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In this lesson, we're going to provide you with some signs of aggression in cats and show you some techniques you can use to safely restrain your cat if he or she becomes aggressive. It's important to note that even docile cats can become aggressive, especially if they're sick or injured.

At the end of this lesson, we'll provide you with a Word about winter safety tips for your dog or cat.

Signs that Your Cat may Become Aggressive

Signs of aggression in cats includes:

  • Hissing or yowling
  • Flattening or pinning the ears back against the back of the head
  • Raising the fur along the back of the spine
  • Flicking or moving the tail back and forth
  • Crouching or moving away from you

Warning: If you are not sure how to safely restrain your cat by yourself, it's better to wait until you can get some help or until he calms down on his own.

Techniques for Restraining Your Cat

There are a number of methods you can use to restrain your cat, even when he doesn't want to be restrained, and these include:

  • Grab the scruff on the skin behind his neck
  • Wrap him in a towel
  • Place him inside a disassembled carrier and then reassembling it
  • Use an empty laundry basket to trap him, then slide a piece of cardboard underneath him

Using the Scruff Behind the Neck

  1. Face your cat away from you.
  2. Grab the loose skin on the back of his neck.
  3. Place your other hand behind the first to hold him more securely.

Using a towel

  1. Face your cat away from you.
  2. Cover him using a large enough towel to cover him completely, including his head.
  3. Wrap him up in the towel; like a cat burrito, if that helps.
  4. Scoop him up inside the towel.

Most cats will calm down using this method, and everyone has large towels laying around.

Using a Disassembled Carrier

  1. Disassemble your carrier.
  2. Face your cat away from you.
  3. Coax or place your cat inside the carrier.
  4. Once calm and contained within the carrier, put the lid back on.

Pro Tip #1: You can use this technique any time you need to place your cat inside a carrier. And it's much easier than trying to shove your cat – calm or not – through a small hole.

Using an Empty Laundry Basket and Cardboard

  1. Face your cat away from you.
  2. Trap your cat inside an overturned and empty laundry basket.
  3. Once in place, if you need to transport him, slide a piece of cardboard underneath him.

How to Muzzle Your Cat

There may be times when you'll need to muzzle your cat. However, it may difficult to do on your own, especially if your cat is agitated. A second person may be required to hold him steady.

  1. Face your cat away from you or sideways in your lap; whatever works best and is easiest.
  2. Grab your cat muzzle.
  3. Slide the muzzle over his face, making sure his nose goes into the small hole on the muzzle.
  4. Continue to slide the muzzle over his face, making sure the larger portion of material covers his eyes.
  5. Secure the muzzle behind his head; many cat muzzles come with Velcro straps making this quick and easy.

Pro Tip #2: Covering your cat's eyes is essential for helping him calm down. Not only will he become less fearful once muzzled, but a muzzle will also keep his mouth closed and prevent him from biting you.

A Word About Winter Safety Tips for Your Dog or Cat

In the last lesson, we provided you with a Word about heat and dog safety. In this Word section, our focus will be on keeping your pets safe when the weather becomes unforgivably cold.

Winter can be a tough time for both humans and pets. But unlike humans, your pets can't tell you what they're experiencing, which means you'll need to be more vigilant when the temperatures take a nosedive into the freezing digits.

There are a number of safety concerns for your dogs and cats in the winter, beginning with their paws, skin, and fur. You'll want to check and maintain these areas on your pet regularly.

The pads on the bottom of their feet (or paws) can become cracked from the cold. Their nails can break or become damaged. And if your pets are walking on salted surfaces, they can also suffer from chemical burns.

Warning: Do not use normal salt if you have pets who will be walking on those surfaces. Either go without salt or use paw-safe ice melt. Your pets will thank you.

If your pets have any winter-related paw issues, there are some creams available to keep those paws smooth and healthy.

Brush your pet's coat in the winter. This will help move the animal's natural oils around and help protect the skin using his or her natural defense mechanisms against the cold.

For more important winter safety tips for your pet, check out our blog article on the subject: Winter Pet Safety Tips.