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Home > Cats > How To Hold a Kitten: Vet Approved Guide & Comfort Tips

How To Hold a Kitten: Vet Approved Guide & Comfort Tips

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lorna Whittemore

Veterinarian, MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Kittens are cute, huggable, and can easily melt your heart. However, if you’ve never had a kitten before, it’s essential that they’re handled with extreme care. However, don’t let that scare you away from giving one of these tiny felines a forever home.

While kittens prefer being held with two hands close to your body, it’s best to watch their reaction to ensure they’re comfortable. To help you handle your new pet correctly, we’ll discuss a few tips on holding the tiny feline in your life.


The 5 Tips On How To Hold A Kitten

You can follow these steps to ensure you’re holding your kitten the right way so that you don’t risk hurting your furry friend.

1. Take It Slow

The first thing you want to do is make sure you don’t scare the kitten. Your kitten is tiny and doesn’t want to be surprised. Lifting them off the floor with no warning will frighten your tiny friend. You want to make the interactions between you, your kitten, and your family as seamless as possible. You don’t want your kitten to be skittish and try to run anytime a human is around. Take it slow by talking to your kitten softly, and allow them to approach you in their own time. Once they have shown they are interested in you and feeling calm, then try stroking them gently before picking them up.

2. Use the Right Hold

Image By: SvetMedvedeva, Shutterstock

The proper way to hold a kitten is to put one hand under your kitten’s armpits, cradling their chest gently in the front, and then place your other hand under the feline’s bottom/back legs. Try to keep the kitten’s back straight when lifting them off the ground. Once you’re in position, lift your cat carefully so their chest rests against your palm.

Once you’ve lifted the cat, cradle them against your chest so the tiny creature feels secure, warm, and safe. Never pick a kitten up by their legs, neck, or tail, as this can lead to injuries, such as a broken leg or a dislocated joint.

It is not recommended that you use the scruff of a cat to pick them up. The practice of scruffing a cat is discouraged as it can cause stress and anxiety.

3. Stay On the Floor

It is possible that your kitten won’t want to be held at the time you’re trying to pick them up, and they may meow and squirm to get away from you. Until you know how your kitten will react to being scooped off the floor into your arms, it’s best to stay on the floor when you try to hold them. If they escape your arms, they won’t be injured by jumping on the floor.

4. Always Supervise the Kids

Little girl with kitten face to face
Image Credit: Andrey_Kuzmin, Shutterstock

One of the first things you want to do when bringing home a new, tiny kitten is teach your children how to handle their new pet. If your children are too young to be taught how to handle the kitten, it’s best that they are not allowed to pick up the kitten at all until they are older.

Not only can the kitten become injured, but there’s also a greater chance that the kitten will bite or scratch the kids if they become scared or the children injure them. Older children who have been taught how to handle a kitten should be fine, but you still want to keep a sharp eye out during playtime.

5. Watch How Your Kitten Acts

If your kitten lets you hold them, you need to keep an eye on how they feel. Even though they may enjoy being held and petted, it’s best to let your furry friend lose when they’re ready to be put down. If you try to force your kitty to stay in your arms, they can become irritated or anxious and try to scratch or bite you to get away.

These are a few of the best steps to help you pick up and hold your new kitten. Take your time, have patience, and soon the day will come when your kitten is climbing up in your lap to be cuddled without coaxing.


How Can I Make My New Kitten Comfortable?

You can do a few things to speed up the process of your kitten becoming comfortable in their new home. Since it takes a bit for a kitten to become used to their surroundings, consider giving them a room of their own. Make sure to put everything in the room that your kitten will need, such as food and water, a scratching post, toys, and a litter box. If your home becomes too chaotic for them, they can retreat to their room to relax. You can also postpone parties or large gatherings at your home until your new pet has had time to adjust to their surroundings.



Kittens are energetic but fragile pets that you need to pick up and hold carefully. Some cats take longer to become comfortable enough in a new home to be picked up, but if you’re gentle and patient, your kitten will eventually enjoy being held and petted. It’s best to hold them while sitting on the floor until your pet becomes accustomed to being held. To protect their fragile bodies, you should prevent younger children from picking them up until they’re mature enough to use the proper method.

Featured Image Credit: Tatiana Osipova, Shutterstock

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