How to Hold a Cat (The Right Way)
Cats are cute and furry but they aren’t the friendliest pets out there. Compared to dogs, cats can be a little snobbish and protective that they tend to stay away from humans. Because of that, you have to be cautious on how to properly pick up a cat.
If you aren’t aware, there is a right way on how to carry a cat. However, before you carry them wherever you want, it’s best to know the ground rules in a cat relationship.
Cats Get Security from Being on the Ground
Even if cats show confidence in jumping from one pole to another, they still find their security from staying on the ground. Just like any other animal, cats love being able to move around on their own and they tend to be grouchy if you keep them on your arms for too long.
According to vets, cats feel stressed whenever they are lifted off the ground. This is why you will notice them squirming when you are holding a cat. Some cats also feel afraid whenever they get picked up. Hence, you shouldn’t carry your cat just for fun until they initiate it themselves. In the next sections, you’ll learn about their tolerance levels and how to build a relationship with them.
Cats’ Tolerance Levels
Just like people, cats have different tolerance levels. So do cats even like being held? Some cats are comfortable being carried around while others prefer not to be. If you are not close to your cat or you’re not familiar with its personality, then it’s always best to avoid carrying them at all costs. In fact, the rule of thumb is to just carry them when it is necessary. Other than that, keep your cat on the floor or on the couch.
Going against your cat’s tolerance level can create stress and anger in your cat. If they already show signs of resistance, then this is a clear sign that they do not want to be picked up. If you insist on doing so, they might scratch or bite you.
It is also important to know that there is a misconception that cats like scratching people. This is false. Cat owners are able to vouch that cats are pretty tamed and they only scratch whenever they feel threatened. Just like dogs, cats will not attack you if you did not give them any cause to do so.
Building a Relationship with Your Cat (or Any Cat)
Before carrying your cat, it is important to get to know them. They should also be able to recognize you so that the familiarity can help ease their discomfort. Needless to say, you should not carry stray cats out of nowhere. While they can look cute and sweet, stray cats can carry bacteria with them and if they scratch you, it can cause potential problems.
For house cats, building a relationship with them takes a little time. Depending on the personality of your cat, it can take them from a few weeks to a few months to warm up to you. However, you should always show patience and don’t rush this important part of your relationship. The getting to know stage is crucial in gaining your cat’s trust.
It helps that you always approach them gently. Don’t run towards them or go bounding on them from behind.
Instead, slowly walk towards them from the side and talk to them in a gentle voice.
How to Carry Your Cat
When you’ve already built a good relationship with your cat, this is when you can already carry them. Follow these steps on how to hold a cat the right way.
- Step 1: Placing your hand around your cat
If you are absolutely sure that your cat wants to be carried, then this is where you apply the proper approach to them. Again, slowly walk towards them either from their right or left side. Once you’re right beside them, start by placing your dominant hand underneath their belly. Slowly place your hand just behind their front legs.
- Step 2: Supporting your cat with the other hand
Quickly after you wrap your dominant hand under their belly, continue by using your other hand to further support your cat. Place your other hand below your cat’s tummy just in front of their hind legs. This way, you are supporting the back part of your cat.
- Step 3: Lifting your cat
When your hands are already in place, gently lift your cat a few inches from the ground. While you do this, observe the reaction of your cat. If you notice them feeling a little uncomfortable, stop what you’re doing and gently bring your cat back to the ground.
On the other hand, if your cat doesn’t squirm, then gently but quickly bring them closer to your chest. Bringing them to your chest will help them feel a sense of security in spite being off the ground.
- Step 4: Holding your cat
Let’s say you’ve been successful in lifting your cat. Now it’s time to learn how to carry them properly. To do this, slowly shift the cat’s position so that their side and part of their back touches your chest. Their head and neck should also be just below your neck so your chest can support them. Remember, the cat’s posture should still remain comfortable. Avoid having their head and neck face downward as this can be very uncomfortable for them.
- Step 5: Bringing your cat down
After a short moment of carrying them, it’s time to bring them back down. Remember, cats are not fond of being carried, so don’t let them stay on your chest for long periods of time. Just like how you picked them up, use both hands in putting them back down. Do this gently as well.
And there you have it, these are all the steps in holding and carrying your cat the right way. Just remember that whenever your cat starts to squirm, it’s a bad idea to attempt to carry them.