To carry out routine procedures such as bathing, grooming, and medicating, the surroundings must be calm and quiet. When the cat is cooperative, this can be done with minimal physical restraining to the cat. You will want to approach the cat with confidence and handle the cat gently. If you are calm and approach the cat quietly, you will find most cats handle moderate restraint and treatments rather well. Most times than not, you will be able to coax the cat into accepting the procedure and won’t need to be restrained.
Cooperative cats can be lifted onto a smooth, raised surface, such as a table or a counter top. You will want to speak in a calm, soothing voice until the cat appears to relax. Cats like to be rubbed and scratched behind the ears and this will calm most cats. To keep the cat from moving forward, place one hand around the front to the cat’s chest, and this will leave your other hand to administer the treatment.
There are many ways that you can restrain an uncooperative cat, this will depend on how agitated that cat has become. Some cats will respond with quiet and simply having the scruff of their neck held and then gently tugged back and forth or holding the scruff and gently tapping on the cat’s head as a distraction. This is most likely for cats under the age of one year. If by chance the cat is older than one year, you can hold the scruff and press firmly against the top of the table causing the cat to stretch out. This will prevent you from being scratched by the cat’s rear claws.
If you have an assistant to help, wrapping a towel or blanket around the cat will calm him and cause him to relax, and have the assistant hold the cat while you administer the treatment needed. A coat sleeve works well for a restraint. The cat will most likely scoot into the sleeve willingly, and by holding the end of the sleeve firmly but gently around the cat’s neck, you will be able to administer treatment without the cat struggling and without injury to you or the cat.
When cats are properly restrained, they will usually settle down and accept the treatment given. When they are released, most cats will soon forget the unpleasant experience and go about their routines. But be prepared, some cats will turn and strike as soon as they are released. There are special restraints for extremely agitated and feral cats; you will need to ask a veterinarian about these types of restraints.
Resources: Cat Owner’s Home veterinary Handbook, Third Edition