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A Vet Explains How to Pick Up Your Cat Like a Pro (Bye Bye Scratches)


Cat owners know that these little furry friends are not always willing to be picked up. Sometimes, you just try to pick up your pet and you end up with a big red scratch on your face. Cats don’t really care if you have to take them to the vet or whatever. Picking up and carrying a cat can be a simple operation (and safe, you really don’t need to get scratched). But for that to happen, Dr. Uri Burstyn, a veterinarian from Canada, told us what his secret is.

Start by checking whether or not your pet is willing to be picked up.

Whether it is because you want to express your love for your cat or because you actually have to hold it to give it some medicine, carrying them is a delicate operation. Still, everything can go just fine and you can manage not to be scratched if you do things right. The trick is pretty simple, and actually quite straightforward: you have to make your cat feel comfortable and safe before and while it is in your arms.

Pick up technique #1: Chest and abdominal grip

The veterinarian says that “the key to picking up a cat safely is to make them feel supported.” We can do that by placing one hand on the cat’s chest while the other hand is on its abdominal area. Then slowly lift the kitty up. By lifting up the cat in this way, it will not be hanging from its armpits. As long as it feels comfortable, the cat will not feel compelled to “kick” in the air with its hind legs, which also lessens your chances of being scratched. Now, if we want to prevent it from running away, the secret is to put a bit of pressure on it. If you already have the cat in your arms, it is recommended to hold it close to your body. Then, if you need for it to be still, for example, so you can cut its nails or something like that, you can just hold it closer to your body. Don’t be afraid of doing this, because the cat will not only not feel pain, it will actually feel protected and safe, so it will stop moving.

Pick up technique #2: The football carry

Another way to hold a cat is what Dr. Burstyn calls the “football carry technique,” you’ll see why in a minute. This technique basically consists of a simple way of holding the cat by its abdomen and its bottom, while making sure that its head is located under our arm. If you’ve ever held a football, you’ll probably understand what it feels like. In this case, you can also be holding the cat tightly against your chest so that it feels safe and secure. If you ever find yourself in an emergency situation or in some scenario where you have to act fast, this technique is probably the best call to pick up your cat. It’s efficient and safe. It also comes with the added benefit that one of your hands will always be laying on its back, so that makes it way easier to control its hind legs and prevent it from scratching you.

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