How to Hold a Cat

How to Hold a Cat (The Right Way)

With their soft paws and cute faces, a kitty cuts a wonderful creature to hold and pet. But the feline population is also notorious for their erratic personalities; besides, they are easily frightened in the presence of visitors and can be indecisive with regards to affections from people they live with. For this reason, it is vital that you avoid scaring, frustrating, or hurting your pet cat by knowing the best way to hold it either standing or sitting. Holding a cat the wrong way might be detrimental to their safety; while struggling to jump down from your grasp, your furry friend might incur some injuries if it accidentally falls from your arms. To prevent such situations, read on to get the details on the best way to hold a cat, including how to let it down when your fun is over.

Woman holding a grey kitten

Support the Kitty While Holding It

When you hold a cat, ensure that its back paws have enough support. Create a platform for your feline friend to rest on by laying your arms on your torso. The cat’s rump can be supported within the crook of your elbow to allow its fore-paws to relax on your hand. When you observe that your cat is already comfortable, you can experiment with other ways of holding cat; however, it is all dependent on the personality and temperament of your feline companion.

There are cats that just love it when you hold them against your chest, especially with their forepaws high up on your shoulder – this gives the cat a clear view of the happening around while you move with it. There are still other felines that favor the posture of lying down on their backs and turning their tummies up, just in the same way as human babies.

Pet Your Kitty While Holding It

When your furry friend is held along the length of one of your hands, it means that your second hand will be completely free to pet and stroke it. Just be sure that its legs and body are continually supported. The stroking and petting are targeted at soothing the cat and this will make it feel comfortable enough to relax in your arms. It is also recommended that you talk to your cat in a soothing calm tone while it lies in your arms; by so doing, your pet is likely to feel at ease, and with time, it may even dose off.

Be Careful While Sitting

So, what’s the proper way to hold a cat while sitting? If you wish to sit and watch the television while holding your furry friend on your lap, then you will need to give your kitty a free hand to figure out the exact position it wants to sit in. The chances are that your furbaby might favor your laps and proceed to settle there. Most likely, it will just curl up on your lap or go for the indent between your two legs.

This sitting position is recommended for those who tend to hold cats too tight while standing, especially kids. It is common for a kid to mistakenly drop a cat while in a standing position. So, before handing your precious pet cat over to minor, have the child take a comfortable position sitting on the sofa or chair. However, you should ensure to instruct them on how to handle the cat first and let them know when to let the cat down. For sure, if the child is not properly instructed on how to hold a cat, they might end up incurring injuries as the cat will not hesitate to use its talons when it is held down against its will.

Place Is down Steadily

After you and your fur buddy are done with hanging out, it is time to put it down; but this has to be accomplished safely and gently. The best way to do this is to bend very low to the ground – that way, your cat’s paws will be very close to the ground, if not touching the floor. Its front paws should make contact with the ground first while you still support the back paws as your kitty steps out from your arms. Then, proceed to gently release your hands from its body completely. Part of the work will be done by your four-legged-buddy who will waste no time in jumping down from your arms, once it is close to the ground.

Know How to Properly Pick up a Cat

Cats are known to get startled easily, especially when they are exposed to sudden movements. Thus, the best way to approach one is by using a slow and steady method. When you are set to pick up a cat, first extend your hand, this way, it will be able to sniff you, and may proceed to rub its head against your fingers. This is a clear indication that your feline friend is in a very good mood. And when you finally pick it up, be sure to do it with both hands irrespective of the size of the cats. According to experts on cat behavior, “all cats need to be held with both hands, whether small or big.”

So, to safely pick up a cat one hand should go under its forelimbs, and the other should support the hind limbs and back end of the cat’s body. The ideal position is to support the cat’s hindquarters with the crook of your arm and never allow a cat’s limbs to dangle – this will only make it feel unsafe and unsupported.

Owner holding a cat


Generally, if cats should be presented with a choice, many of them are likely to opt for total freedom as they would prefer never to be picked up or even held. For a typical feline, there is great security in keeping all fours firmly on the solid ground, as well as the freedom to move at will. Many cats view being lifted up from the ground as a stressful situation and if your furbaby happens to be the type that is not accustomed to being picked up or harbors some fears about losing grip of the solid ground, picking the cat up may well create a situation where someone might get bitten or even scratched (you, no doubt). With the help of the above tips, you will be assured of careful handling of your kitty.


  1. How to Hold a Cat, HowStuffWorks
  2. Mikkel Becker, Fear Free Tips for Picking Up and Holding a Cat, VetStreet

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