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How to Hold a Cat

Cats can be fickle creatures -- wanting to nuzzle one moment and then being aloof the next. It's important to teach your cat how to be held and handled in order to properly socialize it and keep it from harming humans [source: PHS/SPCA]. Learning where to hold your cat will ensure a loving relationship on both sides. Read the tips listed below and learn about how to hold your cat.

  • Reading its mood It's important to read your cat's mood before handling it. If you get it at a wrong time, you may run the risk of getting scratched or bitten. Always approach a cat slowly and gently so that it can get used to your smell and presence [source: HSUS].
  • Teaching it to cuddle If your cat doesn't like to be touched it's best to get acquainted first by petting it when it's tired. Slowly and gently stroke its head and back. If you see it's enjoying the contact, increase the strokes to include the back legs and tail. Your cat will show you that it's enjoying being petted by rolling over onto its back to have its tummy rubbed. Use encouraging words and treats to reward your cat for being stroked [source: PHS/SPCA].
  • Holding a cat Some ways of holding a cat are more comfortable for the cat than others. Hold the cat against your body, supporting the rump in one hand. With the other hand, gently stroke it across its front legs or under its chin. You can also support the length of its body with one arm, with its rump in your elbow and the front legs supported by your hand. With your other hand, stroke the chin or ears [source: HSUS].