Tip – 24 – Picking up a cat – How to pick up and hold a cat or kitten
In general it is best for humans not to pick up kittens before they are 2 weeks old. From 2 – 4 weeks old only brief handling is recommended, as this often puts stress on the cat and the mother. If you are trying to pick up and hold a young kitten you can pick it up by the loose skin or scruff at the back of its neck. This is how their mothers move them around. If done right, it won’t hurt them because they do not weigh much and their neck skin is really loose. Never pick up grown cats in this way because you can hurt them.
One of the safest ways to pick up a grown cat or a kitten, is to approach the animal from the side. Take one hand and place it palm up (or 4 fingers up) on the belly right behind the front legs. Then take the other hand palm up, cross over the cats back and place it under the cats belly in front of the hind legs. Then pull the whole cat close to your body.This gives the cat a lot of support and makes it feel secure.
Never pick up a cat by its tail or by its legs. It is dangerous to the cat (possible dislocation) and the cat can easily scratch you.
Don’t let young children (under 6) try to pick up cats or kittens, as their jagged movements are likely to startle the cat and they risk getting scratched. It is much better for an adult to pick up the cat and let the child stroke its back.