mighty_power7 asked in PetsCats · 1 decade ago

What's the proper way to hold a cat?

It seems like every time I go to hold a cat, it leaps out of my arms and scratches me in the side with its back claws. How can I hold a cat so that it won't leap away or scratch me?


i'm in school to become a veterinarian, so i sort of have to hold the cat whether it wants to be held or not!

17 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I hold all of my cats with their rear paws in one hand (they are standing on my hand) and their front paws on my shoulder. This lets them feel like they are totally in control and can jump away whenever they want without needing to scratch or bite. They usually purr up a storm and nuzzle my face because they like the way I respect them. Sometimes I carry them in what my wife calls "the football hold," one arm underneath the whole cat supporting him while he leans against my stomach/chest -- again, in this "football hold" the cat is actually standing on the level part of my arm.

    The fact of the matter is, even the tamest of cats don't usually like to be carried around much. Cats are independant critters and have definite ideas about who is supposed to be in charge (them). If we had a steering wheels or reins they might like us carrying them about more, but sadly we don't. What most cats want is for you to sit down and then they can sit on your lap and be petted and sritched. My cats especially like for me to sit down in the recliner chair, put the foot support out, and then they lie on my extended legs like they were in a hammock. They'll stay there for hours while I read a book or watch TV.

    === EDIT ===

    Ah, since you have updated the question to state that you are training for veterinary work, it is a completely different question! In this case you are dealing with stressed-out cats who don't know you and you don't have time to establish a bond with them.

    First, remember to try to see the world from the cat's point of view -- kitty is really freaked out, being brought to a place that he has very unpleasant associations with, and might not have "his people" around to reassure him.

    My vet usually simply lets them sit on the countertop but holds them by the scruff of the neck -- not painfully tight, but enough to let them know he is boss. If he needs to lift them for examination or transport to the holding cages, he continues to hold them by the scruff while supporting then under the chest as I recall. He has been forced on a couple of occaisions to wrap our most-easily-stressed cat in a towel, what we call a "kitty burrito," so that the cat cannot kick and claw.

    BTW, here is a tip for you in the veterinary world of cats: Many of them are absolutely TERRIFIED by electric clippers. We have one super-sweet little Norweigian Forrest Cat who is everyone's favorite cat in the world, right up until those clippers start to buzz, when he comes completely unglued and tries to kill everyone and claw his way out right through the walls and even the ceiling once (yes he jumped straight up and tried to go out through the ceiling tiles!). We went looking on eBay and found some antique hand-operated hair clippers made by Oster like these ones:


    He is now completely content to be shaved when a blood test or other veterinary procedure requires it -- he just sits there and purrs like his normal sweet self instead of freaking out.

    Click on my screen name and go to my user profile and send me an email, I'll give you the number of my vet who is a terrific guy and handles cats very well. I'm sure he won't mind giving you a few minutes of advice.

  • ?
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    maximum cats i have had didn't wish to be held in my palms on their backs, it makes them experience insecure like they are going to fall. the astounding thanks to p.c.. them up is to carry them in a unmarried hand below the cat properly in the back of the front legs, help the again carry about the different hand, and position the cat over your shoulder at the same time as nevertheless helping the hindquarters. in the adventure that your daughter is little she received't be able to carry an finished grown cat this way so that's tender for the cat, which will properly be why that's crying. i do not imagine the cat is complaining because of a sore rear end, even with the actuality that at the same time as he's neutered he should be left on my own for a lengthy time period to heal up.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Some cats prefer not to be held. But for those who do, I hold them similiar to a baby. Supporting the bottom, and one hand supporting the neck. Now, this will NOT prevent a cat from jumping out of your arms, if the cat is uncomfortable being held, but that's why is is proper to hold a cat this way. They should always be able to get away, if they feel the need.

  • Star
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    It depends on why you want to hold the cat. Some cats just don't like to be held and therefore you should not hold them - makes sense doesn't it? - if you didn't like being held, imagine how it would feel if others insisted on holding you.

    Now, if you need to hold the cat for purposes such as veterinary examination, then there are ways to do so...your veterinarian is the best person to handle this.

    Did you know that holding your own animal in a vet clinic can be a liability for the veterinarian? Never insist on doing so - let them do their job.

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  • 1 decade ago

    You have to make sure you support both ends. If he's standing up on all four legs put one hand under his belly near his front legs and the other hand near his back legs. One thing cats hate is to be held by the front with their bottom half dangling.

    As far as the jumping out of your arms, it could depend on a lot of factors. If this isn't your cat and he doesn't know you that well, he probably won't let you pick him up. If he is your cat he just doesn't like to be held. I have 3 and only one will let us pick him up.

  • 1 decade ago

    Cats require a long time to build trust and develop a personality. Try rubbing their stomach and massaging the muscles. Most seem to like this.

    They can be hard to hold and balance. It can be done, it takes practice. It's almost like holding a baby. Once a cat developes a bond with you some will lay in your lap.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It's best not to try to hold a cat immediately after you "meet" her. Instead, let her sniff your hand (cats recognize people largely by scent), and then pet her a bit. If she sees that she's going to get a bit of attention, chances are she will wander over and at least sit near you. It does take time with some cats, so be patient.

  • 1 decade ago

    Dear mighty po***

    The proper way is exactly like the mother cat does it!! You will see this when your take your special one to the vet.

    I have 5 maine coon cats. Ranging from 10kg(least) to 15.8kg. I have always been fortunate enough to have been able to pick them up from the start(kitten age). I am able to slide my hands from the rear end and hold under the belly and the other arm supporting the top rib cage and slide them over my shoulder with the other arm. They all love to be held like this because when they were kittens I used to cradle them wherever I went in this manner. They are extremely heavy.

    I adopted a stray tabby, his owners decided to move and leave him behind.

    He had absolutely no trust in anyone, but would let me brush him, scratch under his chin.... It took a while, after being hit by him a couple of times, I could not go near his tummy area. Eventually, a couple of months down the line, after trying each day when I came home from work, he allowed me to pick him up the same way I do with my cats. I was so excited, I am sure he felt my excitement, that I can now pick him up when I come home. Our greeting. He went from being 4kg (shocking) to 8.5kg I have to slow down on his feeding schedule. Thankx to Hills Science Diet.

    Hope this will give you the incentive to try!!!! It is easier to get this bond when you keep your cats inside. I don't let mine outside.

    luv peppa-anne

    Source(s): Univ.Lecturer*Vetenarian
  • 1 decade ago

    The proper way is only WHEN IT WANTS YOU TO. I can't believe how many people don't understand this. Someone I know grabbed my cat & picked her up, &--my cat NEVER hisses, but you should have heard her when this person yelled in her face: "DON'T YOU KNOW I LOVE CATS?" UUrrg. Cats are very loving, & JUST LIKE PEOPLE--don't want to be held, fondled, so on unless they really feel like it. Would YOU like it if someone just scooped you up if you were in the mood or not? Put yourself in the cat's shoes--I mean--paws. & here's another tip: There are some people, that for no obvious reason to US, cats just don't care for. At least they're candid about it! More people should be...

  • 4 years ago

    Hold Cat

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