You should try a different approach to lifting your cat. In my experience some cats simply will not allow themselves to be lifted, but a large number just has issues with how they are lifted.
I would try to, instead of lifting the cat, providing a lift for the cat. What I mean by that is instead of grabbing the cat around the midsection and lifting you put one hand under the back paws of the cat, while at the same time putting the other hand under the front paws, or if the cat feels unsteady standing like that: around the front legs (index finger in front of legs, thumb just barely supporting, and other fingers holding the chest).
What this does is give control of the lift to your cat, if the cat wants to get away the back legs are fully free for use. It also keeps the chest of the cat facing downwards and protected.
A cat that is being lifted by the former method would have to grab and wiggle out of the grip to get away, while in the latter method they simply have to push with the back legs and slide out of your grip (which is also a very safe way to put them down again without an oddly angled impact upon landing).