Does Your Cat Like to Ride on Your Shoulders? Olga’s Reluctance

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Hi, I’m Christopher! Read my introduction to learn more about me and my silly Russian Blue cat, Olga.

Carrying your cat is challenging when they dislike being held or picked up, and when I adopted a Russian Blue kitten, she depleted my blood supply for a few months before allowing me to hold her on my shoulder. Sometimes, I couldn’t pick her up because, like a hedgehog, she would curl into a ball and attack my hands with claws and teeth.

Olga’s Tolerance of Me

I’m glad she doesn’t have quills, but that’s the only characteristic that distinguished Olga from Spiny Norman when she was young. I can carry her on my shoulder now, but I don’t attempt to when her eyes are dilated and she looks psychotic. If she’s energized and ready to play or running scared from an eventual trip to the vet, she’ll attack if I try to pick her up.

Although I sometimes make her sound like a maniac, she’s relatively well-behaved on shoulder trips if she’s calm. She rests her front legs on my right shoulder while I support her hind legs with my arm, but she doesn’t lay down across my soldiers like my Siamese cat. I encouraged Olga to try, but she responded by clawing my neck.

Please dim the lights. I’m trying to nap.

Shoulder Rides With My Siamese

Fripp the Siamese was more like a sentient stuffed animal than a feline; as soon as I picked him up, he purred, which was nice since it silenced his yowling. Traveling on my back kept him quiet and must have relaxed him since he fell asleep sometimes. He was an agile cat who rarely lost balance or scratched my shoulders when I walked around.

Olga doesn’t struggle to maintain balance, but her tolerance for shoulder trips and being held is much lower. She isn’t as happy when traveling on my shoulder unless it’s close to dinner time. I try not to feed her until I’m finished working, but she starts begging a few hours early, and if I look at her instead of ignoring her, she’ll grunt and try to jump in my lap.

Did I hear you say it's close to dinner time?
Did I hear you say it’s close to dinner time?

Shoulder Rides to the Kitchen

When she’s hungry, she tries to convince me to feed her early by rubbing her head under my chin and licking me, which is unusual since she’s generally not an overly affectionate cat. If I give in and carry her into the kitchen for dinner, she purrs the whole time, and it’s the only time she seems content on my shoulder.

However, I’m amazed at how much she’s matured and grown accustomed to being held. As a kitten and young adult, she was always in attack mode when I tried to pick her up, and I worried that I would need a butterfly net to capture her when she had to visit the veterinarian. She eventually calmed down, and I didn’t need to buy hydrogen peroxide as often to treat my wounds.

Some cats fall in love with you quickly, and others, like Olga, prefer to bite and scratch you for a few months or years before showing affection. Caring for a stubborn cat isn’t for everyone, but it’s not difficult if you’re patient and have a sense of humor.


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