping or chattering meows: Cats make these meows when they spot prey, such as birds outside a window, and are an instinctive hunting response.

Reasons Why Cats Meow

Cats meow to communicate their needs, desires, and feelings to their owners. Here are some common reasons why cats meow:

  • Hunger or thirst: Cats may meow when they are hungry, thirsty, or when their food or water bowls are empty.
  • Attention-seeking: Cats can be quite demanding when it comes to getting your attention. They can meow persistently to ask you to play with them or pet them.
  • Stress or anxiety: Cats that feel frightened, bored, or lonely may resort to meowing to express their emotions.
  • Medical issues: Cats that are ill or in pain can communicate their discomfort through meowing.
  • Aging: Older cats may start meowing excessively because of disorientation or cognitive decline.

Medical Reasons Behind Meowing

One of the most common reasons why cats meow is due to underlying medical issues. Here are some reasons behind your cat’s incessant meowing:

  • Hyperthyroidism: This condition causes an overproduction of thyroid hormones, which can lead to restlessness, anxiety, and vocalization in cats.
  • Cognitive dysfunction: Aging cats may suffer from cognitive dysfunction, which can affect their memory, focus, and social skills. As a result, they may start meowing excessively or act disoriented.
  • Pain or discomfort: Cats that are in pain, due to injury or medical issues, may meow more to communicate their discomfort to their owners.
  • Hearing loss: Cats that are deaf may meow more loudly or frequently to compensate for their hearing loss.
  • Dementia: Just like humans, cats can suffer from dementia or alzheimer’s disease, which can lead to disorientation, confusion, and excessive meowing.

Checking For Injuries And Other Health Issues

If you observe changes in your cat’s meowing behavior, such as excessive meowing or changes in the tone of their meows, it’s important to take them to the vet for a check-up. Here are some signs to watch out for:

  • Changes in appetite or water intake
  • Behavioral changes (aggression, withdrawal, hiding)
  • Changes in litter box habits
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Abnormalities in mobility or gait

Seeking Help From A Vet

If your cat is meowing excessively, showing signs of distress, or exhibiting changes in behavior, it’s important to take them to the vet for a thorough examination. Your vet can evaluate your cat’s overall health, conduct a physical examination, and recommend appropriate treatment options.

Understanding Anxiety In Cats

Cats can suffer from anxiety due to a variety of reasons, such as separation anxiety, fear of loud noises, or unfamiliar surroundings. Here are some signs to watch out for:

  • Excessive meowing, even at night
  • Urinating or defecating outside the litter box
  • Hiding or avoiding social interactions
  • Destructive behavior (scratching furniture, chewing on shoes)
  • Lack of appetite or water intake

Tips To Reduce Anxiety

Fortunately, there are several ways to help reduce anxiety in cats. Here are some tips to help soothe your anxious feline:

  • Provide a calm and secure environment
  • Give your cat plenty of playtime and exercise
  • Use pheromone sprays or diffusers to help soothe anxious cats
  • Consider using herbal supplements or cbd oil to help your cat relax
  • Avoid sudden changes in your cat’s routine or environment

Dealing With Fear

Cats can experience fear in various situations, such as during vet visits or when introduced to new pets or people. Here are some tips for dealing with fear in cats:

  • Speak softly and calmly to your cat
  • Avoid loud or sudden noises around your cat
  • Allow your cat to hide or retreat to a safe area if they feel overwhelmed
  • Use positive reinforcement, such as treats or toys, to help your cat associate positive experiences with fearful situations
  • Gradually acclimate your cat to new environments or situations to help them overcome their fears

Why Cats Seek Attention

Some cats crave attention and affection from their owners, while others prefer to be left alone. Here are some reasons why cats seek attention:

  • They want to play or interact with their owners
  • They want to get petted or cuddled
  • They may be experiencing separation anxiety or loneliness
  • They may be seeking security or comfort
  • They may be expressing affection towards their owners

Training Your Cat

Training your cat can be a rewarding experience for both you and your feline friend. Here are some tips for effective cat training:

  • Use positive reinforcement, such as treats or toys, to reward good behavior
  • Be consistent with your training methods and expectations
  • Use clicker training to help your cat associate good behavior with positive reinforcement
  • Keep training sessions short and frequent, to avoid overwhelming your cat
  • Be patient and persistent, as cat training may take time and practice.

Interacting With Your Cat

Interacting with your cat can strengthen the bond between you and your feline friend. Here are some fun and engaging ways to interact with your cat:

  • Play with your cat using feather wands, catnip toys, or laser pointers
  • Give your cat plenty of opportunities to climb and explore their environment
  • Provide your cat with scratching posts or pads to satisfy their natural scratching instincts
  • Use puzzle feeders or food-dispensing toys to keep your cat mentally stimulated
  • Give your cat plenty of love and cuddles, to show them how much you care.

Whether your cat meows to communicate a need, desire, or emotion, understanding the different types of meows and their meanings can help you become a better cat owner. By providing a calm and supportive environment, addressing any underlying medical issues, and engaging your cat in fun and interactive activities, you can help your feline friend live a happy and healthy life.

Handling Techniques To Prevent Meowing

Understanding What Cats Love

As a cat owner, it’s essential to understand what your pet enjoys to make handling a more pleasant experience for both you and your feline friend. Here are some things cats love:

  • Petting: Most cats enjoy being petted, but they have specific preferences. Observe your cat’s body language to identify which areas they like to be petted.
  • Treats: It’s no secret that cats love treats! Use them as positive reinforcement during handling.
  • Playing: Engaging in playtime with your cat before handling can calm them down and make them more receptive to you picking them up.
  • Resting: Cats need a lot of rest, so handling them when they’re tired might not be a good idea.

Proper Handling Techniques

Cats meow when you pick them up for various reasons, and improper handling could be one of them. Here are some proper handling techniques to prevent excessive meowing:

  • Support your cat’s body: Use both hands to support your cat’s body when lifting them to prevent any discomfort.
  • Avoid restraining: Do not restrain your cat if they’re struggling as it can make them more agitated.
  • Keep calm: Speak to your cat in a calm, soothing voice to calm them down.
  • Respect their boundaries: Cats are independent creatures and enjoy their personal space. Respect their boundaries and avoid handling them if they’re not receptive.

Calming Your Cat During Handling

Cats can get anxious or nervous during handling, leading to excessive meowing. Here are some ways to calm your cat during handling:

  • Use toys: Toys can distract your cat during handling and make them forget about being picked up.
  • Use treats: Offering treats during handling can turn it into a positive experience for your cat.
  • Massage: Massaging your cat before handling can help them relax and reduce anxiety.
  • Use pheromones: Feline pheromones can create a calming effect and reduce stress levels during handling.

Building Trust With Your Cat

Building trust with your cat is crucial to prevent meowing when you pick them up and make handling more comfortable. Here are some ways to build trust with your cat:

  • Spend quality time: Spend quality time with your cat, play with them, and groom them to deepen your bond.
  • Respect their space: Respect your cat’s personal space and avoid forcing them into situations that make them uncomfortable.
  • Positive reinforcement: Use positive reinforcement techniques, such as treats and toys, to reward your cat for good behavior and build trust.
  • Be patient: Building trust takes time, so be patient and consistent with your handling techniques.

Excessive meowing when picking up your cat can be avoided by understanding what cats love, proper handling techniques, calming them during handling, and building trust. By ensuring a positive experience, handling your cat will become more comfortable, leading to a deeper bond between you and your pet.

Frequently Asked Questions On Why Does My Cat Meow When I Pick Her Up?

Why Do Cats Meow When I Pick Them Up?

Cats meow to communicate with their owners, and picking them up can trigger a response.

Is It Normal For Cats To Meow Excessively When Picked Up?

No, excessive meowing can be a sign of pain or discomfort. It’s best to consult with a veterinarian.

Will My Cat Scratch Me If I Pick Her Up?

There’s a chance your cat may scratch if they feel scared or uncomfortable. Approach slowly and gently.

Is There A Proper Way To Pick Up A Cat?

Yes, support their body and lift with your legs. Avoid squeezing or holding too tight.

How Can I Train My Cat To Enjoy Being Picked Up?

Start by offering treats and positive reinforcement. Gradually lift them for short periods and reward calm behavior.


From the feline perspective, meowing can mean different things such as affection, attention, and anxiety. If your cat meows when you pick her up, she may be feeling insecure or threatened, and her meowing is a way to communicate her discomfort.

It’s essential to understand your cat’s body language and vocal cues to interpret her meows correctly. By recognizing and addressing her feelings, you can improve your bond with your cat, making her feel comfortable and loved. And while excessive meowing may be a sign of underlying health issues, most cats meow to communicate with their humans, which is entirely normal behavior.

Therefore, it’s critical to respond kindly and appropriately to your cat’s meowing to build a strong relationship with your furry friend. Learning to communicate with your cat more effectively not only enriches their lives but strengthens your special bond for years to come.

About Author (Pauline G. Carter)

Pauline G. Carter

Pauline G. Carter is a well-known pet blogger who has written about the world of pets for several years. She is passionate about pets, from cats and dogs to birds, reptiles, and poultry. Her blog, which is updated regularly, is filled with articles and guides on pet care, nutrition, and training. She also shares her experiences and observations on pet ownership, making her blog relatable and informative for pet lovers. She is a true animal advocate and is dedicated to promoting responsible pet ownership. Let’s Go …

Scroll to Top