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Do Maine Coons Like To Be Picked Up?

It has to be said, Maine Coons love people. On the whole, they are an extremely sociable breed. Fortunately, Maine Coons who do not enjoy human interaction are few and far between. Though they seek our company and attention, can we go as far as to say Maine Coons like to be picked up?

Under normal circumstances, Maine Coons are happy to be picked up and held. As with many cats, they’re not so keen on being picked up by people they don’t know and trust. There are of course circumstances under which all Maine Coons will resist a cuddle, regardless of temperament!

A tortoiseshell Maine Coon in her owner's arms.

Bear in mind that many Maine Coons are compliant when it comes to being picked up and held, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they like it. Some Maine Coons don’t really like being picked up but do tolerate it. No one can truly know what goes through a cat’s mind as it is elevated into the air.

When you think about it, being picked up is not a normal interaction for an adult cat. As small kittens, they are occasionally lifted by their mother but this generally stops once they start moving by themselves.

It follows that how well a Maine Coon tolerates being picked up is largely dependent on it being lifted and held by humans from a very young age.

Simply put, Maine Coon kittens that are handled daily by humans will most likely be easier to pick up than those who haven’t been socialized in this way.

How To Get a Maine Coon To Like Being Picked Up

If you want a Maine Coon to tolerate being picked up, it needs to be well-socialized as a kitten. Kittens who are handled gently every day from a few weeks of age develop trust in people and grow into confident adults.

Maine Coons are more accepting of being picked up if they have been raised in a loving and sociable environment.

When you first get a Maine Coon, don’t keep picking it up, especially if it clearly doesn’t want you to. Instead, build a bond by being the person who feeds it regularly, plays with it, and hangs out with it as much as possible.

Once you feel your bond has strengthened, try gently picking up your cat but stay low to the ground. By remaining low, you avoid your cat jumping from a height and possibly injuring itself.

Read your cat’s body language before trying to pick it up. If its ears are back, its tail is swishing or it looks defensive, abort the mission for another time.

At the first sign of a struggle, place your cat back down. This gives it the feeling of always being in control of the situation.

Once it fully trusts you, your Maine Coon should allow you to pick it up and it might even stay in your arms for a cuddle. Be prepared for it to take a while to get to this stage.

Also, be prepared for a Maine Coon to never really like the experience of being picked up. There are times when you’ll simply have to pick your cat up, no matter what and these include:

  • For a trip to the vet
  • To move it out of the way of an immediate danger
  • If it is injured or unwell
  • To weigh them as a health check
  • To administer medication
A red smoke Maine Coon having a cuddle with his owner.
Our Maine Coon Fred

How To Correctly Pick Up a Maine Coon

Maine Coons are typically large cats, weighing anything from 11 to 30 pounds (and sometimes more!) Large cats must be picked up correctly to avoid injuring them.

Always use both hands so as to support a Maine Coon along the length of its body and evenly distribute its weight.

This is the best technique to follow when picking up a Maine Coon:

  • Crouch down next to your cat
  • Place one arm under its chest, close to its front legs
  • Use the other arm to support their rear end
  • Lift the cat smoothly and bring it tight to your chest. Cats feel more supported this way.
  • Fully cradle its rear – its back feet can sit on your lower arm
  • Allow your cat to rest its front paws across your other arm as your hand rests around its ribs
  • Carefully stand – this will be a good test of your quad strength!
  • Be aware that your cat may try to jump free and lower it to the ground to prevent injury if it struggles
  • If your cat prefers, let it rest its front paws over your shoulder as you support all of its weight with both arms
Starting to pick up a Maine Coon.
Lifting a Maine Coon.
A Maine Coon being held.

How NOT to pick up a Maine Coon

These are ways in which you should never pick up a Maine Coon:

  • With only one arm or hand as this will feel insecure and uncomfortable, and could strain your cat’s muscles.
  • With both of your hands under its armpits, allowing its legs to swing freely – this can strain your cat’s chest and abdomen muscles and also it will not feel secure and will scrabble its back legs to try and find purchase. You could end up severely scratched in the process.
  • When it isn’t in the mood. You’ll be able to tell because it will try to get away.
  • By the scruff of its neck because this can cause pain and injury.

When NOT to pick up a Maine Coon

Don’t pick up a Maine Coon if it is angry: hissing, lashing out, is trying to escape unless it is in immediate danger if you don’t do so.

Resist picking up a Maine Coon if it cries in pain. It may be injured and you could do further damage. In this instance, fetch a cat carrier and gently maneuver your cat in causing the least amount of trauma possible. Then head straight off to the vet.

Do Maine Coons Like To Be Held?

Though they might not enjoy being picked up, many Maine Coons are happy to be held and cuddled. This generally happens when you’re seated and they have chosen to come to you.

If your Maine Coon doesn’t like being held, it will be more than happy to accept other forms of affection from you such as petting, grooming, or playing.

People tend to think breeds such as Ragdolls are more affectionate, but a well-socialized Maine Coon can be just as loving and will not mind being picked up, held, or cuddled.

A Maine Coon that is wary of being picked up is unlikely to react aggressively – it will just move away as you attempt to lift it.

If you want a Maine Coon to tolerate being held, you must ensure it trusts you before you attempt to pick it up.

Maine Coons are affectionate cats and love to cuddle once they are confident they can trust you. Make sure you earn the right first, or they may strongly object to being picked up and held.

Larger Maine Coons may resist being picked up because it feels uncomfortable to them, especially if it’s a child trying to do the lifting. Always make sure that your cat feels well-supported when it’s lifted.

A red smoke Maine Coon in his owner's arms.

When Do Maine Coons Not Like To Be Held?

There are many reasons why Maine Coons might resist being held, including;

  • When they don’t know you enough to trust you
  • If they are scared of people because of a lack of socialization
  • When they have never been picked up before and it frightens them
  • If they’ve had a bad experience of being picked up in the past
  • When they are too busy playing or exploring
  • When they are feeling unwell
  • If they have an injury
  • When they just don’t like to be picked up
  • When they are tired and just want to sleep without being disturbed
  • When they are simply not in the mood

How To Train a Maine Coon To Like Being Held

If a Maine Coon kitten is picked up and cuddled every day from the age of 2 weeks, it is much more likely to grow into an adult Maine Coon that is comfortable with being picked up and held.

As most Maine Coons don’t leave their mothers until they are 13 to 16 weeks old, it is essential that their breeder follows a good socialization process. A good breeder is aware of this and you should check that they do it.

Continue this socialization process once your Maine Coon lives with you. Remember, kittens can be live wires and may wriggle when you try to lift them. If you wear them out with a good play session, you’ll probably find them more receptive to a cuddle.

How Do Maine Coons Feel When They Get Picked Up?

Being picked up can make a Maine Coon feel out of control. When it’s lifted up, you are essentially removing its freedom and ability to go where it wants to.

It would be fair to say that picking a Maine Coon up against its will, is likely to lead to it feeling stressed and scared. By choice, cats like to be free with four paws firmly planted on the ground.

A cream Maine Coon being held.

Is It Cruel To Pick Up Maine Coons?

It is not cruel to pick up a Maine Coon unless you force it to be carried and cause it stress and discomfort. It’s not fair to hold a cat in your arms against its will. It could hurt itself (and you) if it panics and jumps free.

Do Maine Coons Like To Be Carried Like Babies?

As a rule, Maine Coons do not like to be held upside down like babies. They feel out of control and can’t jump free from such a position.

Cats are at their most vulnerable when their bellies are exposed and so probably won’t relax in this position and may even flail their paws and claws in an attempt to turn back over and escape.

Your Maine Coon might accept being held belly up if it has been carried like this from a young age. It is OK to cradle a Maine Coon like a baby as long as its whole back is well-supported and it has no spinal injuries.

Do Maine Coons like to be held?

Like is a strong word, but the majority of Maine Coon cats will allow you to hold them. This breed likes affection and does develop a strong bond with its humans.

A Maine Coon is far more receptive to being held by someone it knows and trusts. If your Maine Coon doesn’t like you holding it at first, give it time to get to know you and this should change.

How do Maine Coons like to be held?

Maine Coons like to be held in a way that allows them to get free as soon as they’ve had enough. They are large cats and are more chilled out when they are held in a comfortable and secure position, close to your body.

The more points of its body that are touching yours, the safer a cat will feel in your arms and the more it is likely to stay.

The majority of Maine Coons relax more if they are held on your lap rather than in your arms. The most important thing is to keep an eye on your cat’s body language so you don’t hold it against its will and let it go as soon as it’s obvious it’s had enough.

Do Maine Coon Cats Always Like To Cuddle?

Maine Coon cats often like a cuddle but not all the time. Sometimes, a cat simply wants to be left alone to relax and sleep.

When a Maine Coon wants to cuddle, it will come to you and will stay until it’s had enough. As long as you respect this, a cat will return for cuddles more often.

If you decide you want to cuddle your Maine Coon, don’t be offended if it rejects your advances!

Do Maine Coons typically like being picked up, held, or hugged?

There is no such thing as a typical Maine Coon – each one is unique with its own personality. The majority of Maine Coons will allow you to pick them up without any adverse reaction.

However, it’s impossible to say if a Maine Coons actually likes being picked up and held for a cuddle or otherwise. We assume they like it because they allow us to but we can never truly know. Always bear this in mind when you pick up a Maine Coon.

A Maine Coon having a cuddle.

Are Maine Coon Cats Lap Cats?

There is no right answer to this question. Some Maine Coons like to sit on their humans’ laps and some just don’t.

You might find a tired Maine Coon kitten will like a cuddle on your lap after a long day of playing and adventuring. Then as it matures this might happen less often and even stop completely.

You may also find that the older your Maine Coon gets the more likely it is to take a seat on your lap.

You can’t force a Maine Coon to become a lap cat but you can encourage it by sitting nearby and enticing it to you with a treat or a toy.

Why Is My Maine Coon Not Affectionate?

Not all Maine Coons are as openly affectionate as others and all cats have different ways of displaying their feelings.

If a Maine Coon is not cuddly it may show its love in many other ways, for example by:

  • Purring
  • Bunting
  • Rolling on their backs
  • Sleeping close to you
  • Kneading your lap
  • Scratching your chair or the carpet at your feet
  • Sleeping on or near you
  • Bringing you a toy
  • Looking at you with wide-open eyes
  • Meowing at you
  • Holding their tail straight up with the tip leaning over when they see you
  • Licking and biting you gently
  • Vibrating its tail excitedly when it sees you

If your Maine Coon does not display any of these signs of affection, there’s a strong chance it was not well-socialized as a kitten.

You can help your Maine Coon to become more affectionate by allowing it space and time to get used to you.

Here are 7 ways to earn the trust and affection of a Maine Coon:

  • Give it its own safe space (with a bed, toys, food, water, and a litter tray) to retreat to
  • Be very patient
  • Talk to your cat as much as possible in a calm, quiet voice
  • Let your Maine Coon choose when to come near you in its own time
  • Gradually introduce petting but note areas where it doesn’t like being touched
  • Use treats to reinforce any positive reactions
  • Use toys to encourage play

It may take several weeks for your Maine Coon to begin to show signs of affection but it should happen in time.

Do Maine Coons Have a Favorite Person?

Although Maine Coons do not choose a favorite person they will gravitate to the person who is around the most, feeds them the most, and plays with them the most.

So you can make sure you are your Maine Coons favorite person by being the one who does the most for them.

When two people are the main carers of a Maine Coon, it will quite likely treat both like its favorite person.

Occasionally, a Maine Coon will become more attached to one person in a household and may even seem obsessed with them. They might meow for them if they leave the house or follow them everywhere.

This may seem like devotion but it can be distressing for a cat. One of our Maine Coons seems to favor my husband and pines when he leaves the house. I distract her with a toy and make a fuss of her and she soon snaps out of it.

How To Bond With a Maine Coon

There are many ways to build a bond with a Maine Coon including these:

  • Playing with it
  • Petting it
  • Grooming its coat
  • Feeding it regulalrly
  • Generally spending lots of time with it

Playing with a Maine Coon is the most rewarding way to bond with it. You’ll also be helping to keep your cat fit and will stop it from becoming bored and lethargic.

Gentle petting helps to build trust between you and your cat. Maine Coons love human interaction and the more you stroke its beautiful coat the more it will grow to trust you.

Grooming a Maine Coon every day has two purposes: it keeps its coat tangle-free and it helps to build trust.

One way to a Maine Coons heart is through its stomach. By being the main meal provider your cat will naturally bond with you. Simple!

Finally, Maine Coons tend to bond with the person who pays them the most attention so the more you’re at home, the stronger your bond will become.

If you are well-bonded with a Maine Coon it is far easier to pick it up if ever you need to because it will have developed a strong trust in you.

Our late Maine Coon Harry being held by his dad.
Matt with our Maine Coon, Harry

Do Maine Coons Like To Be Picked Up? Conclusion

Maine Coon cats like many things: playing, cuddling, and being petted. We know this because they participate in these activities freely.

However, when we bend down and pick a Maine Coon up, we can’t be sure if it really likes it. We shouldn’t assume that because it lets us it wants to be held in our arms.

Many Maine Coon will tolerate being picked up but could well be stressed by the whole experience.

So be aware of your cat’s reaction to being picked up, limit picking it up to when it’s necessary, and if you want to cuddle it sit down and let it come to you when it’s happy to.

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