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  Cat psychology:  
Cats’ Psychological Health (3)

Right Ways to Hold Cats

Correct ways to keep and care for cats are very important. Of course, owners do not want to hurt their own cats. But once cats feel unsafe, they will try to run away, and this act will hurt their owners’ feelings. A Few tips are given as follows, and owners can master these skills and put them into practice frequently. If you have kids, you must teach them how to get along with cats peacefully (It seems that usually cats are more tolerant to kids than to adults.)

Cats’ whiskers and tails are sensitive to touch. Do not grasp or pull cats’ whiskers and tails. Cats’ tails are extension of chine, and overdue pulling will damage the nerves at the end of chine, which are important nerves that control urination and defecation. 

You must hold cats gently and firmly! Cats are good at reading their owners’ body language. If owners are not confident about doing something (such as feeding medicine to them) while holding cats, cats will sense it and will take advantage of this to make trouble.

The best way to hold cats is to reach out your hand first and let the cat smell it, which will let the cat know who you are. Then scratch between its chin and ears, which will make the cat feel less threatened. Place one hand under the cat’s two forelegs firmly, and lift its hind legs with the other hand. Hold the cat gently against your body. A cat with a sense of security will not struggle any more.

It is also feasible to scratch the skin behind cats’ neck. But note that do not try to lift the cat up in this way. Mother cats usually use this method to catch their own babies. Most cats will feel relaxed with this. But big cats cannot be controlled effectively with this method, and you have to hold their hind legs as well.

Some cats can stand being held by their owners like a baby. But few can accept such passive posture as lying on the back with four legs pointing up.

If your cat gets under the furniture and you fail to induce her out with food and toys, the best way to pull her out is to grab her nape instead of pulling her legs since it may result in dislocation.

Each cat’s tolerance of holding varies. You can hold some cats and walk around but some will flee as soon as they see you approaching. Some can accept being held for a while before they find a change to run away. It is crucial for owners to understand and accept their cats’ character. When cats stand or sit on fixtures (on the floor or furniture), they like to be held by their owners.

If your cat is scared or hurt, it cannot be held in traditional ways. You can first cover her head with a blanket or towel before holding her up. She will feel calmer if she does not see you. For the sake of safety, it is better to transfer the cat into a box.

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