How to pick up your cat? That’s a very common cat question. Picking up your cat sounds simple enough but there’s actually an appropriate approach to pick up your feline companion. Most cats do prefer to be picked up and feel secure as you pick them up. So you don’t want to squeeze really tight or let their back legs dangle at all. That just makes them feel not very safe and so they’re more likely to squirm and try to get away from you. When you do pick up a cat, it’s important to pick them up in the proper way so they do feel secure.

Certain cats don’t enjoy being held, especially if held on their back or squeezed tightly. If your cat is skittish or aggressive or does not enjoy children, then you should not pick her up. The more points on a cat’s body that are touching your body, the more comfortable and relaxed your cat will be.

Approaching your cat

When you approach a cat, you want to diminish in size, make yourself smaller and less intimidating. Hold your hand out, so your cat can smell it. If your cat is not facing you, announce your presence and call your cat so she hears you. Don’t just go and grab her straight away.

After you’ve announced yourself, you should interact with her and do a little bit of petting. Confine your touches to her head since cats greet each other in the same way, where they will rub on the side on the muzzle and head area.

Picking up your cat

When you pick up a cat, first put one hand gripping behind their two front legs and have part of your arm resting on their lower chest so that you’re supporting a lot of the weight there. Then reach behind with your other hand and scoop up their back legs to tuck underneath their body. As you lift evenly with both arms, the cat stays level and you can slide your front hand up to support both legs while your arm is underneath her chest.

You can then pull the cat in close to their side touching your chest. This creates a secure hold where the cat feels supported on multiple sides. When a cat doesn’t feel that they’re in danger of falling, they will be more likely to relax. If you hold her away, they’re more likely to squirm and not feel safe, so hold her close.


Never put a kitty on its back unless you know the kitty very well. Cats have something called a righting reflex which means that they’ve got to turn themselves around. Some kitties are okay with that, but they have to really trust you, for you to let them do that.

When children hold small dogs or cats, they should sit cross-legged on the floor or sit on a couch. This allows for the dog or cat to make the choice to be on the child’s lap and they aren’t at risk of being dropped.

Placing them down

When placing down your cat, be sure that all four paws are on the ground or surface you’re placing her on. Steady her and then release your hands. Try to establish a positive association with your cat. Pick up and bring her to places she likes and wants to be in. Always try to give treats to your cat as you practice picking and releasing her.