“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.
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.
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.”
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.