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How to handle a cat so it can be handled :-s

(14 Posts)
SunsetDream Tue 02-Feb-16 21:38:00

I'm not sure how to explain what I mean!

I've been very careful to respect dcat - no belly rubs, stopping stroking when she begins twitching her tail.

Is this really the right thing, though? She's a lovely cat and has settled really well. I just wonder whether we ought to do things a little differently - I mean if we never handle her - what about the vet, or what if someone else does. etc.

I also want to know the dses can handle her (handle is the wrong word, but I can't think of the right one).

Is socialising the right word?

It's the difference between how an experienced cat person goes around dealing with cats and someone new to cat ownership!

I want to get things right! If anyone can give advice, then I'd be grateful!

SunsetDream Tue 02-Feb-16 21:42:54

More info to help!

She's about one, and from cats protection. It was suggested that she's been very much ignored by her owner - not neglected, or mistreated but owned by someone who didn't want her (after divorce, ended up with the partner who didn't want the cat confused.

So she's friendly, but totally unused to handling. The dcs want to handle her... (They are very good, though)

CaptainKit Tue 02-Feb-16 21:51:44

One of my three is a bit stand offish - she'll accept some fuss but under her own terms. The other two are complete fuss pots.

What I'd suggest with yours as she's young, would be to let the kids play with her if they're old enough to do so gently - crinkly things on elastic fishing rods are good for slightly people-wary cats - she can keep her distance and then decide how close to get.

How long have you had her?

Does she ever come to you for fuss? If so then keep following her lead. Sometimes they can take a while to settle in.

With my lot I can be a little 'rough' - ruffling their fur and going in for the tummy tickles, so it's not something I've had to consciously avoid. I think with your girl you're best off watching her reactions. Once you're happy you understand her you can teach your kids to follow that lead.

WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeG0es Tue 02-Feb-16 22:00:23

We adopted two cats at the age of 1 and I decided they were going to get used to being handled and picked them up regularly from the start, they soon wriggle and jump off if they have had enough. I gradually learned how they preferred to be held and handled and am always on the lookout for a twitching tail. They often run off if I bend to pick them up, but once they've been grabbed they are happy to be cuddled, it has also meant I know I can examine them for injuries, check them over generally, groom them, etc. I would say the main things are to pick them up confidently, support them completely and not stare into their eyes.

Ubik1 Tue 02-Feb-16 22:06:43

It takes time. It took 2 years for one if my young rescue cars to sit on my lap. The other one only accepts fuss on her own terms - generally while she sits on a high surface.

I just let them st every opportunity but back off when they get stressed. Gradually they will trust you and tolerate more. But it takes time.

Both mine detest the vet and usually carry out a dirty protest in the cat carrier and then try to attack him. The vet's very cheerful about it smile

SunsetDream Tue 02-Feb-16 22:43:56


She comes for a fuss and will sit by us/ on the end of the bed. Likes full body strokes etc. she hates (I think like lots of cats) any sort of restraint (too strong a words for what I mean) - putting the spot on treatment was very difficult!!

She'll give a random nip if she wants us to stop (no tail twitch, but also no strength behind it)

I've been trying to desensitise her feet - just stroking and giving treats (I'll need to be able to trim her nails). She jumps away - not scared, just hops her foot out.

I'm probably expecting too much too soon (just a month) blush . I'm not doing everything all at once.

A few times she has appeared to want to come on my knee, front feet on, pause then backs off and lies near me.

Lovelydiscusfish Tue 02-Feb-16 22:48:36

I could be wrong - but I think it has to be led by the cat.
A cat I had recently, now sadly deceased, never did like handling - she bit me in the rescue place when we first got her, and scratched the worker's hand quite badly! Nonetheless we persevered with the rehoming, as we knew we could be quite laid back about handling her, and didn't think she'd get many more shots at rehoming.
She proved to be a smashing cat! I never handled her much. Dh did a bit more, as he works from home, so was able to build up a bit more of a bond. The only person the cat scratched badly in the time we had her was the vet. It's not great, I know. We did warn him she was semi feral. He still chose to treat her (and take his ample fee). At the same time, I'm not defending it, and do still feel guilty.
The revelation was when we had dd - I was even more cautious (obviously) than I was around the other pets, and we of course raised dd to be very gentle and cautious with pets (one would anyway) but this cat was always amazingly gentle with dd, used to purr when she was close, even from a baby. Dd could always gently stroke, and even (amazingly) kiss her fur. The cat just loved her, and used to sleep on her bed if she ever got a chance during the day (not when dd was in it, obvs), just to be close to the smell of her, I think.
The cat in question sadly died over a year ago of a congenital heart defect, at just 6. Dd, who is not yet 4, loved her and still cries about her sometimes. We have numerous other pets, including other cats, but dd will always have a special love for this cat.
Sorry for the mammoth post about my cat - I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's not necessarily essential to be able to handle a cat loads for it to be a loving family pet. At the same time, I can see there are advantages!

WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeG0es Tue 02-Feb-16 22:51:52

One of mine will struggle massively if you try and hold her for spot-on treatments but doesn't mind if you creep up behind her and do it while she's eating. The other is happy to be held for it but will leg it if you try and do it while she's eating. Trial and error is required! Or get all the treatments done 6 monthly by injection.

SunsetDream Tue 02-Feb-16 22:56:29

Yes I am being very cat led - I was staring to wonder whether I ought to be more proactive.

With the dcs, it depends on her mood - she is very playful with them, sometimes near them, but sometime wants to be alone. All perfectly normal, I think. It's part of the learning curve to learn to read her moods.

SunsetDream Tue 02-Feb-16 22:58:27

For them to learn to read her moods..

Plus all the other typos...

Rollypoly100 Wed 03-Feb-16 08:04:46

I think it does take a bit of time for rescue cats to settle. Our 10 year old Torby was neglected, we think left on her own for long periods and rehomed when previous owners had a baby. She was very difficult to start with, scratchy, grumpy and impossible to pick up or hold. She fought like a tiger when we had her chipped. Now five months on, she has relaxed a lot and runs to us when called. She is still not a cat who likes to be held in your arms but will seek out a lap. What I'm trying to say is I think it takes quite a long time for them to trust you. We can read her signals now, ears back and tail twitch means stop all contact now or she'll bite. She's a cat for adults though, I think being rejected does make them pretty insecure. We would never have sent her back but it's taken a long time for her to love us and trust us.

SevenOfNineTrue Wed 03-Feb-16 13:03:03

I have had a few rescue cats and they take time to settle. A month is not that long really, especially for such a big time of change for the cat of going from being with his owners, to one of the owners who sounds like she didn't like him, to a shelter and then to you.

I currently have a rescue kitten and she was very timid and scared but everyday I make sure I spend time plying with her and getting her used to being stroked and learning what she does and does not like.

SunsetDream Wed 03-Feb-16 13:58:54

Thanks! It's the reassurance I need!

tabulahrasa Thu 04-Feb-16 12:15:25

I don't handle my cat tbh, I mean I stroke her and I do things like that, but only in the agreed cat stroking body areas, lol.

When she needs wormed or flea spot on, I sneak up when she's sleeping and do it before she fully wakes up.

I had another cat (my last cat I suppose, it's still a bit too recent to think of her like that) she was much happier to be fiddled with, I still didn't ever clip her claws though, she did need it because she was arthritic towards the end and didn't do a great job of it herself, I chickened out after a few attempts and used to get the vet nurse to do it...but they didn't need doing when she was young and the remaining one is 5, healthy and does her own, so hers have never been done.

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