How To Restrain A Cat

Humane Handling of Cats: How To Do 3 Safe & Effective Holds

These three restraining grips for cats are the most effective and safest you can use. When practicing these holds, avoid putting strong fragrances on your hands, such as perfumes, lotions, or cigarettes, because they will interfere with your practice. If at all possible, refrain from handling dogs before handling cats.


Taco Hold’s cat bed is a must-have.

How Long It’ll Take:

It takes time and patience to become proficient at the hold. Before attempting them on a cat you are unfamiliar with, practice with a toy animal or a calm cat first. Provide a cat with an opportunity to get to know you before taking him up by providing him the back of your hand to smell or brush up against before picking him up.


This is a win-win situation. The cat in a taco hold is safely tucked away within his cat bed—the “taco shell,” and you won’t have to worry about being clawed or bitten as a result of the arrangement. It’s as simple as folding the cat’s bed sides around him and holding the bed tightly in your arms. Once the cat has been released from his cage, you may use one hand to grab the back of his head to exert additional control over him if necessary.

The Burrito Hold

Due to the fact that it mimics the hold a running back would use to propel a football down the field, this hold was given its name. Take note of how the cat’s body weight is safely supported by the handler’s forearm, which has been pressed against her body for even more support. Because this is a one-handed grip, it is best used on cats who are calm and well-socialized. By placing your second hand on the back of the cat’s neck, you may quickly convert the football hold into a two-hand hold for more control.

The act of scruffing a cat at the area where you firmly grasped the skin at the top of the neck or the base of the head might lead some cats to become defensive—and it may not be required in all cases.

The Snake Hold

Make a fist with your forefinger and middle finger on top of the cat’s head and your thumb and ring finger beneath the cat’s lower jaw. This hold is an excellent alternative to scruffing calm cats, while still providing you access to the cat if it is absolutely essential to scruff him. The snake grip is a more sophisticated hold that should be practiced before being used on an unfamiliar cat.

Additional Resources

  • Handling Cats Humanely: Hands-Free Tools
  • Webinar: Humane Feline Handling 101
  • Humane Feline Handling 101

We have a great deal more information on this subject:

How to Restrain a Cat: 7 Steps (with Pictures)

It may become essential for you to restrict your cat at some points. As long as your cat is well-behaved and accustomed to being handled, you should have no problems. In contrast, if a cat is agitated, furious, damaged or sick, or just does not want to be touched, you will need to employ some specialized approaches. Priority one is to protect the safety and well-being of you and your cat at all times during the procedure.

  1. 1Determine how much restriction is necessary. Keep in mind that using the least degree of restriction possible while yet successfully restricting the cat is often the most effective approach to prevent causing the cat undue distress. Consider the following scenario: if you can easily pick up your cat and relocate it away from a dangerous position, you should do so. 2 Scuff the cat’s fur. It is possible to use the cat’s scruff to confine the cat for quick and painless treatments such as administering a tablet or drops in the ear. As long as you do not attempt to raise the cat by the scruff of the neck, this method of confinement is totally appropriate. Ideally, the cat’s body should be rested on a level surface such as the table, the floor, or counter while using this approach. In order to control the cat, one should grasp the loose skin on the back of the neck with one hand.
  • As the cat is looking away from you, use your dominant hand to hold the loose skin (the scruff) in a tight grip with your dominant hand. The cat will feel more safe in your grasp, and it is possible that this will have some little soothing effects on the cat, provided that it is not very distressed. While holding the scruff, you may use your other hand to grip the back legs of the cat and turn it over on its side for a better view. Using one hand, wrap your index finger around the lower rear legs, and then gently extend the cat out from between the legs, if necessary. The cat’s front feet will frequently hold onto the edge of whatever it is resting on, preventing the cat from moving. Never pick up a cat by the scruff of the neck. You can damage the cat in this manner since it is unable to support the body weight of a fully grown cat.
  • 3 Attach a harness on the cat’s neck. Using a harness, you can maintain a solid grasp on the cat, even while it is attempting to flee from your presence. The bottom line is that a correctly fitted harness will provide you with a good grip on the cat when mild restraint is required
  • A harness is preferred than a collar since a collar can injure the cat’s neck or cause it to strangle itself. In fact, a leash may be used to create an efficient cat harness for your feline friend.
  1. 1 Obtain all of the essential equipment. There is certain equipment that you will require in order to securely confine a cat. These are some examples:
  • When it comes to muzzles, there are particular muzzles manufactured for cats that are distinct from the muzzles used on dogs. Typically, they are a “full face” style muzzle that prevents the cat from seeing while the straps Velcro in place behind the ears
  • However, they can be customized. Cats may be restrained using a towel, which is large enough to cover their entire body and prevent them from clawing your legs.
  • 2 Put a muzzle on the cat’s mouth. Cat muzzles are intended to keep a cat quiet by restricting the cat’s eyesight so that it is unable to locate its prey. These are put on over the nose and face and secured in place behind the ear with a strap, generally with a Velcro fastening but occasionally with a plastic snap, that is tightened around the ear. It is still possible for a cat to try to bite through this muzzle, and unless confined, it will be able to utilize its feet and claws. These are only intended to be used for a few minutes at a time to complete treatments that take less than 10 minutes to complete, such as nail trimming or rapid grooming.
  • It goes without saying that a muzzle is not an acceptable instrument when it comes to accessing the mouth (for example, to give a pill or inspect the teeth), looking at the eyes, or placing eye medicine in the eyes. In addition, if the cat has respiratory difficulties or a lung or nasal issue, a muzzle should not be used. The use of a muzzle on cats with “squished faces” (such as Persians) is probably not recommended due to the possibility of respiratory issues. The cat should be removed from the muzzle as soon as possible if it has any breathing difficulties (rapid breathing, asthma, or becomes extremely upset (yowling and thrashing wildly)
  • Keep an eye out for any bites.
  • 3 To confine the cat, wrap it in a towel. Place the bath towel, fully unfolded, on a table or counter-top for easy access. Make a hole in the center of the towel and position the cat so that the length of its body is parallel to the shorter dimension of the towel (see illustration). Pull one end of the towel up over the cat’s body until it reaches the opposite side of its body, while providing moderately hard pressure to the towel to ensure that it is tightly wrapped around the cat. Afterwards, fold over the opposite side of the cat, thereby creating a kitty burrito out of it.
  • In order to prevent the cat from pulling its legs out of the towel, ensure that the sides of the towel are tightly held up. If required, use the scruff method to keep the cat in place, using your non-dominant hand to keep the cat immobile
  • It’s important to remember that a cat may still utilize its teeth when in this posture. It is possible to hold the cat’s head firm by placing a hand behind it, allowing you to keep your hands away from its mouth
  • However, this is not recommended. You may use a muzzle in conjunction with a thick towel to provide an excellent, comprehensive method of controlling a cat.
  • 4 In an emergency case, you should be able to restrain a cat faster. You may need to pick up a cat right away in some situations, such as when it is furious or wounded. Wrap the cat in a big bath towel or a folded blanket and throw it over him. Grab the cat while it is still covered with the cloth from the sides and place it in a carrier as soon as possible.
  • In this situation, you must use extreme caution since an angry or injured cat may bite you.

Create a new question

  • Question How do you capture a cat that is tough to catch? A veterinarian with over 30 years of expertise in veterinary surgery and companion animal practice, Dr. Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS, is a member of the British Veterinary Medical Association. Veterinary medicine and surgery were among the subjects she studied when she graduated with honors from the University of Glasgow in 1987. She has been employed at the same animal clinic in her hometown for more than two decades now. An Answer from a Veterinarian Putting a cloth over the cat’s head might assist to soothe and pacify the animal. After then, make an attempt to grab the cat by its shoulders. In this way, the cat will be less likely to turn and bite, because all of its claws will be safely hidden behind the towel.

Inquire about something There are 200 characters remaining.

Include your email address so that you may be notified when this question has been resolved. Submit

  • Make an appointment with your veterinarian to have them demonstrate these restraint techniques to you before attempting them at home. A second person to assist with cat confinement can make the process less stressful for everyone involved in the process, including the cat.
  • In the event that your cat grows too wild for you to retain control of, stop whatever you’re doing and let it out into the wild. If your cat attacks you, you should seek medical attention. Cat bites have the potential to become infected very fast. A cat that defecates or urinates when confined is growing too anxious to be restrained any longer

About this article

Thank you to all writers for contributing to this page, which has been read 21,394 times so far.

Did this article help you?

According to the findings of a study on the wellbeing of cats during handling, a regularly employed strategy may not be the most effective. “When dealing with scared or aggressive cats, veterinarians and non-veterinary personnel frequently utilize restraint involving immobilization for examinations and operations,” writes Dr. Carly M. Moody, who just finished a PhD in epidemiology at the University of Guelph Ontario Veterinary College. She and her colleagues came to the conclusion that this type of handling was connected with a variety of signs of feline stress and anxiety.

The cat is only permitted to move its head, torso, and limbs to a limited extent.” Passive restraint, on the other hand, is characterized as the cat being restrained without actively doing anything “holding the cat softly and with the least degree of constraint possible in a posture determined by the cat (standing, sitting or laying).

The researchers conducted a study with 51 healthy shelter cats that had been in the shelter for at least one week and were available for adoption.

  • Cats were 8.2 times more likely than dogs to resist when subjected to full-body restraint. Examining with full-body constraint increased the time it required to do the examination by more than twofold. Full-body confinement resulted in greater lip licking, ear gripping to one side and back, higher respiratory rate, and increased pupil dilation. Cats confined with passive restraint were 6.1 times more likely than other cats to remain on the examination table after they were freed.

The findings of the study were published in the July 2018 edition of Applied Animal Behavioural Science.

Handling of cats

The handling of cats and communication with cat customers at the clinic are two parts of the Cat Friendly Clinic program that are at the heart of its success.

Educating and informing owners

The majority of cats and cat owners find the experience of visiting the veterinarian clinic distressing – some significantly more so than others. It is critical to understand fundamental feline behavior and to be able to teach customers about feline behavior (such as why cats become anxious and how to address their physical and emotional requirements in the home setting). Fortunately, most of this information is addressed in theGuide to Creating a Cat Friendly Clinic, which is made freely available to any clinics that express an interest in participating in the Cat Friendly Clinic initiative.

See also:  How To Make A Cat Come To You

Cat carriers and transporting the cat

Talking to the cat’s owner about the best way to get the cat to the clinic, for example, is a crucial component of the owner communication process.

  • The most appropriate sort of cat carrier
  • Making certain that the carrier is utilized as a regular component of the home environment (and not only when the pet is taken to the veterinarian! )
  • In the carrier, the application of Feliway® Classic spray and bedding derived from the home environment
  • Putting a carrier in the automobile and making sure it is secure
  • In addition to knowing what to do when cats arrive at the clinic,

In addition, several of these are described in further detail in the owner brochure on bringing your cat to the clinic.

Handling cats in the clinic

It is critical to consider various elements of handling and assessing cats when working in a clinic setting. These are mostly addressed in the following books:

  • The Guide to Creating a Cat Friendly Clinic (which will be made accessible to you after you have registered)
  • These guidelines include the ISFM Feline-Friendly Handling Guidelines, as well as the ISFM Feline-Friendly Nursing Care Guidelines, among others.

Among the most important concerns are:

  • You should strive to take advantage of the fact that certain individuals are inherently more empathic towards animals than others. In the event that you have veterinarians, nurses, and technicians that adore cats and are more empathic with them, devote the majority of your staff time to caring for your feline patients. Some individuals are more compassionate and understanding of cats than others. However, everyone can learn and improve their cat knowledge and handling abilities – ensure this occurs at your clinic. Maintaining a welcome environment for cats, and treating them with tenderness and respect on the part of all employees Heavy restraint should only be used as a last option since cats respond better (and are less afraid) to soft handling
  • Gentle handling should always be used first. The ability to recognize when cats are expressing fear and anxiety and to respond correctly (for example, by placing the cat in a quiet area for a short period of time to calm down) is essential. As much as feasible, the clinic atmosphere should be as peaceful as possible, with care paid to odors and bright lights that may be unpleasant for the cat. As much as possible, avoid direct eye contact with cats because this may be considered as menacing by them. When possible, let the cat to initiate contact (for example, by placing your hand near the cat and allowing it to smell and touch your hand)
  • When necessary, use towels or blankets to allow the cat to hide and be gently confined while being checked. Make certain that the cat is put on a surface that will allow it to hold correctly, will feel secure, and will not slide. While doing an inspection, if a cat becomes afraid or worried, take a break and give it time to calm down

How to Restrain a Cat to Clip Nails: Tips to Wrap a Cat in a Towel

Cat owners don’t look forward to having to confine their pets in order to cut their nails, but it doesn’t have to be a knock-down, drag-out battle in which you get scratched like crazy and your cat runs under the bed snarling and spitting. The act of clipping your pet’s nails, in addition to administering medications, can be an exhausting and stressful ordeal for both of you and your feline companion. Fortunately, there are several approaches you can use to minimize the drama and safely and gently trim your pet’s nails without anyone being injured.

  • Image courtesy of Pixabay user @herraez.
  • Dr.
  • The findings of Dr.
  • Cat owners and veterinarians alike agree that using a towel method known as the scarf wrap, or the “kitty burrito,” you may make your cat feel comfortable, keep him from escaping, and protect yourself from being scratched by flying claws.

How do I use a towel to Restrain my Cat to Clip Nails?

An extra-large bath towel is the most effective instrument for restraint, and the thicker the towel, the better. In addition to protecting yourself from sharp claws, wrapping your pet in a towel might make kitty feel safer and more secure during a nail trim because of the cozy, bundled feeling. It’s similar to how we feel when we wrap ourselves in a huge, fluffy blanket on a chilly winter night. Continue reading the instructions in the section “scarf wrap your cat” to discover how to properly restrain your pet while having their nails clipped.

Steps to Wrap a Cat in a Towel

There are several toweling tactics that may be used to keep your pet under control while you are trimming their nails, but one of the most successful is to make a “kitty burrito,” also known as a “scarf wrap,” for your pet. As a result, you’ll have easier access to your pet’s rear end, front legs, and head, while still keeping the cat comfortable and relaxed.

To prepare your pet for a nail trim, follow the instructions listed below. If you have any questions, you may always schedule an appointment with your veterinarian, who will be happy to demonstrate the procedure.

  • Please make certain that you and your cat are in a peaceful place, away from barking dogs and other loud noises. It’s best to choose an area that’s comfortable and familiar to you, such as a couch or the portion of your bed where your pet likes to sleep. Take your time and don’t hurry it. It is not recommended to approach your pet with a towel since it may cause your pet to worry and respond angrily. Your pet will also link towels with danger in the future, which is not good for him. The owner must be cool and avoid feeling rushed or upset since cats are able to read their emotions. Make a deal with your pet. In case you’re seated on a bed, spread the towel out flat on the bed’s surface. Set out some treats or kibbles on a towel, and your animal buddy will be forced to lie or sit on the blanket while enjoying a snack. While your cat is enjoying her goodies, you may talk gently to her and touch her
  • You can even slowly wrap the end of a towel over her back while she is enjoying her lunch. Continue to pat her and allow her to walk away if she chooses to do so after the first few times. Allow your pet to experience this on a regular basis without attempting to control her, so she learns that being on a towel may be a pleasurable experience. While your feline buddy is sitting on the towel, you may encourage her to sit by holding out an object for her to swat at while she is resting her paws on the towel. The idea is to create a good relationship between your cat and the towel. If your cat has gotten off the towel, entice her back onto it, or position her on the towel if she will allow you, and wrap the back end of the towel over her back again. Afterwards, fold the right side of the towel over and over again to form a cylinder (like wrapping a burrito). Wrap it snugly, but not too firmly, over her neck and upper torso, ensuring that she is completely covered, with the exception of her face. Then, wrap the towel around your pet’s neck like a scarf by pulling the front edge forward just a little bit. Now that your cat is safely enclosed in the towel with her head poking out, you may cut her nails one leg at a time, starting with the front leg. Before you begin, gently hold the kitten close to your body, just near to your heart, so that you and your pet are both looking in the same direction. Avoid putting your face directly in front of your pet since doing so puts you at danger of being bitten by your pet. Also, be sure that your hands do not come into contact with your cat’s lips. After that, you may reach for a front paw and begin trimming the nails in a gentle and calm manner. The rear claws can be trimmed as well if you carefully reach between the layers of the towel and gently pull them out. It’s critical to maintain a strong but not overly tight grip on your cat while doing this to ensure that she continues to feel comfortable and safe.

Unsplash user Humberto Arellano contributed this photo. It may take numerous attempts to get your pet acclimated to having his or her claws trimmed. Beginning with just one nail each session and progressively increasing the number of nails cut during each session may be necessary to get the hang of it. One of the most important aspects is to attempt to keep things quiet, unhurried, and low stress for both you and your kitty companion. READ MORE:8 Signs That Your Cat Is In Love With You

Two-person method for restraining a Cat for a nail clipping

It will be simpler to confine your cat for a nail trimming if you have a second person to assist you. As long as you have an assistance, your assistant will be able to sit behind your pet, gently confining her in a towel, while you carefully and gently reach for each paw to clip the nails. Your assistant can also comfort your cat, scratch her head while you cut her nails, or distract her with sweets while you do the rest of the chores yourself.

Play with your Cat’s Paws more often

It is a good idea to get your pet acclimated to being restrained for a nail cutting as well as having her paws touched in order to have her habituated to both constraint and nail trimming procedures. You can touch and handle your cat’s paws from time to time, applying light pressure to the tops of the paws to reveal the nails to get her acclimated to the sensation of being handled. To avoid being bitten or scratched by your cat, it is essential that you do this in a safe and controlled manner.

When it’s not the best time to Clip Cat Nails: Important notes

To avoid stressing your pet, it’s ideal to cut his or her nails in a quiet, familiar environment. It is recommended that you should not try to cut your cat’s nails in the following conditions or at certain periods of the year;

  • If there is a lot of noise in the house and your pet is disturbed or stressed, you should call your veterinarian. When there are visitors or strangers in the house, it is possible that your pet will become stressed. If your cat is not feeling well, you should: When your cat is consuming food
  • In the event that your cat utilizes the litter box

If you are clipping your pet’s nails, it is ideal to do it while the animal is calm and quiet, in a familiar environment, and by employing the low-stress restraint techniques described above. MORE INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT: Do You Need to Take Your Cat to the Vet on a Regular Basis?


A cat nail trim with a groomer or a veterinary expert could be a good idea if you’re worried about trimming your cat’s nails and your pet is aggressive. If you want to conduct your cat’s nail trimming at home, you can see your veterinarian about possible anti-anxiety drugs or relaxing pheromones such as Feliway for your cat. When trimming your cat’s nails at home, make sure to follow the instructions outlined below for scarf-wrapping your feline companion. With violent cats, it is important to note that trying to cut their nails may make matters worse, as it may cause your cat to become more anxious and aggressive, as well as resulting in your own injury.

Should I trim my cat’s nails while she is sleeping?

However, while it may be feasible to confine and trim your cat’s claws while she is asleep, doing so is not suggested for several reasons, the most important of which is that if your pet awakens while you have one of her paws, she may bite or scratch you.

However, if your cat is cooperative, you may surely experiment with this strategy. Sources for this article include:

  1. For all animals, “Fear Free Pets — Removing the “Pet” from “Petrified” is a phrase that means “fearless.” Fear Free Pets,” Dogs’ Handling, Restraint, and Behavior Modification Using Low-Stress Techniques Using Cats: Techniques for Creating Patients Who Look Forward to Their Visits.” “Feliway for Cats,” written by Sophia Yin. Feliway (,
See also:  How To Trick A Cat To Take Liquid Medicine

How to Restrain an Injured Cat

Learning how to restrain an injured cat is a valuable skill to have in order to ensure that your pet receives the necessary cat care. Depending on whether the cat is cooperative or recalcitrant, you will need to adjust your strategy accordingly. Due to the fact that cats have five weapons: the mouth and four claws, knowing where to put your hands might save your life! Because of the stress involved, cats do not behave in the manner that they are accustomed to when they are harmed. The following procedures should reduce your risks of getting scratched or bitten by the terrified cat you are attempting to assist.

Restraining a Cooperative Cat

When you have someone else with you to assist you with your wounded cat, you should attempt Method 1 or Method 2 first. Place the cat in your arms or on your lap, or on a table or other elevated surface, using one of the two procedures described below. The first step is to position yourself such that the cat’s head is to the left of you. To do this, reach across the cat’s body and beneath its chest, such that the chest rests on your palm with your right hand. Third, lift the cat firmly against your forearm until its body is securely wedged between your forearm and the rest of your body.

Step 5: Fifth, using the other hand, keep the head from moving by grabbing beneath the throat.

Treatment can then be provided by your helper while the cat is in your arms, as shown in step six.

Method 2

Step 1: Grasp the loose skin on the back of the neck, right below the ears, and pull it away from the body. It is best to lift the cat; most cats will become quite submissive if this strategy is done. Second, using your other hand, grasp the hind legs to keep them from scratching. Step 3: While still holding the cat, lay it on a table so that the damaged side is facing up. In Step 4, softly but firmly pull forward on the skin of the neck and backward on the rear legs, as if you were gently but firmly stretching the cat.

If You are Alone

If you are the only one responsible for restraining the injured cat, proceed with utmost caution and follow the guidelines below. Step 1: Grasp the loose skin on the back of the neck, right below the ears, and pull it away from the body. Step 2:Lift the cat and position it on its back on a table or other elevated surface, with its chest out. Third, in the event that the cat refuses to stay, place it in a large, open box. Step 4: Provide first assistance to the cat that has been harmed. Keeping an Uncooperative Cat Under Control Even though a cat is typically placid, you should be prepared for him or her to cause you some difficulty at any time.

If You Have an Assistant

This strategy should only be used in the presence of a second person who is willing to assist you in dealing with your recalcitrant wounded cat. Step 1: Place a blanket or towel over the cat’s shoulders. Step 2: Scoop up the cat and wrap it in a towel or blanket so that it is completely covered, including all four paws. Step 3: Only expose the wounded region of the cat’s body, keeping the rest of the animal covered.

4. Have your assistance offer first aid in the event of an accident. If the cat is still hostile, carry it to the veterinarian untreated and still wrapped in a blanket or towel to prevent further injury.

If You are Alone

In the event that you have no one else available to assist you with your obstinate wounded cat, you should attempt this option. Step 1: Place a blanket or towel over the cat’s shoulders. Step 2: Scoop up the cat and wrap it in a towel or blanket so that it is completely covered, including all four paws. Using a string, tie the ends of the towel or blanket together to make a bag, or place the cat in a box with a tight-fitting lid. Attempting to treat the cat’s injuries is not a good idea. Take the cat to the veterinarian’s office in a vehicle.

is a publishing company based in the United Kingdom.

How to Restrain a Cat the Right Way

Anyone who has spent a significant amount of time working in a veterinary facility will ultimately learn how to “scruff” a cat. It is true that this handling style has its place, but I believe that it is overused in general. First, let’s speak about when and why scruffing is suitable in certain situations. Consider the films you’ve certainly seen in which a mother cat, lion, tiger, or other predator uses her lips to pick up and carry her baby by the loose skin on the back of its neck. This is how a cat is scruffed.

  • To my knowledge, no one knows precisely what the physiological process is underlying this reaction (endorphin release is frequently mentioned), but it appears to be an evolutionary adaption that enables for the safe and simple transfer of young kittens.
  • In fact, pinching pressure at the top of a cat’s neck or upper back triggers the response in a significant number of people.
  • Although scruffing is often more successful in young animals than in adults, individual reactions might differ regardless of age.
  • Picking up an adult cat by the scruff of the neck, especially if he or she is exceptionally large, may be a painful experience, in my opinion.
  • This causes a challenge in the veterinary hospital, as it concerns the safety of staff as well as the capacity to undertake operations that are beneficial to the patient.
  • Everybody’s tension level immediately drops after one fast puncture with a syringe filled with an anesthetic mixture.
  • Sedation is not required for every cat that is difficult to restrain, on the other hand.

These are the kittens that believe that “less is more.” While some sort of restriction is required (I have yet to meet a cat that will sit still for the installation of an intravenous catheter on his or her own), procedures that are less heavy-handed have the best chance of achieving successful results.

Initially, I scratch their head to distract them and raise their happiness factor, but I can quickly apply harder pressure or even relocate my hand to scruff them if the situation warrants it.

Take a shot at it with your cat (provided he or she is agreeable) and see whether it works in your situation. Dr. Jennifer Coates is a medical doctor that practices in the United States. Image:Sinelyov/Shutterstock

How To Restrain An Upset Cat Safely And Humanely

If your cat is as sociable and cheery as they come, there is no way to prevent them from having a bad day every now and again. Moreover, instead of striking out with their words or their fists, like people do when they are agitated, our feline companions have an arsenal of claws and fangs at their disposal. When they’re stressed, fearful, or bewildered, they have the potential to do catastrophic injury to anyone who gets in their path. No cat parent hates to see their beloved feline in distress, and if you’re interested in TNR or cat rescue, you’ve undoubtedly seen more than your fair share of agitated feline companions.

Consider the following suggestions if you need to calm an agitated cat.

Think About Context

Before you jump in to try to calm an agitated cat, take a moment to consider why the cat is disturbed. An extensive range of conditions can cause a cat to get distressed, each of which is listed below. Some cats get hostile when they are taken to the doctor, have their nails clipped, or are bathed. Cats can also become agitated when they are involved in a battle with another animal or become irritated by human behavior. The method you use to relax your cat will vary depending on the scenario.

  • A puffed-up tail and a hiss are followed by yowling, scratching, and biting as the situation intensifies.
  • ), but getting involved in the battle is not a good idea either.
  • In order to break up a cat fight, attempt to distract the cats with food, loud noises, or water at the beginning.
  • Once the combatants have been separated, you may proceed with safely restraining your cat.
  • When you have an unruly cat who is becoming increasingly agitated by the minute, doing these basic duties becomes much more difficult.
  • Taking a break and giving cat nice snacks and hugs is perfectly acceptable.

Tips to Restrain an Upset Cat

You may securely restrict your cat while their claws are out and they’re becoming grumpy if you take the appropriate precautions in light of the scenario, as outlined below.

To get through the scenario without stressing out your cat more more, without injuring her, and without getting wounded yourself, the objective is to remain calm and collected. What you need to do is as follows.


If your cat is completely out of control, diversions may be the most effective initial step in easing their anxieties. Bring out the finest meal you can find or their all-time favorite toy and see if you can get them to participate. It may take a few minutes for them to calm down from their angry condition and see what you’re doing, but it will happen. Once they’ve expressed an interest in your offerings, you may proceed with limiting their actions.

Try the Burrito Method

When used properly, the tortilla method provides easy confinement that protects you from cat claws while also promoting feline safety and security. It’s quite similar to swaddling a newborn. When cats’ stress levels start to rise, the warmth and pressure of being wrapped in a blanket or towel might help calm them down. On a Cooperative Cat: If you’re being proactive because you know you’ll need to trim your cat’s nails and she’s not going to be happy about it, you can try the burrito approach before you even get the clippers out of the drawer.

  1. Encourage your cat to stand on the cloth by petting him or her.
  2. Wrap the edges of the cat’s blanket so that it resembles a warm burrito.
  3. If you’re having trouble getting your cat onto your blanket, behaviorists recommend dropping the blanket over top of him and working your way down from there.
  4. Make your motions as swift and decisive as possible.

Don’t Be Too Forceful

It’s important to remember that while restraining an agitated cat is in their best interests, you should never push a cat into doing something they don’t want to do. Stopping the burrito approach is necessary if you’re attempting it and your cat begins to furiously flail at the end of the process. Keep in mind that you want to relax your cat rather than causing them further distress. You should give cat some space and try again once they have had some time to settle down if your attempts are making matters worse.

Avoid Scruffing

Scruffing is a widely contested restraining method in the field of feline behavior, and it’s easy to see why. For example, every time a mother cat picks up her youngster, we can observe the good consequences of scruffing in action. It appears to have an instinctive calming effect on the kitten. Moreover, when we humans try it out, we have had some success in persuading the cat to comply. According to Pet MD, scruffing is more successful on young cats than on older cats, and the response varies depending on the specific animal being scruffed.

It may be effective in the short term, but it may really make matters worse in the long run. They will identify the event with the bad emotions that come from scruffing and will work even harder to keep you away the next time you come around.

Ask a Friend

The presence of an extra pair of hands will come in helpful if your cat is a wiggly one. Choose someone with whom your cat is already familiar. You don’t want to exacerbate the problem by bringing in a complete stranger to the table. Although it’s unlikely, if one of you can divert kitty’s attention with some goodies while the other works on wrapping a towel around those claws, you and your cat may be able to escape without incident.

Know When You Need a Professional

Vets, vet techs, and cat groomers are all familiar with the process of restraining agitated cats. If you are aware that your cat has a strong aversion to nail clippers or water, you should avoid attempting to do such tasks on your own. In order for your cat to avoid associating you with those frightening events, it is essential that you avoid making any mistakes that may make problems worse. Determine whether your long-haired cat requires a wash or whether your kitty’s nails are much too long by hiring a skilled and dependable cat grooming service.

Allow them to take the initiative if it appears that they have previous experience with furious felines and know what they’re doing.

See also:  How To Stop My Cat From Biting

All cats become agitated.

The only thing that matters is how you respond to the circumstance.


Related Story: How Can the Full Moon Affect Your Pet’s Behavior? The following video is from Marmalade: The Kitten’s First Vet Visit


0comments Spam is reduced on this website by the usage of Akismet. Learn more about how your comment data is handled.

Getting a handle on cats: What types of restraint lead to stress? –

Scuffing cats is something that almost everyone who works in a shelter or veterinary environment has done at some point in their career. Consider the possibility that you’ve taken your cat to the veterinarian, and the veterinary staff has placed your cat in a “scruff-hold.” To explain what I’m talking about for those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, scruffing is a method of restraint in which cats are restrained by gripping them tightly by loose skin at the back of the neck. Some cats respond well to this form of treatment since it restricts their mobility, which makes handling and different procedures such as taking a blood sample easier.

  • Mother cat with a kitten in her mouth.
  • Scruffing is thought to have gained popularity because it is similar to the way mother cats treat their kittens, which is by carrying them by the back of their neck.
  • When other animals (such as rabbits and rats) are scruffed, they remain immobile, which is thought to be due to anti-predator response.
  • Because the lack of movement reported by cats during scruffing may be attributed to fear rather than being in a calm condition, several individuals and groups are urging veterinary professionals to use alternative cat handling procedures.
  • Other groups, such as the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), advocate other ways of cat restraint.
  • This is all well and well, but as is sometimes the case, people may embrace a technique that does not have a strong evidence foundation behind it.
  • However, this is beginning to change.

Carly Moody’s dissertation study focused on the examination of many facets of cat restraint, which she completed as part of her doctoral studies.

When scruffing, clipping, and full-body restraint were compared to passive restraint, researchers discovered that cats responded badly to all of them.

A total of 52 shelter cats were evaluated; all of the cats were subjected to passive restraint as a control and one of the other modes of restraint as an experiment.

This was done to ensure that there were no order effects of handling.

Photograph by Moody and colleagues, taken from the published manuscript.

Complete body restraint (b) entailed lying the cat on its side, grasping its legs, and not allowing it to move much at all.

The cat was next subjected to the clip conditionm(d), in which two Clipnosis clips were attached to the back of its neck.

Ear movement, breathing rate, pupil dilation, lip licking, and vocalizations were all used as stress indicators.

Fully restrained and clipped subjects had more pupil dilation, and all three tested restraint techniques had greater ear movements when compared to those who were not restrained at all.

This lab’s prior study on three stress indicators (respiration rate, pupil dilation, and ear motions) found that these three signs were consistent with each other.

There are several possible flaws in the study, including the fact that they did not perform any medical procedures on the cats to determine whether or not there was a link between the sort of constraint used and the behavior of the cats during an examination.

It is impossible to determine whether the stress reaction was triggered by the constraint or by the body posture in which the subject was placed.

Finally, in my own experience, the vast majority of handlers who scruff cats also position them on their sides in some form of full-body restraint while they are doing so.

Including this form of handling (scruff + restraint of the body) in a future research would be fantastic; it is likely that combining the two approaches is much more traumatic than employing each technique alone.

While many people are familiar to and comfortable with scruffing, others may not be as experienced or comfortable with alternative tactics, such as towel-wrapping or chemical restraint, which can be difficult to break (drugs).

That was the standard practice.

Nonetheless, if I were in that position again, I’d be willing to try something else.

By default, these pupils have been taught to scruff cats, which is a common occurrence.

Kitty is wrapped in a towel.

My friend Ellen Carozza, LVT, told me lately that her veterinary office had been “scruff-free” for over two decades, and it gave me a new lease on life.


20 years of evidence that it is not essential for good cat care makes it difficult to disagree (when we inform first-year vet students that there are scruff-free cat clinics, they are completely taken aback!).

And it’s becoming increasingly difficult to argue with the growing body of scientific evidence that, when it comes to handling cats, “less is more.” Reference(2019) Getting a hold of things: cats are not fond of being scruffed or clipped.

Veterinary Medical Record The first time this article was published online was on October 5, 2019. doi:10.1136/vr.105261

Proper Animal Handling & Restraint

  • Moving about and interacting with the animal at a slower pace than one’s natural inclination is recommended for personnel. The most common observation I’ve noticed when observing people interact with animals is that they move too rapidly and pay too little attention to what the animal is telling them at any one time. Animals, especially dogs, virtually ALWAYS provide warning before increasing an assault or fleeing. The difficulty is that we are prone to overlooking these warning indications
  • Doctors and staff should maintain a calm and neutral demeanor no matter how aggressive the animal appears to be acting. Poor conduct should be disregarded
  • Nevertheless, any tendency toward better behavior—no matter how small—should be recognized and rewarded as soon as possible in some form. Accidental injuries to humans occur in 98 percent of cases as a result of someone making a poor decision, becoming complacent while working on the animal, or failing to recognize and understand the animal’s body language. Keep in mind that human behavior is always shifting. The fact that an animal is friendly at the start of a test or process does not imply that the animal will continue to be friendly three seconds after the exam or operation ends. Make the assumption that the animal may hurt you at any time – be careful and prudent, but avoid becoming overly anxious about it. Maintain a safe distance between your body parts and the animal’s weaponry at all times. Techniques of restraint should never include any of the following elements: jerking on leashes, hitting or striking the animal, biting the animal, and other physical reprimands
  • Pinning the animal’s head or neck in doorjambs or under your body
  • Alpha rolls, scruff shaking, cuffing under the chin, hanging with leashes, or choking the animal in any way
  • Or “pile-ups” (having several people grab hold of the animal and pin it to the ground or table)
  • And Scuffing cats should not be used as a normal means of restraint. Scruffing alone is not a secure method of confinement for cats, and it causes many cats to get more agitated than is really required. Scruffing does not cause cats to enter a state of mystical calm. When kittens are pulled up by the scruff, they do exhibit a flexor response
  • However, there is no biological advantage for an adult cat to become limp when gripped by the back of the neck when it is lifted up by the scruff. Adult cats are only susceptible to this activity in four general settings: fighting, play fighting, breeding, and predatory attacks. Fighting, play fighting, breeding, and predatory attacks are the only other scenarios. Alternative strategies may prove to be more effective.

Interpreting an Animal’s Body Language and Behavior

  • Changes in the patient’s surroundings may cause typical behavior patterns to deviate from their baseline. The body language transmitted by the animal may clearly illustrate how it feels toward other animals, people, and its environment. Body language may assist you in determining how simple or tough an animal will be to handle and control during handling and confinement.

Patient Restraint Considerations

  • Restricting, checking, or repressing an activity and/or keeping something under control by the use of safety and some form of physical, chemical, or psychological action is what restraint is all about. Restraint is an essential technique used by veterinary professionals to keep an animal under control while performing various treatments on them.

Tranquilizers/sedatives are occasionally required in order to keep a patient quiet and pain-free through certain stressful operations or situations.

Why Proper Restraint Techniques?

  • Prevents harm
  • Is required for exams and treatments
  • Prevents infection. both the animal and the handler will be more comfortable
  • All bites and scratches should be treated with a First Aid Kit, which should be readily available. It is mandatory to report all animal bites to the New York State Department of Health.

Planning the restraint procedure

  • Make sure the restraint location has enough space, is clean, dry, and well-lit before preparing to confine a patient. It is necessary to discuss a strategy:
  • Any expensive equipment should be moved
  • A non-slip surface
  • It is necessary to consider the temperature
  • What should be done in the event that the animal manages to escape from the restrainer
  • Plan B is a contingency plan.

RodentsFerret RestraintHandling

  • Holding the tail close to the body with one hand is a good idea. Make use of the other hand to grip any loose skin around the neck and shoulders

Rodents and ferrets of a larger size

  • Check to see whether the animal is awake to avoid being bitten
  • Grasp it with one hand and cup the other over its head
  • Fingers wrapped around neck and under chin
  • Wrap thumb and index finger around neck and under chin
  • It is important not to overtighten your fingers over your chest since this might make breathing difficult.

Cats RestraintHandling

  • Cats are one of the most difficult animals to confine when they get agitated and violent as a result of the stress they are experiencing. Maintain safe restraint and control over the head
  • Cat bags: they are used to control the limbs and the head. Squeeze cages are wire enclosures with tiny openings that enable for the administration of injections. To get around the head, do the following:
  • Wrap the cat in a blanket or place it in a “cat bag” to keep it warm. Handler can grip and hold the back of his or her head between the thumb and index finger with ease.

Making an E-collar – Cone of SHAME

  1. Measure the length of the pet’s neck and the distance from the point of his collar to the tip of his snout
  2. Make a mark on a piece of stiff cardboard or plastic with these dimensions.

Create a V-shaped cut from the outer edge of the circular to the center of the circle. Make holes around the borders of the collar on both sides. Use shoestrings or yarn to fasten the collar around your pet’s neck once it has been laced through the openings.

Additional Canine Techniques

  • Starting at the outer border and working your way within, make a V-shaped incision. Make holes around the borders of the collar on both sides. (Optional) Close the collar around your pet’s neck by lacing a shoe string or yarn through the openings.
  • A case of rabies A noose is attached to the end of the pole, which serves as a leash. Dogs are captured and restrained. Pulling can result in severe head and neck injuries
  • Nevertheless, it is rare.

Handling Cats

When attempting to restrain someone, one should do the following:

  • Use the least degree of constraint essential for the safety of the patient and the personnel
  • Maintain your cool and collected demeanor
  • Maintain a firm yet non-aggressive stance. As some cats have a limited length of time in which they will accept handling, only attempt when all participants are ready. Close all of the doors and windows in your home. It is best if the cat can exit its cage or carrier on its own will if at all feasible. Keep an eye out for warning indications (such as the beginning of a growl or swishing of the tail), as cats, unlike dogs, seldom attack without warning. Allowing an owner to restrain their own scared or violent cat is not recommended since it may result in the owner getting hurt or bit. Scruffing the cat’s neck is a non-lethal method of controlling the cat’s behavior. If the patient is in pain or if it is anticipated that discomfort may be produced during a procedure, consider administering pain medication. Chemical restraint/sedation should be considered if a patient is visibly combative, anxious, or difficult to handle due to the fact that it may be safer for both the patient and the handler. Maintain constant awareness of the fact that your safety is of the highest importance

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *