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How to Safely Pick Up a Cat

To the Rescue: How to Safely Pick Up a Cat

As often as you see mama cats carrying kittens by the scruff of the neck, this is not a safe way to hold a grown cat — even lightweight felines are too heavy to be supported properly by just that excess, loose skin. However, you may still see your vet use this technique (with another hand under the rear), since it causes the cat to go limp long enough to lift her on the table or slip a med.

So what's the best way to approach and pick up a kitty pal? Find out when you


  • Side step: Most cats don't like to be approached from the front and may lash out (since your friendly gesture could be interpreted as a front-on assault), so saddle up to the kit from the side.
  • Opposites in: Use the hand furthest from the feline to reach under the "armpit" section of the front legs and lift up.
  • Support scoop: As you lift, put your free hand under your cat's hind legs to support her bottom half.
  • Don't force it: If your cat struggles or squirms, put her down — she may have other plans on her agenda.

Do your cats like to be held?

Image Source: Thinkstock
Join The Conversation
rossy rossy 7 years
Cats have their own ways of doing things. Some are true loners who don't like being held, others can't get enough. I tend to let cats come to me... If they want to be held, meowing & a paw on the leg, does it for me. For example, my cat loved sleeping on back; if she saw a sneaker, she'd shove her head in & fall asleep that way. The first time I saw her doing that, I thought she has suffocated! I ran over, pulled her away & she growled at me, then rolled over & shoved her head back in the sneaker. LOL - I miss her still.
Triste3030 Triste3030 7 years
Awwwwww, that's how I carry my cat. But only for a short time because she doesn't like to be held!
UrbanBohemian UrbanBohemian 7 years
My cat likes to be held by my dad, who generally has the magic touch with animals. On the other hand, when I hold her, she wriggles away. I worry that my technique is a bit off, but this information helps.
princessgouveia princessgouveia 7 years
My cat's two favorite ways to be picked up is grabbing under his front paws around his torso and then holding him like a baby with his tummy up or being stretched out and put across my shoulders with front paws on the right shoulder and back paws stretched on my left shoulder. He always loves attention because he is just a very cuddly cat.
Alithyra Alithyra 7 years
Also keep claws trimmed. I've had several nasty scratches from my boys squirming down -- whether I've been putting them down or not.
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