Learning how to hold a cat properly will ensure the safety of both parties. A cat that is held incorrectly could get hurt and will almost always be unhappy. He or she may in turn scratch, bite, or try to get away from your grasp.
- Approach the cat from the side. This helps ensure that you do not startle the animal or scare the cat away. Picking a cat up from the side is also a comfortable position to begin the following steps.
- Support the cat's stomach. Gently place your palm flat against the cat's stomach just behind the front legs. Lift here first and pull the cat towards you.
- Support the rest of the cat's body. Cross your other hand over the cat and place your other hand under the cat's lower back. This allows you to support the cat's butt and back legs.
- Hold the cat close to your body. Resting the cat against your chest or shoulder helps to support the cat's body weight and make him or her feel secure. The cat may place a paw against you to feel comfortable in your grasp.
Never pick up a cat by the legs, tail, or neck. Grabbing the legs or tail could injure the cat. While a mother cat will carry her kitten by the back of the neck, this is not recommended unless you are experienced with animals and picking up a kitten that is under four weeks old.
- Teach children the proper way to hold a cat. Small children should not attempt to pick up cats until they are old enough to keep a strong and stable hold on the cat without squeezing too hard. It is best for children to watch adults hold a cat properly and pet it gently while it is in the adult's arms.