How To Pick Up a Cat like a pro

Picking up a cat sounds easy, but there’s actually a correct way to do so which ensures that cat is comfortable and will not cause injury. You may have previous experience with a situation where the cat is scrambling to get out of your arms.

There’s more to picking up a cat than walking up to one and lifting it off the ground. Bear in mind that not all cats enjoy people picking them up. They may enjoy an occasional snuggle but despise the idea of somebody holding them in their arms. Different felines enjoy people handling them in different ways. The following information in this article will give you instructions on exactly how to pick up a cat.

Ensure the cat feels safe in your presence

Ensuring the cat feels at ease in your presence is vital. It can alter the entire experience for both the cat and yourself. Just as you may not enjoy a stranger touching you, cats may not either. Firstly, you should first approach it in a way so that it knows you’re coming. Surprising the cat by suddenly picking it up from behind could alarm it and make it feel in danger and uncomfortable.

Experts say that the best way to approach a cat is from either the left or right side. Coming at a cat head-on could seem like you’re trying to threaten it. Be aware: never attempt to pick up a cat off the street without first assessing its body language.

Making acquaintance

Cats will take some time to warm up to you, even your own pet cat. Send out vibes so the cat feels safe and loved. Once it knows that you’re not a threat but a friendly presence, it will be more ready for you to pick it up. Most cats will nuzzle their faces as a form of introduction, so you should attempt to do the same. Gently pat it on the head and scratch the area behind their ears and under their chins. If anything is causing alarm or stress to the cat, these gentle pats can calm it down.

Warning signs

Felines will show definite warning signs that it doesn’t want to you to pick it up. Warning signs like hissing, running away, scratching, or biting are red flags. He or she could be in a bad mood, or still feeling like you’re a stranger who could be a potential danger to them. Although it may seem at ease while you’re stroking its head, you should never try to pick up a cat that doesn’t want to you to pick it up. If the cat shows warning signs, try again later when it is more comfortable with you or in a better mood.

How to pick up a cat

After introducing yourself to the cat and all seems to be going well with no warning signs, the cat may be ready for you to pick it up. Slowly and gently put one of your hands on its belly, in front of its back legs. Use this hand to support the cat when you first pick it up. Take care to use your other hand to scoop up its back legs, almost like cradling it. Gently lift the cat to your chest so that most of its body is touching your body. Make sure the cat’s posture is straight, without its head and neck craning downwards.

Some cats will be comfortable with you cradling it like a baby, whereas others will put their hind legs on top of your shoulders. Now you know how to pick up a cat!

Putting the cat down

Sometimes the cat will want to be put down after a while, or you may get tired of supporting it. Don’t try to drop the cat because it may not like it, and will not entrust you with the honor of picking it up next time. Signs that he or she wants to be put down include when it starts shifting around, or meowing at you that he or she is uncomfortable. At any stage, you shouldn’t try to hold the cat against its will as this will cause it to feel increasingly in danger and uncomfortable.

Lower the cat down to ground level, and gently release your hold as all four paws touch the floor. Some cats may jump out on their own, and that’s completely fine, too. We now know how to put a cat down as well as how to pick up a cat.

Things you should avoid

One common myth is that cats enjoy people handling them by their scruffs. Many people will say that this is the way the mother cat handles her kittens, so it’s fine for people to do so too. Although mother cats can do this safely with her kittens, it requires a special touch. When cats grow to be about 3 months old, it’s too big for you to pick it up by the scruff. Doing so can cause muscle damage and excruciating pain for the cat.

You may see veterinarians hold the cat by the scruff, but they have been through special training in order to do so. Avoiding this will give you a better understanding of how to pick up a cat without injuring it.

Cat body language

Signs that the cat is feeling unhappy:

  • Tail down means the cat is feeling afraid or in jeopardy
  • Ears turning back means that it’s feeling nervous or anxious – be cautious
  • Tail rapidly moving back and forth means that it’s angry and wants to be left alone
  • Ears flat against head is a sign that the cat is feeling fearful and defensive

Taking the time to understand a cat’s body language will help you to better decipher it’s moods and needs. Now that you’ve got a better understanding of their body language, you also gain a better understanding of how to pick up a cat!


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