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Basic Feline Restraint

Views: 34619 - Comments: 11

Megan Brashear, CVT, VTS (ECC), and Kristin Spring, CVT, VTS(ECC, Anes.), CVPP, demonstrate common restraint techniques for cats.

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Megan Brashear's picture
Megan Brashear


Enrolled: 07/2011

Kristin Spring's picture
Kristin Spring


Enrolled: 08/2011

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Megan Brashear's picture

DOH! Thank you Amanda. Truth? I do that a lot... I have issues with right and left as well (I ALWAYS wear a watch so I have a physical reminder of left). I should start rewarding people who find my medial/lateral mistakes! It's like a scavenger hunt

Carolin De Benedictis's picture

Hi: I usually love your stuff, but this was not a good way to show any kind of restraint on a cat... at moments there were "no hands" on the cat, climbing up the assistant. Sorry.

Megan Brashear's picture

Carolin, thanks for your feedback. With this video we wanted to show that not all cats are aggressive and need to be handled as such, I like to give the kitties a little leeway to get their bearings and hopefully make our job a little easier. This cat is one of those shoulder cats who was always looking for a higher vantage point.

It's good to be aware of which cats need lots of restraint and which ones will allow for less, and if we have the time, I like to let them feel a little more relaxed by giving them space. Anyone else have any awesome techniques for the climber cats? Or any other special kitties?

Dawn Elza's picture

I would like to add a few extra's for restraint. For the lateral position for medial saphenous access, there are some cats that aren't able to be scruffed, or that may do well with the minimal towel restraint, but there are many times where you will need to "scruff" the kitty. It's also good to have your arm alined down its back when you have a kitty in lateral position to offer support and so you will have more control of it's movements. With restraint for Jugular venipuncture, I like to hold the cat similarly as in the video for the legs, but also rest it's head/neck to my body for support. This really helps to have control of the head when cats start to move around, and they seem more "cuddled" then restrained(other than the leg stretch). So..from the position from the video you would move the cat from being directly in front of you to your side between your arm and body(same side as the hand holding legs)..kinda like how you would carry a cat. You can try to maneuver your arm to where it's still a little behind the cat depending on how big it is or have someone for butt support. I haven't had much trouble doing it on my own. Ok, so then your opposite hand hmm...the position of your hand is exactly how you would hold a glass of water to drink. Kitty is the glass! Grab kitty's head and hold it up as if you are holding a glass (thumb toward your body, fingers away- you're holding its mouth shut..from above) and move your body so that it's right up against the cats neck/head. You should be able to move your hand up or lift your fingers starting with pinky so that the other person has room for venipuncture while still having control of the head. Your thumb can either come up by the top of its head/eyes (i like to rub the cats head while it's getting poked) or right at the base of the skull to push its neck out and keep head up. If your not using your thumb at the skull base, make sure kitty's head is securely against your body..well do that either way. You can move your thumb at any time to either position. Either way, you can use your body to help with movement. I hope that didn't sound too complicated. It's really simple. Maybe a picture or video would be easier..

Megan Brashear's picture

Thanks Dawn! We have all developed our own techniques for hanging on to crazy kitties, thank you for sharing!

Chris Leui's picture

Your videos are typically very thorough, but I was disappointed in this one. I stress over and over with our techs to always scruff. You don't have to man handle, just a gentle hand on the back of the neck, even sometimes just using it to scratch the kitty but ready in case you need the restraint. I have seen perfectly friendly cats bite with little to no perceived warning. We talk to, sing to, and love on our feline patients to calm them, and I know that scruffing isn't always the answer. But scruffing seems to be a taboo among some of our newer techs. Not only does this put team members at risk, but it increases stress for the patient as the procedure takes longer when proper restraint is not applied.

Chris Leui's picture

I typically find you videos very thorough, but I was disappointed with this one. I stress over and over with our techs to always scruff. I know there are times when scruffing isn't the answer (ie.jugular draws or cats that are worse with scruffing). But I have seen perfectly friendly cats bite with little to no perceived warning. You don't have to man handle. Just a gentle hand on the back of the neck, even just scratching the kitty's neck, but ready the instant that restraint is needed. We sing to, talk to, and love on our feline patients to calm them. Unfortunately, scruffing seems to be a taboo among our newer technicians. This puts team members at risk and increases the stress of the patient as the procedure takes longer when the cat is not properly restrained/calmed.

Megan Brashear's picture

Chris, scruffing cats is certainly a hot topic. The AAFP encourages restraint methods utilizing towels so that scruffing only happens if absolutely necessary for patient and handler safety. Some cats are fine with gentle scruffing but others can quickly escalate if pressure is applied to the scruff. I believe that low stress handling techniques are being taught in more technician programs which is probably contributing to new grads not utilizing the scruffing techniques as often. We encourage each staff to continue to use the restraint techniques that work best for them and for their patients!