When it comes to handling cats, it looks like less is more.
When handling grumpy or fearful cats, many veterinarians and their technicians use a full-restraint hold. The cat is restrained on its side with the handler’s forearm over the animal’s neck and a hold on the front and hind legs. There’s minimal danger of being bitten because the cat is virtually unable to move.
In contrast, passive restraint allows a cat to be held lightly in whichever position it chooses.
A recent study compared both methods in 50 shelter cats up for adoption. With full-body restraint, cats were stressed and over 8 times as likely to struggle. In addition, examinations took nearly twice as long to complete.
Of course, veterinary handlers have to feel as safe as their patients. But with some gentle give-and-take, there may be a happy medium.