How To Hold A Cat

The Truth About Holding A Cat Properly

The fluffy nature of cats makes it pleasant to hold and caress them. However, they have fickle personalities and can be frightened easily when they are with strangers. Most cats prefer affection from the people they are used to because they can be sure that they are safe.


When the kitties get scared, they can hurt you with their claws or bite. To avoid hurting, frustrating or scaring a fluffy friend you ought to learn how to pick and hold her in the right way. Discussed below are some of the tips that will help you do right to your feline friend by picking her and holding her appropriately.

The Right Way To Pick Up A Cat

Determine if your feline friend wants to be picked

Being the owner of a kitty, you should know how to read its moods. At times, the cat barely wants to be picked. If she is scared or angry, you should leave her by herself because she will most likely bite or scratch you.

The following are some tips that can help you read your kitty’s mind:

  • If your kitty is seeking your attention by purring, rubbing against your legs or meowing, this indicates that is ready to be shown affection and to socialize. On the other hand, if she is hiding from you, that indicates that she wants some time alone and has no use for affection.
  • A cat shows that she needs attention and is in a good mood when her tail is up. That would be a good illustration that you can pick her up. To show agitation, your cat will have her tail wagging back and forth or thumping. This indicates that she is agitated and would not stand any form of disturbance and has no use for affection. This is typically not the perfect time to try and pick her up.
  • Cat’s ears can also be used to show her mood. For instance, if she has her tail facing forward, she is in a playful mood and is content. When her ears are facing backwards, do not dare to touch her because she is agitated. If her ears are flat against her head, this shows that she is scared and defensive. In this instance too, it would not be a good time to hold your feline friend.
how to hold a cat 2017

Crouch down to be at the same level as your cat

This is an attempt to reassure your kitty that you mean no harm. She will get the chance to make herself more comfortable by depositing her scent pheromones onto your body and clothing. Towering above her will most probably scare her.

Under the cat’s torso, place your dominant hand

Your dominant hand should be right behind her front legs. To know that your hand is rightly positioned, you will feel her rib cage. With your free hand, support the kitty’s back legs and bottom by placing it right under her hind feet. Your right hand should be strategically behind and above her paws.

You can now lift your feline friend comfortably

Now that your hands are positioned in the right way, lift your kitty as you stand upright. The forearm and hand placed under your kitty’s hind legs offer her support. To make the cat secure, place her against your chest.

Reserve using the scruff for demanding situations

Scruff, the extra hair at the back of a cat’s neck, enables mother cats to carry their kittens easily. It is not appropriate to hold adult cats by the scruff when carrying them around because they are heavy. The situations when you should carry your cat when holding them by the scruff are:

  • If there is an emergency situation and your kitty is scared. Hold her under the rump to support her weight. If she is still struggling, wrap her using a towel.
  • When you need to administer some drugs to your cat, hold her by the scruff to keep her from struggling.
  • In case an emergency situation such as a fire occurs, you can hold your cat by the rump. When you hold her this way, she can hardly scratch you.

Holding Your Cat And Placing Her Down

  • While holding your kitty, support her

With your arm placed against your torso, you can easily support your kitty. In the crook of your elbow, support her rump. Her front paws will rest on your hand.

Cats have varying personalities, and these determine how you will hold your cat. There are those which prefer to be carried like human babies, with their stomach facing upwards while others prefer to be held in a posture where they can watch over your shoulder.

  • Pet your kitty as you hold her

With your free hand, you can stroke your kitty but ensure that you continue supporting her legs and the body too so that she can be comfortable. You can also make her feel at ease by talking to her.

how to hold cats
  • Holding your cat as you sit

When you are sitting, probably as you watch TV you can let your cat choose her sitting position. Higher chances are that she will settle on your lap. This is ideal for little children who may find it hard to hold a cat as they are standing. Probably they can drop her or hold her too tightly for her comfort. Instruct your child to let the cat go if she struggles to avoid getting scratched.

  • Placing your cat down

Ensure that you place your kitty down safely and gently by bending too low such that her paws touch the ground or get too close to the ground. Release her gently, and I am sure she will help you by jumping from your hands.

This video will show you how to safely pick up and hold your feline friend.

How to Hold Little Kitten

  • Start holding your kittens early

If you want to socialize effectively with your kittens, it is best to do so by the time they get 12 weeks old. This is the best time to teach and have fun with your kitty. Do not handle the kittens in their early weeks of life as this is likely to make the mother cat angry. If the mother cat does not mind having you holding her kitties, you can do so for a few times. This can aid them to open their eyes.

When you hold the kittens, which are about two weeks old, do so gently and support their legs and the chest. Hold them with their back down at the same place.

How to hold kitten
  • Be careful to observe mother cat as she handles her kittens.

Some mother cats are overly protective to their kitties. If this is the case, be smart to get the right time to interact with the kittens when the mother cat is eating or when she gets out of the room. This is important so that you can ensure that the kittens get used to interacting with human beings.

  • Hold your kittens frequently, probably once or twice per day

Through holding your kittens often, you make them realize that it is a friendly gesture meant to enhance bonding. You should hold your kittens gently and show them affection maybe for five minutes.

Do not play roughly with your kitties and do not let them play with your hands as this is likely to create an unfriendly habit such that it will be almost impossible to play with her when she becomes an adult. She will be used to scratching and biting your hand which can get painful.

How To Train A Cat To Like Being Held

Start early

It is easy to train a cat to develop certain habits when they are young, say less than 12 weeks. At this age, you can train her to like to be held.

Use positive reinforcement or a reward

Some kitties have personalities which make them detest being held. To make yours like to be held you can train her to remain calm as she is being lifted by either laying your hand on her side or saying a word like “hold” and if she succeeds in staying calm, you can reward her by giving a treat or by petting her.

How to hold cat

When she maintains the calmness, you can proceed training her by placing your hands on the sides of her stomach as if you intend to lift her but don’t do the lifting yet. If she still remains calm, reward her.

After succeeding in all that, you can now lift her. If she keeps her calm, reward her as you make her comfortable against your chest. Make that a habit until your kitty gets used to being held.

Avoid punishment

Punishing a cat makes her stressed up, and it can get to worse cases when she gets a feline illness, compulsive grooming or incontinence. It also makes her cease from being friendly to you. Always train her with positive rewards.

Handling a Strange Cat

Be Patient

Cats are not very comfortable around strangers. They do take time before they get used to someone they are not used to. Be cautious when you meet a strange cat. You know nothing about their personality or whether they are suffering from a transmittable disease. Ask the cat’s owner about the cat’s personality and respect his decision even if he will not let you handle a cat that seems to be friendly.

Move slowly

Avoid sudden movement which is likely to scare a cat. Avoid eye contact with the kitty as they read this as a sign of threat. To touch the cat, extend your hand slowly and let her come towards you as she sniffs your hand. They do this for reassurance.

Do not pick her unless it is necessary

Holding a strange cat can be dangerous for you and stressful for her. If she gets aggressive, you might get some scratches or bites which could be painful and dangerous if the cat is suffering from a communicable disease.


Always make sure that you hold your feline friend appropriately so that you can make her to always look forward to enjoying the bonding sessions. We hope you have enjoyed reading the article and also learned on how you should handle your feline friend. If any issue was not clear, feel free to ask, and we will surely help where we can.

Sarah Keene

I’m Sarah Keene, and I’m glad you found your way to my blog. I love cats so much; I consider myself a cat woman. I have 5 cats at the moment, and I am planning to grow my cat family. It is not easy to take care of these cats appropriately though I would wish to make them feel as comfortable as possible. This is why I depend on other blogging cat lovers like me to help me in providing all the necessities for my cats to have the best life possible.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Leave a Reply: