More on how to hold a cat . . .

“How to hold a cat who is wiggly” is a hot topic among readers of my blog.  People come to this site in search of answers.

The image below will help you to understand the logic behind safe and comfortable cat restraint. I often review this book. Since I spend my work hours handling cats, knowing their anatomy definitely helps.

First, notice that cats walk on their fingers and toes, both of which are called phalanges.

Walking on their toes gives cats grace and lightness.

Second, notice that cats crouch when they walk.  The front legs (humerus, radius and ulna) are in a wide V shape, as are the rear legs (femur, tibia and fibula).

The crouching walk is part of what enables cats to perform an explosive jump, propelling them from the floor to the top of a cabinet.  They are perpetually in a pre-jump position.  There is power in those bent legs, particularly the rear legs.  Cats use rabbit-kicks to pummel opponents during battles and play time.

If you look at photos of runners at a starting line, you will notice that they are in a similar position to the cat below.  They are poised for explosive movement forward or upward.

Which explains this.

Keep feline anatomy in mind so that you won’t be surprised if your cat suddenly leaps up and out of your arms.  If they are positioned to be able to successfully kick at you, you’ve probably already lost your chance to restrain them.

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Why cat eyes look like cat eyes

Why cats have slit-shaped pupils
The eyes of an ambush predator who happens to live in your home and sleep in your bed.

Cats are ambush predators. If you’ve ever been ambushed by your own cat, this will come as no surprise.  This also explains why cats love to hide behind doors prior to pouncing on unsuspecting toys.

“Species with pupils that are vertical slits are more likely to be ambush predators that are active both day and night. In contrast, those with horizontally elongated pupils are extremely likely to be plant-eating prey species with eyes on the sides of their heads.”

” Circular pupils were linked to “active foragers,” or animals that chase down their prey.”

Humans have circular pupils.

But wait, there’s more.

“A surprising thing we noticed from this study is that the slit pupils were linked to predators that were close to the ground,” said William Sprague, a postdoctoral researcher in Banks’ lab. “So domestic cats have vertical slits, but bigger cats, like tigers and lions, don’t. Their pupils are round, like humans and dogs.”

From Science Advances, by way of ScienceDaily

“I can’t pick up my cat. My cat is too wiggly.”

Try the “football” hold.

Tuck the cat’s body into your waist, with your forearm pressed against your cat’s torso and your hand under his chest. If your cat wiggles, use your other hand to hold on to the loose fur around his scruff (back of his neck).  I call this the “football” hold because it reminds me of the way football players hold the ball when they’re running down the field.

Lion Cut + Old, skinny cat = Blood + Stitches

Bad human!
Yep. You don’t want to be the one who did this.

There’s a heap of denial among cat-loving humans who have skinny, old cats.

Is a cute-looking haircut and less fur on the sofa worth blood and stitches? If you say HECK YEAH! then go to it. Fire up that clipper.

I’m of the opinion that the answer is HECK NO.  I won’t do a lion cut if the cat is likely to be nicked during the shaving process.

I do make an exception for old cats who are so matted that they are uncomfortable. Their comfort is important, so it’s worth the risk.

Long-haired old cats stay dirtier and can’t deal with their own fur. Their tongue is worn out, I guess, not to mention the arthritis. They’re like that uncle who drinks too much and can’t remember to comb his hair . . . . you know, the uncle with the shirts covered with stains? You won’t do his laundry because who knows what he’s gotten into?

Cat skin is as thick as your eyelid. Think about that. You want me to come over and shave your eyelid?

The technical, boring discussion is below. You can skip it, unless you’re deeply interested in shaving cat’s privates.

1. Cat clippers work best on a flat plane. They zip along a flat surface and get every last hair off quickly and safely.

2. Cat clippers on an angle aim the blade at tender skin.  The blade isn’t parallel to the skin.  It’s going INTO the skin.  DANGER ZONES: clipping the fur in the underarms or between the rear legs. “I can’t believe what I’m seeing” thin skin combined with peaks and valleys. DANGER.

3. The thinner the cat, the more peaks and valleys, and the harder it is to shave safely. Shaving a fat cat is like shaving a balloon. It’s much easier to  shave a fat cat than a skinny cat.

4. The older the cat, the thinner and looser the skin.

Comb your cat every day, gently work on the mats with a comb, or maybe a round-tip scissor. If you’re a butterfingers be patient.  Spend some money on my services if you can’t do it yourself.

Awwww. Kisses.
Awwww. Kisses.

 

 

 

 

Cats see the world in soft focus

Emmaseyes
My 14 year old cat’s eyes

The cat’s world is seen in soft focus, however; it cannot resolve detail sharply because the lens in its eye is large to gather as much light as possible.

The New Encyclopedia of the Cat by Dr. Bruce Fogle DVM

This type of eyesight must make it impossible to make out the details of a claw trimmer or even a comb.  Cat groomers need tuna-scented trimmers!

 

 

 

Cat skin more than 50% thinner than dog skin

Why cat groomers need to be very careful when we shave a cat . . .

Human skin:  0.5 mm to 4.0 mm     *eyelids are 0.5 mm thick

Canine skin:  0.5 mm to 5.0 mm

Feline skin: 0.4 mm to 2.0 mm  

So the thickest part of your cat’s skin is still only 4 times as thick as your eyelid!!

25.4 mm = 1 inch

 

Sources:

http://www.researchgate.net/publication/15332170_Histologic_features_of_normal_canine_and_feline_skin

http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/body/factfiles/skin/skin.shtml