Love Of Paws is reader-supported. When you purchase through one of our links we may earn a commission.
Home » How To Pick Up Your Cat: And How Not To

How To Pick Up Your Cat: And How Not To

August 20, 2021

Whether having a young kitty or an adult cat, all cat owners must be intrigued to know how to properly pick up a cat. It may sound like an easy task, but that is not the reality. It actually matters how you interact with your cat to keep them healthy and fearless. If you lack the right approach to properly picking up a cat, you can frighten her, resulting in an injury. Even moreso, we want to make sure our cat likes being picked up so we can keep doing it. In this blog, we will educate you and answer all your questions related to picking up a cat and teach you the right way to pick up every cat.

Picking Up A Cat

Approaching and picking up a cat can be intimidating for new cat owners. It is imperative to learn the right approach and appropriate way to pick up your kitten. Because if you do not do it properly, your cat may experience stress and will always become frightened and get away from you awkwardly.

Moreover, cats remember stressful events. Their memory can recall any stressful event of being picked up the wrong way and make them frightened again if they interact with the same person. Moreover, your cat can even bite or scratch you due to fear if not picked up properly.

So for picking up your cat properly, first of all, you need to learn how to approach her.

How To Approach A Cat

Well, a proper introduction is necessary between you and your furry feline. As humans are startled when they are woken up from sleep, cats are similar. So make sure you do not try picking up a cat while sleeping. Moreover, try to pick her up when she is relaxing. But how will you come to know that your cat is relaxed? 

Here are some signs that can help you identify your furry feline in a serene and calm state without any anxiety and stress if;

  • Look for the eyes of your cat. A cat’s eyes in the relaxed state are never wide open, and the pupils are also not in a dilated state.
  • Your cat is lying down quietly with not much body movements; she is relaxed!
  • Your cat is not wagging her tail
  • Your cats ears are in a forward-facing position
  • Your cats tail is not in a puffed-up position, and the fur is not on the end
  • Your cat produces no vocalization and growling

If you observe all these signs, which indicates that your cat is relaxed, try to approach her quietly and calmly. Start talking to her in a normal tone that is not too loud for her. Do not approach the cat with strange noises and laughter. Approach your cat steadily and slowly; moreover, try to avoid running towards her and avoid any fast movements.

If you are having trouble finding your cat in a relaxed state, they could be naturally anxious among humans. You can use CBD to help ease cats with extreme anxiety to put them in a calmer state as they get more used to human interactions.

Allow your cat to have the opportunity of sniffing you when you go near her. Take one hand a few inches away from the cat's face; if she is willing to be picked up by you, she will show the gesture by sniffing your hand and then thinking what to do next. If you observe that she is trying to pull her head away from your hand, shows uneasy body gestures, or flinches away, do not try to pick her up or approach her. These body movements that your cat is showing you indicate that she is not interested in interacting with you. Give her a little treat and show her some affection then try again.

On the other hand, if your cat is sniffing your hand and she appears relaxed, you can greet her with gentle petting on her face or neck a couple or more times. Please avoid patting her on the lower body parts other than the face or touching her paws or arm. Look for any signs of uneasiness such as tail wagging or dilation of the pupils. 

If there exist such signs of nervousness, do not try to approach her again because she could just not want to continue interacting with you. However, if you see that your cat is constantly relaxed throughout the process and even starts purring, she is receptive to being picked up or interacting with you.

As you have learned how to approach a cat, I will tell you how to appropriately pick up a cat?

How To Appropriately Pick Up A Cat?

Picking your cat appropriately up is challenging if you are not trained to do so. Following these simple steps will help you pick your cat efficiently. You just have to be calm and quiet while doing each of the steps below and remember to reward your cat for good behavior. Be alert and aware of your environment when you attempt to pick up a cat. And don't try to pick up your cat from behind! They will immediately run away.

Step 1: Arms and hands placement

Place one of your hands and the arms below the front legs and the other one below the back legs of your furry fellow to make her feel safe and provide her body full support. 

Step 2: Lift your furry fellow

After proper placement of your hands and arms below her body, pick up and hold your cat. After lifting, try to pull her closer to your body immediately, mainly the upper part of your body, the shoulders, or the chest. By immediately, I mean as soon as possible. 

Step 3: Have a firm grip on your cat

When you wrap your arms around your cat, make sure the rear end has the possible support. Try not to put extra pressure when you hold the cat. If your cat is one of the shy ones, she will try to hide her face in your arms. If she does so, let her do it. This gesture will provide her with a sense of security.

Step 4: Always continue to observe her body language

If your cat seems like she would like to be held, she may not continue enjoying it. So observe her for the following signs to judge if she wants you to set her free. Some of these cues are

  • Tail wagging
  • Growling
  • Stops purring
  • Squirming in your arms
  • Tensing her body

If you see any of these cues, I suggest setting the cat free on the ground quite gently and safely.

Step 5: Put her down in a quiet place

While setting her down the ground, you should kneel to assist her in jumping a lesser height. Even though she can jump from heights, cats like to be placed down gently, since they are not in control. If you have to set her free on a surface, try to reduce the height and proximity by bringing her close to the surface. Consequently, you will be befitting yourself and assuring your cat's safety too. Doing so will help you avoid the scratches the cats can leave from their rear feet to your arms which occurs commonly.

This was all about how to pick up a cat. Even if a cat doesn’t want to be picked up, this sniffing method will help. Here it is essential to learn about the mistakes that you should avoid when picking your cat up. 

Mistakes To avoid When Trying To Hold A Cat

The common mistake is being ignorant of the visible signs your cat is giving you that your cat does not want to be picked up at the moment. Being vigilant to the body language of your furry fellow at each step is crucial. Some other mistakes are;

  • Not properly introducing yourself to your cat. Rushing to pick her up and not allowing her to sniff your hand
  • Picking your cat up from the skin fold on her back in the shoulder and neck region
  • Not having a proper grip on your cat's body and keep her away from you, making her feel insecure.
  • Holding your cat for a long duration of time
  • Allowing young kids to hold a cat unsupervised

Having a pet cat comes with great responsibility. You need to ensure the safety and well-being of your furry felines. Preventing your cat from being stressed out is an art, particularly when picking her up. A new cat owner may not be able to pick up and hold a cat properly, but with some practice and by following the above guidelines, you can easily pick your cat up without causing any harm to her. If you find this article informative and helpful, please like, and share it with others to spread the word.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts

Why Is My Cat Always Meowing At The Door?

Cats and doors. We’ve talked about this habit before. If you’re wondering why your cat keeps meowing at the door, you’ve come to the right place. Our cat Naz is famous for this, and we’re going to discuss all the common issues and quick solutions to at least calm this habit down.  First, Why Do […]

Read More
Why Do Cats Cover Their Faces When They Sleep?

A cat sleeping with their paws over their face is close to the cutest image a person could ask for. And while it’s an adorable pose to walk in on, it begs the question why? Is there an actual reason that some cats love to cover their faces when they sleep, or is it just […]

Read More
Cat Safe Air Fresheners

If you’ve ever been concerned that your commercial air freshener is releasing toxins into the air you are absolutely correct, and it’s critical that your cats avoid these noxious smells.  You may not know this, but your cat's body is already working hard to detoxify numerous pollutants in the air. We love keeping our cats […]

Read More
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram