When you rehome a new cat or kitten, it’s important that you handle them correctly from the beginning – this will help you build a strong bond for the future. Let your new cat settle in the home before attempting too much handling, it can be very overwhelming for them if everything happens at once.
Here are a few hints and tips to help you handle your cat:
Food rewards are a great way to interact with your cat and encourage positive handling.
Give your cat time and space
Cats are naturally ‘flight’ animals so if they are scared or intimidated they are going to make all efforts to get away. This may mean that they inadvertently scratch or bite in order to make their escape quickly. Let your cat be handled in their own time and the chances of this happening are greatly reduced.
Keep an eye on children
Some children will be very enthusiastic about their new arrival and may be inclined to grab when they want to interact with your cat. All initial handlings should be supervised by an adult.
Picking your cat up
When picking your cat up, put one hand under their breast bone and the other hand supporting their bottom. Lift them gently, but confidently, pulling him into your body for his support.
Some cats don’t want to be picked up
Nervous cats find being picked up quite stressful. It’s more important to let these cats demonstrate affection on their terms rather than imposing it on them. They may prefer to be stroked and groomed – this is also an effective way of bonding with your new cat.
Cats generally feel more secure when they have all four feet on the ground, especially if they are particularly nervous or independent.
Getting your cat in their carrier
Getting your cat in the carrier can be quite a difficult task and one that most owners dread. It is often best to purchase a large front loading carrier, hold the cat securely and place the cat in backwards. For particularly difficult cats it may be worth investing in a top loading carry basket, that way the cat can be picked up and placed in the carrier.
Try leaving the carrier open in the home for a few days before transporting your cat. Entice your cat into the carrier using tasty treats so they get a positive association with it.
Handling your cat at the vets
When you arrive at the vets, keep the carrier off the floor and cover it with a large towel to make your cat feel calmer. Handle your cat calmly and patiently during the appointment, treats are also a helpful way of reducing their anxiety on the consultation table.
Most vets and nurses are used to handling distressed cats. If you’re in any doubt, ask your vet for advice when you arrive for your appointment.