How to pick up a cat like a pro - Vet advice on cat handling.

Sharing buttons:

Hi, my name is Dr. Uri Burstyn

I'm a veterinarian in Vancouver BC and I'd like to welcome you to my series of practical skills for pet owners

We're here today with Claudia, she's a little one-year-old girl cat and

We're gonna have Mr. Pirate joining us a little bit later just to talk a little bit about

Proper cat handling. So this might - it's gonna be a fun little video

We're just going to talk about how to approach and handle a cat

You know when I'm in clinics I often see people walking around swinging their cat like this

And it really just kind of makes me cringe because that's not comfortable for the cat or that safe to be honest with you

so I just want to kind of go over a little bit how to pick up a cat and different ways of managing them just

To make your life a little bit easier

You know when you're approaching a cat, it's nice to introduce yourself, you know, let them sniff your hand notice

I keep my fingers curled a little bit

So if the cat doesn't really want my company she can't really chomp me when my fingers are curled. So introduce yourself,

give them a little bit of a scratch just on the side of the face like that or a little tickle under the chin and

There we go. We just made friends with this wonderful little cat

If you're just approaching a cat to just pat them and have fun with them

You have to remember that cats can spook very easily. So you do kind of want to take it easy with them

They're also much smaller than us. So a light touch typically pays off with a cat

You can tickle them a little bit stroke them

But most people try to pick up cats and that's kind of we get into trouble

So the key to picking up a cat safely is to make them feel supported

So I always pick up a cat with one hand under the chest one hand under the abdomen and then we can lift them up

Sort of even forced gently. So they're not hanging down. They're not flopping about. That way they'll be

Comfortable and also that way you'll be safe because what happens when you have a cat swing free in the air

Is, they'll often start to scramble for purchase they'll get you with their hind legs.

They can do quite a bit of damage I mean and I've been scratched quite badly on my forearms just with a with a cat

going for a little bit of a paddle with their legs and


Raking me and this is quite common

It's probably the most common way people get scratched either if a cat just feels insecure

Tries to grab purchase tries to scramble up onto something out of your hands and that's when you get a little bit injured

It's very little kids swing cats around can can get a bit of strife that way

so just nice and supported hold them up and then if I need to carry a cat around

I usually just holding close to my body

And again, I'm just squishing them squishing them into myself, you know that way Claudia feels nice and supported

I'll put my hand out here for her put her paws down and you know

I can carry her around quite safely like this and and and she won't want to get away

Now if we do have a cat who's trying to get away from us?

We always squish that cat

If you're trying to hold the cat down

whether it's

To trim their nails or to give them a pill or whether you just want to have a cat not run off for a moment

Squish that cat. All you need to know about cat restraint is to squish that cat

again, feel very secure that way and they generally even if they're really scared like sometimes cats come to me in the clinic and they're

Quite afraid and you just gently squish them and they'll sit there and kind of not hurt themselves not hurt us

Just hang out and let us do our thing

If you have a towel handy

This is one of the best cat restraint tools around

You can just throw a towel in the caddy and squish over the towel

that way they won't get a claw into you if there are scrambling about a bit very safe and gentle and

Generally cats are very very happy to be squished like that

Now if you have one other thing I want to show you with Claudia. Hey, darling, where you going?

Is a football carry. So this is kind of an emergency way. If you really need to carry a cat through somewhere in a hurry


Maybe there's not much time

what you're gonna do this scoop her up, little football carry just like that. Little head's under your arm

butt in your hand and you squish her tight to your body and

with that little football carry

You can basically hold a cat very securely and very safely

Because it's really hard for them to rake you with their hind legs

If you're holding them like this just squish them really tight to your body. You don't have to worry about hurting a cat

they're very very tough little beasts and

You know just squish you against your bodies. Never going to do them any harm.

In fact, they tend to feel more safe and secure

When they're being held tightly

now, I'm just gonna

Say goodbye to little Claudia and bring Mr. Pirate in who's another cat and

Show you some shoulder cat techniques

Right. So we're here with Mr. Pirate to demonstrate a behavior that I call shoulder cats

So Pirate is a shoulder cat he loves being on shoulders. Some cats

This is their favorite position to be in it's really convenient for your cat like that because they're really easy to carry around

But some people get put off by shoulder cats. So let me show you why

All right, Mr. Pirate he's my handsome little he's 14 year old boy

Very handsome a little bit chubby. Quite beautiful though. Look at that face. Look at that face

So notice see how he tried to get up on my shoulder there for a second

So when we're hanging out with pirate his main goal is to get up on my shoulder

And that can be a little scary to people because if people are standoffish or if you understand what's going on

He could potentially scratch you because cats will naturally put their claws out to climb. So look at him

He's looking at my shoulder

all I have to do is lean down and he's gonna scramble his way up and a lot of cats are shoulder cats and this is


Sometimes you've gotta be a little bit careful when a cat goes up on your shoulder because it can shoot off behind you and run off

And give your back a bit of a scratch or sometimes they try to scramble around the back of your neck

but as I said before squishing is your best friend when you're dealing with a cat so

You have a cat on your shoulder. You squish them nice and tight and he's gonna stay there

Now if you're wearing a jumper or a hoodie - something like a thick jacket

Cats can actually climb up on your shoulders and be really comfortable.

I've seen people walking around town with a cat in their hoodie

Usually it's a good idea to have a harness on them when you do that

But this is a really great way to carry a cat around. Now not all cats go for this.

But if you do have a cat who insists on being lifted up you basically just lean forward. Let me demonstrate that again


Notice, - Oh, I should show you how to put him down as well

But if you have a cat who wants to come up you lean forward and he'll just put himself up and you support his bottom

And there you have it and when you try to put him down, often he won't want to

So you have two choices one is just to lean back and they'll kind of leap off your back

not the safest thing. Two, is to support your little cat and just lean forward lean forward lean forward and eventually

They'll right themselves and hang out. So that's how you deal with a shoulder cat

Now I hope you enjoyed this video, please

give us a like, feel free to share it, and

Just remember to have fun with your cat.