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Why Does My Cat Squeak or Make Noise When I Pick Up?

Cats are adorable yet can be really goofy. It sometimes seems difficult to predict their behavior. As pet owners, you not only care for them but need to handle them carefully. Many cats do not find touching pleasant.

Also, lifting them in the right way is necessary. Sometimes they may feel irritated or get hurt when picked up incorrectly. Some even may make a specific sound.

If that worries you, here’s our discussion on why a cat makes a squeaky sound when being picked up.

Why does my cat squeak or make noise when I pick up?

Cats may make a squeaking sound when picked up because they want attention or feel surprised. There are a few other reasons as well. It may happen when they are delighted. In addition, when lifted, they may make such noise because of irritation. It also occurs when a kitten’s vocal is developing. 

Cats make squeaky noises for various reasons. We tried to elaborate on each of the causes of why cats squeak when picked up.

Feel happy:

When you lift your cat, it may make a squeaky sound because they feel happy. Perhaps, they have missed your presence or enjoyed your company.

Nevertheless, not all cats share the same trait. A lot of them would exhibit such behavior, while many would not.

Don’t feel happy:

Your cat may make this specific sound because it may feel the opposite of feeling joyful. They may not enjoy it and feel irritated sometimes.

No matter how much they love your affection, there are times they want their privacy. They either are sleepy or not into snuggling. Therefore when picked up, they may give a vocal response. 

Picked up incorrectly:

It may sometimes happen that you picked up your cat incorrectly. It could inflict pain or discomfort. Hence, they will give you feedback with the squeaky sound. Unfortunately, many of us are not aware of picking up a cat appropriately. 

Kitten developing vocals: 

When a kitten develops its vocal, it may produce random squeaky noises. It could happen once in a while. It is, however, a natural process and does not apply to all kittens.

Once they become adults, they may overcome the behavior and evolve their natural meowing sound.

Feel threatened:

Cats tend to feel threatened by other animals, cats, or specific locations. For instance, when you carry them passing by some other animals that they feel intimidated, they may make an unusual noise.

Also, if a spot is terrifying to them, like the drop of a staircase, they may feel frightened and make such noises.

Is it normal for a cat to squeak when picking them up?

Yes, it is normal for a cat to make a squeaky sound when lifted. It usually starts at the early kitten stage for some, when developing their vocals. A kitten under eight months old, for example, may produce such a sound when its voice is evolving.

However, if an older cat does that, it happens due to different causes. Once again, we may not notice, but it is common among cats. Many may get shocked to hear their cat squeaking.

The various reasons your cat may squeak when lifted are, they may want your attention, feel surprised, or feel happy or out of irritation.

Remember, not all cats are the same. Some enjoy affection, while some want to be left alone. Read their behavior well to understand them better.

Nevertheless, if you think the noise they make occurred suddenly without any reason or sounds unusual, please consult a vet for clarification.

Does it hurt my cat when I pick her up?

Cats would not feel hurt if you lift them in the proper ways. If you are indifferent or accidentally harm him when picked up, you may create discomfort or pain. 

One way you should never lift your cat is by pulling it on the back of its neck, also known as scruffing. When you lift a cat in such ways, it is unnecessary and could possibly be painful for the cat. 

Therefore, never pick a cat by the neck or by the front legs. It not only irritates but may even cause injury. 

Hence, to properly lift a cat, you should first place one hand and the part of your arm under the cat’s front legs. The other arm should be underneath its hind legs.

It needs to feel supported, especially under her rear. Keep it close to your body. Also, when you are carrying, monitor the body language. 

How can you prevent your cat from squeaking when you pick it up?

If you are concerned that your cat is squeaking and irritated when picked up, we suggest you go through these points. Here we have listed how you can prevent your cat from squeaking when lifted. 

Train them:

If your cat makes the unusual squeaky noise when you lift it, it is perhaps annoyed or does not enjoy being touched. 

In such cases, to make your cat feel comfortable, you can adopt two ways.

Firstly, you may want to leave it on its own and accept the fact. Otherwise, train your cat to embrace such behavior. 

You can again use cat treats when teaching. After you pick it, reward it with a treat. They will get used to it and may become successfully trained.

Be patient:

You can hardly change things here. You must be patient in such a scenario. Your kitten is going through a growth phase that is normal to their growth. 

The cat will start meowing once it evolves its vocal range. It is when the cat may no more make such sounds. 

Pick up correctly: 

It is your turn to learn. If your cat produces squeaky noise due to picking it in the wrong ways, you may adjust to the proper strategies. Again, make sure the cat is correctly supported when you carry it.

Hold the cat with one arm on the upper part and use another to assist the rear. Make it feel secure and warm by keeping it close to your chest. 

How can you condition your cat to be picked up?

There are ways you can condition your cat to be picked up. Here we have jotted down some ideas for you. 

Through Positive Reinforcement: 

Initiate positive reinforcement by giving rewards to the cats. Arrange proper training if you think your cat makes squeaky noise and feels annoyed when picked up.  

For training, you can use a verbal cue like ‘hold‘. Give the cue first. Then touch your cat’s side gently. Do not lift it yet. As it gets comfortable with the touch, reward it with a treat. Afterward, gently pick it on your arms. Make sure you hold it securely. Pet it or give treats after each hold.

Learn what your cats adore: 

How cats prefer to be held, different cats may accept different gestures. Some may feel happy when lifted from underneath held in the cradle position. Others may favor having their chest held against yours. 

Some may not appreciate it when you touch them. Hence, learn what your cat desires by closely scrutinizing behaviors.  

Watch your approach: 

It could be sensitive to cats, how and where one picks and carries them. Cats, for instance, may panic passing by something that they do not like or are feel threatened by. 

Therefore, consider how and where you are carrying it besides picking it up appropriately. Again, make it feel secure by holding it against your chest. Use both your arms to support both the upper and lower part of the cat. 

Why should you let a cat sniff you before you pick it up?

It is one of the essential gestures if you want a cat to feel comfortable around you. We know cats are territorial. They enjoy their privacy.

In addition, they rely heavily on their sense of smell. It helps them determine whether an approaching person or animal is friendly, familiar, or a potential threat. 

Even if you are close, let it sniff you or the items you want it to have. If you don’t allow your cat to do a little scent investigation, it may feel uncomfortable and may not accept the behavior. 

Therefore, let the cat approach you first, rather than you pick it up suddenly. Again, avoid direct eye contact. It may look like a provocation.

Keep in mind being picked up by humans is not a natural behavior to the cats. So whenever you are trying to lift it, let it sniff you first to know you better. 

Final Thoughts

A lot of cats make squeaky sounds due to various reasons. They may feel elated or feel annoyed, or you may have picked it up wrongly, or they are developing vocals as a kitten. However, do not become too concerned about it. A few simple strategies could help your cats overcome if it is a problem.