Persian Cats: To Hold or Not to Hold? That is the Question

Do Persian Cats Like to be Held?

Some breeds of cats certainly deserve their reputation of being more aloof or at least not needing as much human contact as other breeds.

But much of this is also personality-dependent – two cats of the same breed can have wildly different temperaments!

Still, if you’re looking for a cuddly cat, your best bet is to start with the foundation of a cuddly breed.

Where do Persian cats fall on that spectrum? Do Persian cats like to be held? Are Persian cats lap cats?

Short answer: Persian cats aren’t known as cushions with legs for anything! This breed of cat, while not being as enamored with being held as cats like ragdolls, still enjoys being held, cuddled, and their time with their human.

They are certainly one of the cuddlier breeds of cats which is why they are so popular.

Cuddles for the Tightly Bonded Owner

Persian cats are also known to be shy and aloof, particularly towards strangers, so it may surprise some people to know just how affectionate this breed is.

Persian cats may be shy around strangers, but they bond strongly with their family and a few other people, and often bond extremely strongly with one person in the family.

For people who are bonded to their cat, getting regular snuggles, lap time, and carrying the cat around is a normal part of life.

Persian cats can even be trained to use cat backpacks so that they can go on adventures with you!

If you’re not one of the Persian cats chosen, you can still become part of that circle. Persians like people as a rule and while they won’t immediately fall in love with everyone they meet, it’s not terribly difficult to get on one’s good side.

Persian cats like to be fed on their usual schedule, play gentle games, and to be able to hang out with people whenever they feel like it.

Spending time with a Persian is the best way to make them feel safe around you so that you’ll get those cuddles.

Holding a Persian Cat Safely

Although Persian cats enjoy being held, there are still right ways and wrong ways to go about doing it.

Cats that enjoy being picked up often enjoy the combination of cuddles and the ability to be higher up which lets them see more.

Even the most laid-back cat will prefer being picked up the right way:

  • Approach from the side and make sure the cat knows you are there
  • Scratch your cat behind their ears and chin to see how they are feeling
  • Use both hands – one just below the front legs and one just under the back legs

Do Persian Cats Like to be Held?

  • Pick up your cat and hold it to your chest with as much contact as possible to make your cat feel safe
  • Don’t rock your cat like you would a baby – most cats prefer to be upright!
  • As soon as your cat starts to show signs of wanting down (wriggling, kicking, looking around), let them down

Don’t try to hold your cat if it is anxious, trying to run away, scratching or sleeping, or eating.

Even the most loving cat has times when they really don’t want to be picked up or handled by people.

How Do Persian Cats Show Affection?

While cats allegedly aren’t very affectionate, most cat owners know this to be bunk. And Persian cats are very affectionate!

But if you don’t know much about cats, you may miss these signs that your cat is trying to cuddle. Persian cats show their affection by:

  • Purring. Cats that are purring are usually in a good mood
  • Kneading
  • Tail tip twitching. If a cat is slowly twitching the tip of its tail, they are content
  • Head butting and cheek rubbing. Cats like to rub their cheeks and foreheads on things (and people) they like to get their scent on them.
  • Chatting at you.
  • Hanging out with you.
  • Eye contact and slow blinks (sometimes while purring!)
  • Grooming you. (My cats don’t usually groom me, but occasionally the male cat grooms the three-year-old which is pretty funny)

Since Persian cats are so laid back and friendly anyway, it usually doesn’t take long to see these behaviors.


Persian cats are one of the most popular cats in the United States and it’s largely because of their affectionate nature.

This is definitely a cat that will enjoy being petted, picked up, cuddled, and otherwise handled, which makes it a great family pet and a great pet for people who want a cat that is going to hang out with them.

But it does take a bit for even the most lovey cat to get used to someone, so be patient, stick to regular schedules, and you’ll have your Persian cat draped over you in no time at all!

Does your Persian cat like to be picked up? How long before they want down again?