There’s Actually a Correct Way to Hold Your Cat

How to Hold a Cat

If you are a cat owner, there is probably nothing you enjoy more than having a cuddle with your beloved pet. Often, cats will voluntarily come to you for a cuddle and climb up onto your lap for petting. Other times, you may need to instigate a cuddle session by picking up the cat yourself. Some cats are more amenable to being picked up than others. While some cats love being picked up by their owner on any occasion, there are others that are not tolerant of being handled too often. One possible reason that they may fight against you when you handle them is that you are not holding them correctly. A simple solution is to not pick up your cat and to wait for your cat to approach you. However, there are some occasions when picking up your cat is necessary, such as if you need to examine them or you are planning a trip to the vet. Therefore, having a better understanding of the right way to pick up a cat is important. Here is how you should hold your cat correctly.

The Basics of Holding Your Cat

According to Life Hacker, learning how to hold your cat properly is important as this will make your cat feel comfortable and reduce the risk of you hurting your pet. However, there are a few basic holds that are easy to learn. The following tips should help you to hold your cat correctly.

  • Dr. Uri Burstyn, also known as the Helpful Vancouver Vet, advises cat owners to begin by curling your hand and approach your cat calmly, says My Modern Met.  Stroke their head or face before beginning to handle your cat, as this will put them at ease.
  • The key to picking up your cat is to make them feel supported. By putting one hand under their abdomen and another hand under their chest, they will feel supported and less likely to bite or scratch.
  • Once you have picked up your cat, hold it tightly against your body. This will make it comfortable and restrain it to prevent it from trying to get away.

More Ways to Hold Your Cat

The above is not the only way that you can hold your cat, as there are many other positions that most cats will find comfortable and will prevent them from escaping. S9me examples include:

  •  The under the arms hold- You can hold the cat under your arm so that your arm nestles the cat against your body. The hand of the arm that is holding the cat should rest under its chest for additional support, and you can use your free hand for the cat to rest its front paws on.
  • The double-arm wrap- If you cannot get your hands under your cat, you can hold them securely against your body by wrapping your arms across their body so that your forearms land just below your cat’s shoulders and hips Holding them like this should then allow you to tuck one hand under your cat’s chest.
  • Over the shoulder- Cats like an elevated position. If you and your cat are comfortable with each other and your cat trusts you, then you can hold the cat over your cat with their bottom rested on your chest with a hand under for support and your cat’s front legs rested on your shoulder. Do not put your cat entirely on your shoulder without support.

How Not to Hold Your Cat

In addition to knowing the correct way to hold your cat, it is also important to know how you should not hold your cat, says Cat Behavior Associates. They give the following tips for how not to hold your cat.

  • Do not startle your cat or grab them unexpectedly.
  • Try not to ignore your cat’s body language. If they clearly do not want you to hold them, it is best to leave them alone unless it is vital that you pick them up.
  • Do not hold your cat with only one hand as this does not give their body enough support. Your hands should sit at two different positions on the cat’s body to distribute their weight.
  • Avoid picking up your cat by placing your hands under its armpits.
  • Never suspend the cat above your head. Never hold them any higher than chest height.
  • Don’t hold your cat on its back like a baby. Although some cats enjoy this hold, most cats find this uncomfortable and distressing.
  • Never drop the cat back down to the floor from the height at which it is being held. Always lower the cat towards the floor and place them on their feet.
  • Avoid picking up your cat by the scruff of the neck. Scruffing is a way that mother cats pick up their kittens, so people mistakenly believe that this is an appropriate way to pick up the cat. That is not the case as this is painful for adult cats as the full weight of their body is suspended from one piece of skin at the back of their necks.
  • Never pick a cat up by its head or limbs as there is a significant risk of injuring your cat if you hold it in this way.

Holding Your Cat – The Final Verdict

Most cat owners enjoy cuddling up to their pet, and sometimes holding your cat is a necessity. It is important that you hold them correctly to avoid injury to you and your cat. Holding them securely and in the right position can prevent them from struggling and being dropped, and it can also stop them from scratching or biting you when you pick them up. You need to hold the cat against your body in a way that supports their weight. How not to hold your cat is just as important as understanding how to hold your cat correctly.


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