How to pick up a cat vs how to pick up a dog

how to pick up a cat

Guide outlines the difference between how to pick up a cat and how to pick up a dog correctly, so that each type of animal is comfortable and supported. If you are the now famous cat Choupette, pictured above with her owner, the late legendary designer Karl Lagerfeld, you possibly have a staff of attendants who have already been trained in how to pick you up. This guide is for the rest of us.

Find more pet guides, tips and advice

Cats and dogs are built quite differently, and therefore you lift and carry them in different ways. Below you will see explained how to pick up a cat vs how to pick up a dog.

There are situations when people have to pick up and carry the cat. For example, when the kitty has to be lifted into the transport box or when it sits somewhere where it shouldn’t sit – on the shelf with the good china, for example. 

How to pick up a cat

There are several ways to carry a cat. Here are 3 examples that are correct:

1. Place one hand under the cat’s chest and use the other to support its hind paws or rump.

2. Press the cat to your chest like a baby, with support from the rump and shoulder.

3. Some cats like to climb on people’s shoulders. In this case, you can bend down to the cat, let it climb onto your shoulder, and support its rump with your hand.

Whether you use one of the methods above or your own, keep the following in mind: the more points of contact the cat has with your body while being carried, the more comfortable it will be. This will take away your cat’s fear of falling and give you better control.

Do not pick up a cat by the neck fur

Many people think that grabbing a cat by the neck fur is the most species-appropriate way to do it. After all, that’s what the mother cats would do with their kittens. But humans are not cats and should therefore never adopt this behavior! “Especially not with a full-grown cat,” says Dr. Short from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

 “Grabbing the neck fur can cause her a lot of pain and damage her health over the long term.” The neck and spine supports are simply not made for hanging on the weight of a full-grown cat. Lifting by the neck fur also triggers great stress and fear in cats, as a potential attacker – an aggressive conspecific or a bird of prey, for example – would use precisely this technique.

Also, you shouldn’t grab the cat by the armpits and swing it back and forth like a baby. This is not only unsafe for the cat, but also for you, as the animal could scratch you.

Warning : If the cat has dilated pupils, growls at you or nervously wags its tail, it probably does not want to be picked up. Give her some time until she comes to you voluntarily.

Carrying a cat

When carrying them, you keep them close to your own body. The cat sits on the arm or hand, the other hand is placed on the cat’s shoulder and the cat is gently pressed against its own chest. Alternatively, you can put the cat over your shoulder. Here, too, the cat sits on the hand or arm. The rest of the cat’s body lies completely relaxed on the human shoulder. The cat looks back over the human shoulder when it is carried. The other hand gently fixes the cat on the body. The crawl ensures even more relaxation.

Let the cat go properly

If you notice the cat getting nervous and starting to fidget, you should let it goagain. Support their chest and rump, and bend down as far as possible to let the animal jump off safely.

How to pick up a dog

how to pick up a cat vs how to pick up a dog

The methods for how to pick up a dog differ slightly, depending on how old (or how large) the dog is.

How to pick up a puppy

The best way to pick up your puppy is by placing both hands on his chest, behind his front legs. As you bring the puppy up towards your chest, immediately move one hand back to support his rear and keep you other hand behind his front legs, supporting his chest. Support your puppy’s body by cradling him with both arms.

If your puppy really doesn’t like being picked up or carried, you may have to hold the scruff of his neck to prevent him from reaching around and biting you.

How to pick up an older dog

If your dog is not too heavy and you are able to pick him up on your own, support his hind legs with one arm and with the other arm support your dog underneath his chest or neck. If your dog is anxious then you can hold his scruff to prevent him from biting you, or attach a muzzle and a short lead so that you can control his head more effectively.

How to pick up a heavy dog

If your dog is too heavy to be picked up by one person, always get a helping hand. Support the front of your dog underneath his neck or chest and then get a friend to support your dog’s back end behind his hind legs. Make sure that you don’t hold your dog for very long, as you might begin to put pressure on his back. Only lift your dog if he needs lifting, like into the back of your car.

How to pick up a dog with back problems

Only pick up a dog with back problems if it is absolutely necessary. Place one arm in between your dog’s front legs and the other in between his back legs making sure that you support the full length of his body so that there is no strain on his back.

How to pick up a pregnant dog

Try and avoid picking your dog up if she is pregnant. If you have to, avoid supporting her belly. Support your dog’s hind legs with one arm, and with the other arm support her chest in front of her front legs.

How to pick up a dog with hip dysplasia

Many dogs suffer from Canine Hip Dysplasia and will need picking up and carrying quite often, especially when getting in and out of the car. Try not to put any pressure on your dog’s back legs. Use one arm to support your dog’s rear under his belly, and use your other arm to support your dog’s chest.