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Co-authored by: Brian Bourquin, DVM Veterinarian This article was co-authored by Brian Bourquin, DVM. Brian Bourquin, better known as “Dr. B” to his clients, is a Veterinarian and the Owner of Boston Veterinary Clinic, a pet health care and veterinary clinic with three locations, South End/Bay Village, the Seaport, and Brookline, Massachusetts. Boston Veterinary Clinic specializes in primary veterinary care, including wellness and preventative care, sick and emergency care, soft-tissue surgery, dentistry. The clinic also provides specialty services in behavior, nutrition, and alternative pain management therapies using acupuncture, and therapeutic laser treatments. Boston Veterinary Clinic is an AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association) accredited hospital and Boston’s first Fear Free Certified Clinic. Brian has over 19 years of veterinary experience and earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University. This article has been viewed 225,818 times. 34 votes – 78% Co-authors: 30 Updated: April 1, 2022 Views: 225,818Article SummaryX
To hold a cat, crouch down to its level and put your dominant hand under its ribcage. Use your other hand to support the cat’s bottom and back legs, and pick up the cat so your non-dominant hand becomes a support for it to sit on. Then, make the cat feel more secure by hugging it to your chest. In an emergency, pick up a cat by grabbing the scruff, or extra skin, on the back of its neck while supporting its bottom with your other hand. To learn more from our reviewer about holding cats, including how to know when to pick it up, keep reading!
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Use Positive Reinforcement
Getting your cat used to being picked up and held is possible, be patient with them and use positive reinforcement to encourage and reward them throughout the process.
The first few times you pick up your cat it is better if you stand still so they can get used to being off the ground.
Once your cat is comfortable with this you may be able to walk around while holding them.
Many cats will get stressed if you walk around while holding them, so if you need to transport your cat in a safe way take a look at a better-suited solution such as a cat backpack or pet carrier.
Restraining A Cat
Most pet cats will be used to some handling and so taking them to the vets and being examined should not be too much of a problem. However there are some situations where it will be necessary to restrain a cat so that they are unable to move and lash out.
At the vets
Some cats simply never learn to like being handled. Some pet cats I know who are the most loving and gentle at home turn into a monster when they have to go to the vets.
How to hold your cat for examination
Your vet may ask you to help hold your cat during an examination. The best way to do this is with your cat laying front ways on the table.
To allow the vet to examine the head:
From behind the cat rest your arms either side of their body with your hands pressing gently but firmly on their front legs. This will stop your cat moving the front of their body or running away.
To allow the vet to examine the body and rear:
From the side place both hands on your cats back between their shoulders and press gently but firmly. Make sure the cat is unable to turn their head and bite you.
How To Pick Up A Cat
- Approach your cat slowly, sudden movements will settle them.
- Talk softly to your cat to gain their confidence.
- Bend at the knees and stroke your cat a few times.
- Place one hand under your cat’s chest near to the fore legs and at the same time scoop up their behind up with your other hand.
- Bring the cat up to your chest height and bring them into you so that you can then hold them securely.
Safely Putting Your Cat Back Down
Now that you have held your cat without any problems, you need to gently put them back on the floor.
You may notice that your cat is beginning to get fed up of being held, in which case they will likely start to wriggle and meow.
The best way to put your cat down is to slowly lower them down to the ground and place them down. When all four paws are on the floor, you can let them go.
Place Is down Steadily
After you and your fur buddy are done with hanging out, it is time to put it down; but this has to be accomplished safely and gently. The best way to do this is to bend very low to the ground – that way, your cat’s paws will be very close to the ground, if not touching the floor. Its front paws should make contact with the ground first while you still support the back paws as your kitty steps out from your arms. Then, proceed to gently release your hands from its body completely. Part of the work will be done by your four-legged-buddy who will waste no time in jumping down from your arms, once it is close to the ground.
- It is easiest to pick up a cat that is relaxed or sleepy. If the cat is nervous, it will be much harder to pick him up and may bite or scratch you.
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Generally, if cats should be presented with a choice, many of them are likely to opt for total freedom as they would prefer never to be picked up or even held. For a typical feline, there is great security in keeping all fours firmly on the solid ground, as well as the freedom to move at will. Many cats view being lifted up from the ground as a stressful situation and if your furbaby happens to be the type that is not accustomed to being picked up or harbors some fears about losing grip of the solid ground, picking the cat up may well create a situation where someone might get bitten or even scratched (you, no doubt). With the help of the above tips, you will be assured of careful handling of your kitty.