The Dos and Don’ts of Cat Handling


Holding your cat incorrectly or forcing her to stay in your arms is a quick way to earn a few cat scratches. For a purr-worthy experience instead, learn how to pick up and hold your cat with these tips.

The proper way to pick up and hold your cat:

  • Do place one hand under your cat’s chest, behind her front legs. The other hand should support her back paws and hind quarters. Lift the cat and hold her with her side leaning against your body.
  • Do hold her close against your chest or front to help her feel more comfortable and secure.
  • Do always support her hind legs. Your cat may get upset otherwise and will have her back paws free to scratch you.
  • Do have kids sit down when holding a cat, so the cat doesn’t feel in danger of falling. If the cat struggles, children should let go and not squeeze her.
  • Do let her go if your cat shows signs of aggression (growling, dilated pupils, a swishing tail) before or after she’s picked up.
  • Don’t hold her against her wishes. Spend more time getting her used to sitting in your lap before you try picking her up again.
  • Don’t drop your cat when releasing her. Place her down gently instead.
  • Don’t pick her up by the scruff of the neck unless it’s an emergency.


Picking up a cat incorrectly can cause your pet stress, discomfort or even serious harm. We hope these tips will help you handle your cat safely and comfortably.