7 Types of Cat Restraints You Should Never Use

cat on a leash

Cat restraint is collectively defined as the process of holding back, suppressing, checking action, keeping a cat under control, or denying it freedom of movement to attain a specific goal. Depending on the circumstance, appropriate cat restraint methods/techniques are used. Regardless of the choice of the method used, the safety of the handler and the cat are paramount in each situation.

When handling animals, we should never forget that they have unpredictable behavior, hence the need to have a full-scale knowledge of various methods. In addition, cats can also be dangerous; therefore, it is good to be aware of the defense mechanisms you shall apply when it turns against you. In this article, we shall examine the seven types of cat restraints that one should never use.

7. Use of Alpha Rolls Restraining During Training

Alpha roll is one of the methods which veterinary doctors have vehemently fought against when we want to restrain our cats during their training. It involves physically forcing your cat onto its side or back into a submissive position and holding it there with the sole purpose of showing it that you (as a human being) are the one who is in control. However, science-based evidence has proved that using any force-training method has adverse negative effects on your cat. When we use confrontational and forceful training methods, they provoke the cats to develop a fearful response.

You will likely see your cat freezing until when it no longer feels that it is no longer threatened, or it may indeed respond violently to protect itself from the pain-causing handler. Animal scholars have suggested that cats are not like wild animals and that we should suppress them to follow the instructions given to them by man. Cats will thrive better in an environment where they feel fully protected and trusted. Alpha Rolls give the cat the image that man is an animal that imposes instructions on them in an unfriendly manner.

6. Hanging/Choking

There is a misconception among some cat handlers that when a cat starts to misbehave or becomes volatile, you can control its behavior by choking it. This method is not only illegal, but it has adverse impacts on the well-being of your cat. Choking can be done by use of leashes, hands, or even by giving your cat food in pieces that it cannot swallow. When you choke your cat, you first interfere with its breathing system, which makes it paralyzed for some time. Upon regaining strength, it will appear as a confused animal incapable of understanding directions and simple instructions.

Choking, by any means, is one the most significant ways of instilling fear into your cat. It will never be friendly again to you, and if you issue it with new instructions, it may never learn them. Animals have high levels of trust in men, so when you do so, you break that bond, and it may take a lot of time to recover. After hanging or choking, some cats have been reported to have run away from their homes entirely. Additionally, it instills pain in the neck muscles that may cause it to lack appetite, vomit, and develop inactivity for a long time. When you choke your cat, you will also realize that it is not interacting with the others as it used to do-becomes less playful. In situations where choking is caused by food, follow your cat’s basic attendance instructions and then rush it to the doctor.

5. Use of Belled Collars to Restrain Movement

It is advisable to know where your cat is all the time. However, some people choose to have to bell their cat’s collars to identify their exact locations. Whereas it might serve the interest of the cat owner, belled collars are very irritating to the cat. First, it causes unnecessary sounds that can cause stress. In addition, it impairs its hunting processes. Though it is essential to restrain the cat from hunting other domestic animals, we should never forget that it drives a lot of fun from hunting as well.

When we continuously use them, they make the kitten respond to any bell sound they hear, even if it is unfriendly animals that have caused it, such as wild dogs. When they can no longer tolerate the bell sound, the big ones will attempt to remove them, posing a threat to self-choking. The big cats tend to develop a mechanism of moving slowly so that you will not hear their movement hence beating the fundamental purpose you had installed. Lately, the cat’s ability to differentiate voices is largely impaired when you bell its collar, making its learning process slower than expected.

4. Pile-ups/Crowd restraining

Like any other animal, cats demand that their territory is respected. Pile-ups or crowd restraining is the process by which a group of people will attempt to restrain a cat by holding different body parts on the ground or a table. Foremost it is practically impossible that all the handlers will apply the same force to each part they hold. The uneven pain is very irritating to the cat. This causes stress whenever a group of individuals approaches it. In addition, when it is continuously done, the cat will develop a conditional acceptance that only a group of handlers can handle it.

In the future, when you attempt to go for it alone, it may not cooperate. Aggression is high when your cat can predict that it may experience some pain. The result is that it becomes defensive even if it is not necessary to do so. Cats learn when handled by a specific individual; if you choose to be calling anyone to help you restrain it, it becomes violent to your visitors. In research done on several hospitals in the U.K, veterinary doctors were able to establish that the cats they crowd-handled were responding to drugs more slowly than the ones that a single doctor handled. The difference in response to the treatment is because the cats are more likely to relax and let the drug function when they are single-handled. The chances of a secondary injury to the cat are high.

3. Physical Reprimands in Restraining Cats

When restraining cats, we should NOT use force at all unless when necessary. No matter how aggressive it can get, we should never hit, strike, bite, or jerk cats. Besides causing severe cat injuries, they also inflict soft tissue trauma on it. In cats, soft tissue trauma involves injury to the muscles, ligaments, and tendons surrounding their bones and joints. The muscles you are inflicting injury on help the cat maintain its posture and motion, the tendons are responsible for connecting the muscles to the bones, and the ligaments attach each bone to the other. Perhaps you might have seen your cat with some tears on it; try to carefully examine it because someone might have inflicted an injury on it. The following symptoms will tell you that you have excessively physically reprimanded your cat:

  • Bruising/hematoma (bleeding under the skill due to burst capillaries)
  • Inflammation/swelling
  • Lameness or climbing
  • Inability to move joints
  • Stiffness
  • Refusal or inability to bear weight
  • Lack of appetite
  • Change in personality
  • Excessive licking of the affected area

It would help if you always remembered that under any given jurisdiction, there are laws governing the use of physical reprimands to restrain animals. An analysis of many of them is that they have been classified as illegal forms of abusing cats.

2. Use of Aggressive and Loud Voices

When handling cats, you should first be aware of the type of voice the cat is used to. Generally, cats respond to the tone of the voice that is used by the handler. Cats can hear 1.6 octaves higher than an average human being and are even higher than dogs by one octave. Therefore, when one uses high voices, they not only irritate their hearing problem but also inflict stress on them. According to Vetstreet, “excessive or loud noises can create what is known as acoustic stress, which affects felines, in particular since they hear very high tones.”

Unrecommended voices interfere with the cat’s pattern to understand instruction as they are confused. When the cat can no longer tolerate them, it immediately assumes a defensive mechanism and can easily cause injury to the handler. The handler may not necessarily cause the voices. Your cat will be disturbed when it senses unfamiliar noise, such as that of a vacuum cleaner, traffic noise when transporting it for checkups, CRT and LCDs, and light dimmers. In addition, cats do not like a constant continuous voice. Always maintain a specific tone and instructional voice when handling your cat.

1. Scuffing

According to SprucePETS, scuffing is a ‘general term for various holds on the skin of a cat’s neck’. Scuffing varies from a gentle squeeze of the skin to grasping a more prominent fold of the skin with different amounts of pressure. It is sometimes accompanied by lifting the cat up or heavily restraining it in other ways. The vice is commonly applied when moving kittens, attempting to relieve them from predator jaws, or male cats can do it during mating. We should note that animal-to-animal scuffing inflicts minimal pain because they are naturally aware and conscious of the other’s pain. Experts have discouraged this method of restraining because of the following reasons:

Causes anxiety, fear, and stress

when you scuff your cat, it starts to develop elements of fear whenever you are approaching it. Even when you might be doing it in honest faith, cats always interpret any unwelcome behavior as a form of punishment.

Results in aggression

when the cat starts feeling that you are inflicting pain on it, it shall develop some fear. In response, it shall develop an aggressive defense mechanism whereby it may start to assume an attack position when it sees you.

Impaires cat learning process

Scuffing affects how your cat will take your instructions. For formal learning, the cat must assume eternal protection from the handle, and anything short of that will make the cat not concentrate and hence learn slowly.

How Can One Safely Restrain Their Cat?

Cats respond well to respectful and gentle handling techniques. These techniques are much less stressful than the ones discussed above because they give the cat a sense of control, which is vital for its welfare. Experts have recommended ‘passive restraint’ as the best way to restrain our cats. Passive restraint involves light handling your cat with the least restraint possible. Passive restraint must also be done in preference to the cat’s favorite position by ensuring that the cat can still move its body parts freely as it wishes to.

According to the SPCA, comparative studies have revealed that passive restraint results in less struggling and lower indicators of anxiety, fear, aversion, and distress. In addition, passive restraint keeps the cat’s fear and distress levels to a minimum and decreases the likelihood that your cat will respond to restraint with defensive aggression. Any form of restraint which uses force is counterproductive and limits the cat’s ability to learn.

In Conclusion

Cat restraining is a delicate process that we must undertake with the precision it deserves. If you are unaware of what you should do, don’t hesitate to contact the nearest veterinary officer. Each cat handling process has a defined procedure; stick to the manual and instructions given to you when buying your cat.

In addition, always keep in mind that there are laws regulating how you should interact not only with your cat but also with all the other animals. To maximally enjoy your interaction with your cat, ensure that you treat it in the most honorable way possible. Failure to restrain your cat well may lead to extra costs in terms of treatment, and worse, you may lose it through death. Remember to have the appropriate protective clothing and equipment when restraining your cat.

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