Definition of Restraint
of restraint is to allow a test
or treatment to be performed safely. If the pet is struggling excessively,
it may be necessary to use Chemical
Restraint (using tranquilization
to reduce the need for forceful
handling). The most important criteria
is safety for the pet, owner, handler
It is most helpful for
the cat to learn as a kitten that
the owner can hold it still at any
time and the best option is to
simply go along. Picking the kitten
up by the scruff does not hurt, it calms by simulating mom carrying
the kitten. If the kitten struggles
and resists being held by the scruff,
abandon that technique for that
Cats can attack with both claws
and teeth and deserve our respect.
Cats do not have the same aggression
categories as dogs. Instead of dominant
and fearful, their aggression in
the hospital setting is divided
into fear and escape motivated.
The body posture for a fearful cat
is similar to a fearful dog. They
try to appear as small as possible
by flattening their body, ears and
tail, and moving away or crouching.
Fearful cats are much more likely
to give warning before attacking
than fearful dogs. They may growl,
hiss or spit. This means business.
Stop and get an experienced handler
to restrain or retrieve the cat
from the cage. If you must restrain
a fearful cat, consider a cat bag,
muzzle, large fluffy towel (cat
burrito) or use chemical
This usually occurs while being
heavily restrained. The cat will
suddenly “explode” into
a screaming ball of teeth and claws.
This body language cannot be missed!
If this occurs, you must first tell
the other person “I’m
letting go!” then do so.
Once the cat is no longer restrained,
they will usually stop to reassess
the situation, and they can be gently
captured again (within seconds).
If necessary, let the cat jump down
as long as it cannot escape outside
the building (herd it away from
the door). It is safer to recapture
when calm than to try to catch during
this wild phase.
In general, the most gentle restraint
possible works best in cats. Chemical
restraint is often indicated. With
all pets it is better to tranquilize
than to use force and create a bad
experience that will affect the
behavior in the future.
An Aggressive Cat From A Hospital
Cage Or Kennel
A difficult problem is getting an
aggressive pet out of a cage. Try
to leave a leash on the pet, and
tie to the outside of the cage.
Use a coat hanger to loop a leash
over the head, or use a large towel.
If in doubt, call the doctor!
Our goal is to have every pet enjoy
gentle handling each visit, and
to distract it from pain with food
treats, tapping the nose or pushing
it along the table to divert attention.