Have you ever tried petting your cat just to turn her into a wobbly ball of claws and teeth? As a cat owner, you need to pet your cat occasionally so that you can administer medicine, groom your cat, or examine your cat. Not all cats can tolerate handling. In fact, many cats get very nervous if you try to handle them in any way. Luckily, you can wrap your cat in a towel into a sort of feline “burrito,” or, if you prefer, a “purr-ito.”
What are cat burritos?
The terms cat burrito and purr-ito refer to a towel wrapping technique used to wrap cats for disposal. This is a fairly easy way to restrain a cat while relieving stress and making it safer for people to handle cats.
Why cat burritos can help some cats
Many cats become nervous and frightened when handled and will display a fight or flight response. This is especially common at veterinarians, where cats may feel cornered and vulnerable. Most cats will try to run away and hide, fighting anything that gets in their way. This can cause injury to cats and humans.
Veterinarians and staff have the tools and techniques to safely and humanely handle stressed cats. One of the simplest of these tools is a basic towel. Towels are used to create a barrier between cats and people to help protect paws and teeth.
Towels can be used in many different ways, but cat burritos are one of the most common and effective ways to restrain a cat from handling while minimizing stress. The gentle pressure of the towel wrap provides comfort for many cats. At the same time, it limits the movements the cat can do, making the handler as safe as possible.
Keep in mind that a towel won’t fully protect a person from bites and scratches, but it will minimize the damage a cat can cause.
Don’t try to deal with an extremely nervous or angry cat. Both you and the cat could be injured. If the cat is vocalizing, biting, or scratching, she is too stressed to handle. If the cat starts panting, stop whatever you are doing and observe the cat from a distance.
Give the cat a chance to calm down and try to deal with it another day. If the cat continues to experience extreme stress, it is best to take your cat to the veterinarian’s office where a professional can handle the restraint. Some cats cannot handle it and require sedation for their own safety and the safety of others.
How to Make Cat Burritos
All you need is a towel to make burritos for your cat. Choose a bath or beach towel that isn’t too thick or plush. Larger beach towels are ideal, especially for big cats. Also, gather any tools you might need, such as medication and nail trimmers. The last thing you want to do is carry a cat in a burrito while searching for the supplies you need.
spread out the towel
If possible, put towels on a large table or counter in front of you. You can also use the floor, but this may make it more difficult for your back and knees.
pick up the cat
Pick up the cat gently and speak to her in a calm, soothing tone. If your cat is powered by food, provide a worthy treat.
Put the cat on the side of the towel
Lay the cat on one side of the towel, about a foot from the side. The cat’s head should be somewhat aligned with the long side of the towel.
try to get the cat to lie down
Gently place one hand behind her neck, then place your forearm on her body and press down gently. If the cat won’t lie down, don’t push the issue. You can continue, but you may need to modify the way you wrap her.
Wrap the shorter end of the towel around the cat’s back
Take the shorter end of the towel and wrap it firmly around the cat’s back with only the head exposed. Tuck the tail around the cat’s side and leave it in the towel. Gently wrap the top corner of this side around your neck, making sure your paws are inside the towel.
Change hands and gently press on the cat’s back.
Wrap the other end of the towel
Wrap the other end of the towel firmly around the cat’s back.
Lift the cat and wrap the remaining towel
Gently lift the cat and wrap the remaining towel under the cat’s body.
Lean the wrapped cat against your body
Use one arm to support the wrapped cat on your body while you medicate the cat’s head, clean its ears, or do anything else needed. Don’t let go or the cat will escape the towel wrap.
Repeated packaging process for nail trimming and claw treatment
For nail trimming or paw treatments, repeat the wrapping process but leave one paw out of the towel. If you need access to the tail or back end, leave this part exposed.
How to use cat burritos
Cat burritos are great for several tasks:
- Administer by mouth or eyes, ears or nose
- clean ears
- Examine an area of the head, face, or mouth
- brush teeth
- nail trimming
- Check the paws
- cleaning or trimming the fur around the tail and back end
If you’re having trouble wrapping your cat, ask someone at your veterinarian’s office to show you what to do.