Humane Handling of Cats: How To Do 3 Safe & Effective Holds
Here are three of the most effective and safe restraining holds for cats. When practicing these holds, avoid strong scents on your hands, such as perfumes, lotions or cigarettes. If possible, avoid handling dogs prior to handling cats.
Cat bed for Taco Hold
How Long It’ll Take:
Learning the hold takes time and patience. Practice on a stuffed animal or calm cat before attempting them on a cat you do not know. Prior to picking up a cat, give him a chance to get to know you by offering him the back of your hand to sniff or rub up against.
The Taco Hold
This is a win-win. The cat in a taco hold is tucked safely inside his cat bed—the “taco shell”— and you don’t have to worry about getting scratched or bitten. Simply fold the sides of the cat’s bed around him and firmly hold the bed in your arms. If needed, once the cat is out of his cage, you can use one hand to hold the back of his head for more control.
The Football Hold
This hold is aptly named since it resembles the hold a running back would use to move a football down the field. Note how the cat’s body weight is securely resting on the handler’s forearm, which is braced against her body for even more support. Since this is a one-handed hold, it is best to use it on calm, socialized cats.
The football hold can easily be modified into a two-hand hold by placing your second hand on the back of the cat’s neck. Keep your hand loose but ready, in case you need to grab hold of the cat’s neck for more control. Scruffing a cat where you firmly grasp the skin at the top of the neck or base of the head can cause some cats to become defensive—and it may not be necessary for all cats.
The Snake Hold
Place your forefinger and middle finger on top of the cat’s head and your thumb and ring finger under the jaw. This hold is a great alternative to scruffing calm cats, while allowing you access to scruff the cat if absolutely necessary. The snake hold is more advanced and requires practice prior to use on an unknown cat.