Cat Tips

How To Hold a Cat 

Don’t you just love hugging your kitten?

While carrying your cat might be a great way to bond, if you’re doing it wrong, this can push you apart. Holding your cat the wrong way stresses them and causes anxiety. You can reduce this by ensuring that your pet is always comfortable.

If you’re open to learning the right way to hold your cat, Spot Pet Insurance will break it down below.

Does your cat want to be held?

That’s a question you should ask yourself before trying to pick up your cat.

Not all cats will enjoy you carrying them. Some will put up a fight to tell you off if you come close. This behavior might stem from previous unpleasant interactions with humans. You can’t blame a cat dropped from a height in the past for being aggressive when you attempt to carry them.

How do you know your cat wants to be held?

It’s not like your cats will walk up to you and ask you to carry them. However, there are signs that they may give you to signal that they’re relaxed and wouldn’t mind human touch. They might approach you or purr if they’re comfortable.

On the other hand, your cats might become hostile if they’re not ready to be carried. If your pet is hissing, growling, or bushy-tailed, it’s probably best to try lifting them another time. Observing their body language is key.

How do you lift your cat?

Start by picking your cat up the right way.

Here are tips to keep in mind:

Approach gently

Don’t make sudden moves before carrying your cat. They’ll be startled and might decline your advances. Slowly come toward them so they get comfortable with you before your next move.

Support your cat

Lift your cat by supporting them gently. Support their forelimbs with one hand and place the second hand under their hindlimbs. Your cat’s feet shouldn’t be dangling below them. This might make them anxious and uncomfortable.

What is the right way to hold your cat?

Now that you’ve picked up your cat the right way, you need to be sure that you’re holding them properly. Your cat might get stressed or irritated if you’re carrying them the wrong way.

The first thing you should remember is to support your cat. Here are some poses you can try when carrying your cat:

Basic pose

This one is the easiest pose to master. Place one hand under your cat’s chest and support their hindlimbs with your other hand. There are little variations that you can add to this pose. For instance, you can bring your two hands together under your cat’s chest.

It’s crucial that you support your cat’s midsection at all times. Furthermore, you can carry your cat close to your torso for additional support.

Baby pose

As long as your cat is comfortable with this pose, it helps build an intimate relationship. Simply cradle your cat like a baby. You can give them some wiggle room so that they feel safe.

A downside to this pose is that their legs are in the air, free to scratch you. Therefore, it’s not the best pose for a resistant cat. If your cat doesn’t like this pose, you can try another more comfortable option.

Football pose

You can quickly scoop your cat in the football pose if you see them heading toward danger. Their head is tucked close to your body while you support their torso and hind legs.

This pose is fantastic because your cat won’t move as much, so you’ll get fewer scratches. Hold your cat tightly so that they fit snugly against your body. However, your pet shouldn’t be uncomfortable. If your cat is fighting back, you can drop them off somewhere safe.

Shoulder pose

This is another pose for cats who trust their human owners. You’ll have to let your cat do the job of climbing on your shoulder. Simply lower yourself to your cat’s level and let them do all the work.

You can give them a little push as they find a comfortable spot. Some cats may also

try to cross both shoulders. This pose leaves you open to getting lots of scratches.

Sitting pose

This one is another easy pose that’s great for kids under supervision. When you sit on your couch to watch TV, your cat might want to come close. They may try sitting on your lap or curling between your thighs.

Let your cat choose a pose that’s most comfy for them. Once again, if they give you the signal that they’d like to move away, let them go. They’ll be back again when they’re ready. Cats aren’t always the most affectionate pets, unlike dogs like the goldendoodle. Some felines are indifferent to human touch.

However, even the most loving cats will get tired at some point. When cats start showing signs that they’re tired, it’s best to respect their boundaries and let them go. If you put them down the right way, they’ll likely be more willing to let you hold them next time.

How do you drop your cat?

Cats are incredibly agile and can land safely from heights. However, you shouldn’t let them jump off you. Bring your pet close to a comfortable spot and let them hop off.

If your cat is coming off your shoulder, bend forward gently. Let their forelimbs contact the ground, and they’ll land safely.

What are the mistakes to avoid when holding your cat?

There are many common mistakes that cat owners make when handling their pets. When you identify these mistakes, correct them to build a better relationship with your pet.

Starting late

Some pet owners delay holding their cats till they’re older. It’s better to start early, but not too early. This helps your cats develop a positive mindset about cuddling. It’ll also give you time to master your technique.

You can hold your kittens the same way you can carry the adult cat, just be more gentle. Try wrapping your kitten in a towel so that they’re comfy.

Hugging tightly

Cats can get claustrophobic if you hold them too tightly. They need some room to feel in control. It’s best to work with your cat’s tolerance level. This lets you know how tightly you should hold them.

Moving too quickly

Before jumping in to give your cat a cuddle, you need to work on your relationship first. Your cat needs to get acquainted with you to trust you enough. When approaching your feline friend, don’t make sudden moves that will startle them. Allowing your cat to get your scent and come to you is a great way to start bonding.

Final thoughts

How do your cats love to be held? If you have no idea, you can begin building that relationship now. Start by choosing the right mood to approach your pet. They’ll show you they’re ready to receive your touch when relaxed. If your cats are hostile, you can put it off till later.

Pick your cat gently and support them as you do so. There are several poses that you can try. The basic pose and sitting pose are the easiest. You can also try the football, shoulder, and baby pose as your cat gets more comfortable.

Avoid common mistakes when holding your cat, such as hugging too tightly, moving too quickly, and starting late. Spot Pet Insurance has you covered if you want to learn how to care for your cat.


  • How to Pick Up a Cat | HowStuffWorks

  • Feline Body Language | The University of Edinburgh

  • Humane Handling of Cats: How To Do 3 Safe & Effective Holds | ASPCApro

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