How To Hold A Cat

Cats are fascinating creatures. They are independent, curious, playful, affectionate, and loving. In short, cats are awesome.

The word ‘cat’ comes from the Latin word ‘cattus’, meaning ‘little wild animal’. There are over 40 million domestic cats worldwide, and they live in almost every country.

Some cats are very sociable, but others like to keep to themselves. In general, cats are more independent than dogs and therefore have received a bad reputation by people saying that they’re mean or unfriendly. 

To clarify, this is not the case for the majority of cats. However, you might still be worried about how to hold one. Let’s find out the correct way to hold a cat. 

Why Do People Think Cats Are Mean? 

Many people like to compare cats to dogs as they are two forms of domestic animals. However, apart from this and the fact that they both have four legs and a tail, this is pretty much where the similarities end. 

Dogs depend more on their owners for walks and attention. Cats, on the other hand, only depend on their owners for food. Some outdoor cats can even hunt for their own food. This makes cats much less present in their owners’ lives. 

Some cats are also known for having strict boundaries. While one cat might love affection from everyone, another might hate being stroked and picked up. 

People who don’t understand cats often don’t consider this as anything other than unfriendliness. However, we would counter that we wouldn’t like to be picked up and touched randomly throughout the day either. 

Picking A Cat Up

Most people have trouble picking a cat up in the first place because cats are agile creatures who will dodge hands amazingly if they aren’t in the mood to be held. 

Make sure that you’re only picking a cat up when they’re showing signs of consent. For example, these could be rubbing against your legs, purring, happily flicking their tails. These indicate that the cat is happy and therefore can be picked up.

If you try to pick up a cat that displays annoyance indicators such as a rigid tail, tense body, and pinned back ears, you might get scratched and hissed at. 

You also shouldn’t try and pick up a cat who is in the middle of a stressful situation such as moving house. Let the cat calm down on their own time before you try and interact with them. 

To pick up the cat, use slow and gentle movements to ensure that they don’t get spooked by any sudden movements. It’s best not to pick cats up from the floor as this is where they feel weakest and therefore are on high alert from. 

Instead, get down to a similar level to them (such as bending down while they’re standing on the couch) and allow them to sniff your hand. If they take interest in you, try to give them a stroke on the head or a chin rub. 

If they allow you to do this, it will indicate that they are in a good mood. Now you can try and pick them up. Place one hand just behind their front legs and the other just before their hind legs. Pick them up so that they feel secure. 

Holding The Cat

Once you have successfully picked the cat up, there are some important things to remember to ensure that the cat feels safe in your arms. 

For starters, their legs should never be dangling. This makes the cat think that they are close to falling and they will attempt to get free. 

A good way to hold the cat so that the legs aren’t dangling is so that one hand is underneath the cat’s front legs and the other is cupped underneath their hind legs.

The cat should be perched on your arm so that there is no way that they could feel as though they are falling. 

There are many other ways to hold a cat, so don’t think that you can only try this example. As long as you are securely holding the cat so that they cannot call, you should be fine. 

Always listen to your cat’s body language and put them down as soon as they are showing signs of wanting to be free. If your cat is squirming and you’re holding them tighter, they are going to get more stressed out and they might be forced to attack. 

Things To Avoid When Holding A Cat

The most important thing that you want to avoid when holding a cat is stressing them out. What’s more is that you could actually be holding the cat wrong, causing pain to the animal. Most of the time cats don’t complain about pain and therefore you wouldn’t even know it. 

To avoid this from happening, make sure that you are always holding the majority of the cat’s weight from its torso. Keep a hand behind the cat’s front legs, on their rib cage, to hold its weight. This prevents any unnecessary stress being put on their legs or their joints. 

Of course, never hold a cat from their neck, limbs, or tail. This is definitely an incorrect way of holding them and can cause significant injury. 

Again, if the cat is showing signs of struggling to get free, let them go. It might not be them being antisocial – they might actually be in pain from how you’re holding them.


So, there we have it! We’ve covered everything from picking up a cat to holding them. Hopefully, you now understand the basics and have a better idea of what to expect when trying to pick up your feline friend.

We hope that this article has been helpful in showing you that not all cats are unfriendly – some are just more independent than others. 

Plus, if you have been holding them incorrectly, they might be in pain. If you have continued to hold them the wrong way for an extended period of time, they might begin to associate holding with pain. To avoid this, make sure that you are supporting their chest every time you hold them. 

Courtney Trent
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