Do Bengal Cats Like to Be Picked Up?

When it comes to being picked up, Bengals like all domestic cats have their own opinions about it. Because they are part of the family and they are so beautiful of course you’re going to want to pick them up. However, there are times when this simply might not be the thing you should be doing. In this article we will cover the following:

  • How to Pick Your Bengal Up
  • Reasons Why Your Bengal May Not Want to Be Picked Up
  • Other Ways They Show Their Affection

How to Pick Your Bengal Up

Believe it or not, there are ways you should and shouldn’t try and pick up your Bengal. Bengals like all cats are independent creatures and have their own moods and it’s important that you learn these moods especially when it comes to picking them up. If you decide to pick your Bengal up when they aren’t in the mood for it, you could end up with a nasty bite or scratch. So, always make sure that you know your Bengal well before deciding to pick them up.

No doubt we all probably think that picking up our cats should be easy enough, however, what a lot of us don’t realize is that there is actually a right way of doing it. It’s important that pet parents are aware of this because you want to make sure that your Bengal is comfortable and feels safe when you pick them up. Some cats, including Bengals, may need a more delicate approach than others and that’s why it’s important that you know how to pick them up because Bengals can be very emotionally sensitive. Here are some pointers on how to pick up your Bengal correctly:

Put Them at Ease

If you are thinking about picking up your Bengal, you need to approach them in a way that lets them know you’re coming. This means you should talk to them softly, let them see you, or another way to let them know you’re there.

  • If you try to pick your Bengal up from behind before letting them know you’re coming, more than likely you’ll scare them and they may feel panicked and unsafe.
  • Some cat experts says it’s often best to approach any cat from the left or the right side because if you come at your Bengal straight on this might seem like a threat.
  • Never try to pick up a cat that you don’t know.

Introduce Yourself

Even if you own your Bengal, sometimes it will take time for them to warm up to you. Once your Bengal knows that you are approaching, you need to be as friendly and loving as you possibly can. This helps prepare your Bengal to be held by you. Since most cats like to introduce themselves to other cats by nuzzling their faces, this is something you should also do. Make sure to focus on petting their cheeks, forehead, and behind their ears very gently.

  • This gentle petting is something that will help your Bengal feel loved and safe and will help them feel better about being picked up.
  • Should your cat be a little bit wound up, this gentle petting will also help to calm them down. It make take a little time to make them feel at ease, so just have patience.

Make Sure They Want to Be Picked Up

Most cats, especially Bengals are able to give you a very definite sign they don’t want to be picked up at all. Even though you can calm them down by gently petting their heads, you really shouldn’t try to pick them up if they seem irritated or just not in the mood to be handled by you. If they run away or swat at you that’s a clear sign you might want to forget about picking them up.

  • If you have children, it is especially important to teach them the warning signs that their Bengal doesn’t want to be picked up. You definitely don’t want them to get scratched by their cat who doesn’t want to be held whenever your child wants to hold them.

Hold Them Correctly

If you’re sure that your Bengal is in the mood to be picked up, you need to know how to hold them correctly. The best way to do this is to put one hand under their body behind their front legs. Then gently move your hand under their body, just below their front legs. This will give the support you need when you start to pick them up. Once you’ve done this, use your other hand right after to give them more security.

  • It doesn’t matter what hand you start with to use as support below their front legs or under their hindquarters, it’s whatever is more comfortable for you.
  • Some people will tuck their cats front legs together and then put their hand under the two legs instead of below their legs.
  • Once you have you first hand in place gently put your other hand under their back legs to give them plenty of support. Think of it as cradling your cat. After you’ve done this is when you can actually get ready to pick up your Bengal.

Gently Lift Your Bengal

Once you have a good hold of them in your hands you can gently lift them up towards your chest. It’s important to try to make contact with the rest of your body as soon as you lift them up. This will help your Bengal feel a lot more secure during the process.

Always Hold Them Against Your Chest

Make sure that you always hold them against your chest while they are in your arms.

  • Generally, your Bengal’s posture should be pretty straight instead of letting them sag against your chest because this can be uncomfortable to them and they might try to squirm out of your arms.
  • Always pick up your cat with their head above their body. Never pick them up upside down.
  • Of course, depending on the personality of your cat, you may end up holding them differently, some even don’t mind being cradled like a baby.

Putting Your Bengal Back Down

You need to know when your Bengal wants to be put down. If they start shifting around, moving, or meowing a lot, then more than likely they are telling you that it’s time to put them back down. Never hold your Bengal against their will because this will make them not want to be held, because they feel threatened.

When you know they are ready to be put down, gently put them down on the floor or a piece of furniture. Whatever you do, don’t just throw them down the minute you think they’re uncomfortable. This could make them lose their balance and land awkwardly. Just gently lower them until all four of their paws are on the ground and then let them go.

Supervise Your Child

If you have children, especially younger ones, never allow them to pick your Bengal up without supervision. Sure, they love to pick up cats and that’s great, however, you really need to be there to make sure they do it properly so both your child and your Bengal don’t get hurt. Once they have them in their arms always make sure that you keep an eye on both of them so that you can tell your child when your Bengal wants to be let go.

Reasons Why Your Bengal May Not Want to Be Picked Up

Every cat, including Bengals, are different. Each have their own unique personalities and there are just some cats that just simply don’t like being held. However, there are a few explanations why some Bengals may not like to be picked up.

Cats Do Believe in Keeping to Themselves

There are just some cats and that includes Bengals that don’t like to get all touchy the way humans prefer. Believe it or not, all cats can be very formal creatures and often they prefer to make the first gesture and only in their own good time. This means you don’t just want to swoop down and grab your Bengal whenever you feel like it. After all, how would you like it if another person did that to you?

Some Spook Easier Than Others

Even if your Bengal is part of the family, they still might be hesitant about being picked up. It’s just that some of them might spook easier than other cats. This is why you need to be especially understanding and gentle with them. Some Bengals may never like to be picked up and this is something you may need to accept. However, this doesn’t mean they won’t sit beside you for an affectionate scratch between their ears or just sit with them in loving silence.

May Not Have Been Socialized Properly

If your Bengal was not brought into your home as a kitten, one of the problems could be that they were not properly socialized as a kitten. If that’s the case, picking them up might be a difficult thing to get them use to. It’s important that kittens are handled by humans at a very early age in order for them to have complete trust in them.

May Have Had a Bad Human Experience

Again, if you did not get your Bengal as a kitten, you have no idea what their life was like before coming to your home. Prior to knowing you, they may have had a bad experience with a human, they could have been picked up incorrectly and hurt or they could have been dropped. These things are hard for them to forget. The key here is patience. Remember, all animals including cats will carry their trauma around with them the same way we do. You just need to take baby steps with them if you suspect they’ve suffered some sort of trauma in their past.

Other Ways They Show Their Affection

If your Bengal is one that simply does not like to be picked up and held, it might be something that you will have to accept. But don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that they don’t love you. It could just be one of their quirks that is part of who they are.

If you’d like to reward them for their good behavior to try to encourage them to show affection more often, we suggest that you give them treats when they act this way.

Here’s a little video showing a Bengal lovingly kneading their pet parent.

Even though your Bengal may not like being picked up they have other ways of showing you how much they care about you. For instance, if you are gone all day at work, does your Bengal greet you when you get home? More than likely they do.

They like to rub against their pet parents legs, bump their heads against you, lick you, and follow you everywhere you go. Those are some wonderful ways of showing their affection for you. They also love to be quite vocal when trying to get your attention, it’s their way of saying “I love you and I’m so glad you’re home!”

Bengals also show their love through play and getting you to interact with them. One of their favorite ways of expressing their love is through play. So, take heart in that and stop for a few moments and share in that expression of love.

Another way they will express their affection is through “kneading”. If they jump up on you and start kneading away, be happy knowing that this is their way of letting you know they are truly content with their life and having you in their life.

Let’s not forget purring. Even though purring can mean a lot of things, one thing for sure is that if your Bengal is sitting next to you and purring extremely loud, you can be pretty certain that they are letting you know just how content they are with life in general and you, their pet parent.

So, we hope that helps you better understand whether or not Bengals like to be picked up. Let us know what you think by leaving your comment below.