How to Hold a Cat (The Right Way)

Why Is It Important To Pick Up And Hold A Cat Correctly?

Cats are very independent animals and in general they like to be free to do what they want when they want. Being held is not a natural situation for them and if this is done in such as way whereas they feel insecure or nervous then it it’s likely that they could lash out and bite.

If a cat is picked up incorrectly too often then it will become harder and harder in the future to have this sort of relationship with your cat. They will become instantly afraid every time you try to hold them and this will result in a cat who wriggles to get free from the start.

It is important that cats do become used to being handled in this way as there will be occasions where it is essential for you or a vet to either put them in a carrier or hold them for examination.

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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.

How Should You Pick Up a Cat?

After assessing the situation and getting the green light, approach the kitty with a relaxed manner. Crouch down to his level—he’ll feel less threatened when you’re not towering over him. You can even gain his trust by petting him in his hot spots, like the base of the ears or under the chin.

“If your cat is nervous of being picked up, but enjoys your company and petting, you can try to teach them to enjoy or tolerate being picked up,” Nigbur says. “[Motivate] her with a lick of baby food or a flake of tuna after every [step]. This will keep her happy about being touched. If your cat is not food motivated, you can also offer a few seconds of playtime with their favorite toy as a reward.”

Place your dominant hand underneath her ribcage (not their stomach). Use your free arm to support the back legs. When you feel comfortable, Nigbur says to slowly lift to a standing position while also pulling the cat against your chest for support. Use that non-dominant arm as a platform to support her hind legs.

Once she’s up in your arms, be sure to remain calm so the kitty feels comfortable. Hold the cat so her back paws are supported—lay your non-dominant arm flat across your torso, above the belly button, to give her a shelf to rest her rump on. Use your dominant hand to support her upper half and hold her firmly yet gently against your chest.

Once you're both comfortable, explore different ways of holding him to see what he enjoys. Some cats like to perch their legs on your arm and look back over your shoulder so they can enjoy the view. Others like to be held on their backs like a human baby. Nigbur says as you explore, pet him and talk to him to make him feel more comfortable and secure. Support him with your non-dominant arm and pet him on his head or down his back with your free hand. Maintaining a soft tone will put him at ease.

For younger children or anyone who’s less experienced with cats, Nigbur says to try holding him from a sitting position first, which will allow the cat to be in control and find a comfortable position on your lap. This is also the way you’ll want to hold a cat to prepare him for nail clipping, so it’s good practice to have him sit on laps.

Pet Your Kitty While Holding It

When your furry friend is held along the length of one of your hands, it means that your second hand will be completely free to pet and stroke it. Just be sure that its legs and body are continually supported. The stroking and petting are targeted at soothing the cat and this will make it feel comfortable enough to relax in your arms. It is also recommended that you talk to your cat in a soothing calm tone while it lies in your arms; by so doing, your pet is likely to feel at ease, and with time, it may even dose off.

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