No matter how much you think so, your cat is not a baby, and chances are she won’t like being held like one either. This explains why every time you try to hold her, she squirms her way out, possibly leaving you with a scratch or two. That’s why today, we’re talking about how to hold a cat the proper way!
Pleased to Make Your Acquaintance
The first step in any relationship is an introduction. If this is your cat, you already know each other, but if you want to scoop up a cat you have not been formally introduced to, please have a mini meet-and-greet before proceeding. When approaching a particular cat for the first time, allow the cat to come to you before attempting any other interaction. Giving treats (to the cat, not you) is a good tool for getting to know each other. Put a treat down a foot or so away from you and wait for kitty to come get it. Do not attempt to touch the kitty yet.
You may give a slow blink and see if kitty returns your expression of adoration, but don’t be too offended if she does not. She may come around in time. Always make sure to approach a cat so that she knows you are coming. It is wise to approach in her line of sight rather that to approach from behind as she may be startled and run away, and this may cause her to associate your presence with that experience, at least for awhile.
How About a Warm Hug?
Once you and the cat are on touching terms, and she is allowing you to pet her, work on getting closer. When you stroke the cat, bring her close to your body with her “sandwiched” between your chest and arm. Once this is in place, try stroking her with one hand under her belly and the other stroking the head. Holding your cat against your chest with her feet still on the floor gives her a sense of comfort and security that she will associate with your arm around her.
A cat can quickly become your best friend once you know the way to her heart. Aside from treats, she will enjoy having her scent areas – her cheeks, the top of her head, and under the chin – rubbed. This will cause her to get happy fast. This also lets her know you care about her and will earn her trust even more.
Once you are feline friend are feeling good with one another, it’s time to give her a lift. It is important to keep the cat fully and quickly supported when picking her up. Begin by placing one hand under the chest behind the front legs and the other hand under the abdomen close to the back legs. Lift smoothly, in one motion, bringing the cat to your chest so that her body is supported against your chest. Depending on what the cat is more comfortable with, you can either keep your hand under the abdomen or transfer to underneath the back feet so that she is “standing” on your hand.
Ground Floor Please
Bear in mind some cats do not like to be held, some do with time limits, and others you can carry all day. Believe us, a cat will let you know when she has had enough. Usually cats will begin to wiggle or use their back legs to try and lift themselves out of your arms. To keep trust so that she will allow you to pick her up again, it is always best to set her down as soon as she wants. Sometimes she will jump out of your arms, in which case you cannot control how she gets down, but under other circumstances, set her down gently on all four feet on the floor. This lets her know you can be trusted to place her safely on the ground when she is done with you.
Remember to always handle your cat with care, and let her know that you love her and love to be close to her.
Photo Credit: istockphoto.com