The fear of petting or carrying a cat stems from the fact that there is a possibility of getting scratched. Just like us humans, cats want to be handled the right way. When cats are lifted off from the ground, they start to lose a sense of security. Hence, it is exceptionally important to carry them the right way.
If you are a new cat owner or can’t resist handling these cute creatures, here’re some tips to follow.
1. Know the cat’s temperament
If you are the new owner, you should learn to understand your cat’s temperament. There’s no way you can handle a cat without know how it behaves. Some cats enjoy close human contact while some don’t. Some don’t want to be disturb while doing something while some are desire human touch more than the others. Do look out for your cat’s behavioural traits to know it better e.g. some purr or rub themselves against the owner to show they are ready to socialise.
Once you grasp a good idea of the cat’s tolerance level when it comes to carrying, proceed with careful. If you are not the owner, always ask the owner before reaching out to handle the cat. We’ve seen some nasty scratches on strangers who just pounced on their friend’s cat without knowing how it behaves.
2. Start off slow
You can start with soft strokes to pet the cat, allowing it to get comfortable with you. Do not startle the cat by reaching out to carry it out from its sight or make loud noises. This is a sure way to get fresh scratches on your arm. You should sit down on the floor to put yourself at his level. Looming over him only makes you appear larger and potentially threatening. Do not chase after him if he choose to leave your area. This shows the cat isn’t ready for human interaction.
3. Place hands at the right places
You can start by placing one hand in between the two front legs with the palm placed on the chest. Part of the arm of this hand should be resting below the cat’s neck. The other hand can scoop the two hind legs to create a stand using the palm. Hold the cat close to your body. The more contact points you have with the cat, the more comfortable it feels. Always make them feel nice and supported. Sometimes a light squish will make them feel secure.
4. Never lift by the scruff
Only female cats carry their kitten by their scruff. If you were to do so, it will create stress even if the cat isn’t struggling. Heavier cats might even find it painful. Always handle a cat with both hands.
5. Look out for signs of agitation
If the cat is growling, having dilated pupils or swishing its tail, these are signs to let go of it. The cat is obviously experiencing discomfort or feeling insecure. Do not fight with the cat for its affection.
6. Use a towel
If you are trying to carry a cat under emergency situations, you can use a towel to assist. This allows the cat to feel snug and there is a lesser chance of it escaping from your hands.