Kitty Burrito: Ninja Towel Wrap to Control Your Cat! (step by step instructions)

Today I've recruited my cat Molly to show you how you can use a towel to help you clip a cat’s nails or to give them medication if they really don't like it!

The Kitty Burrito (also known as a towel wrap or scarf wrap) is a simple, effective, yet gentle technique to retrain your cat should they object to whatever it is you need to do to them. The most common uses at home are for nail clipping and giving medication, but might also be grooming or washing if they get dirty.


So the first thing you need to do is get a nice big towel. I prefer using a large beach towel, and also prefer using a towel that is a bit older and so thinner and easier to handle compared to a new fluffy towel.

To start off, lay the towel out nicely, either on the floor or on a large enough table or kitchen bench. Whichever you find easiest. Then pop your cat down right in the middle of the towel with their head just a little bit back from the towel edge.

place your cat in the middle of the towel

Place your cat in the middle of the towel


And then what you’re going to need to do is to gently push down so that they are lying down on the towel. Put your hand behind their head, and then you can use your forearm to apply gentle downwards pressure, causing your cat to lye down and then hold them in this position.

downward pressure using your forearm will make your cat lie down

Downward forearm pressure will make your cat lie down


The burrito wrap can be done with a standing cat if your cat really objects to lying down. You will just need to start with them a bit further from the edge of the towel.

Wrap one corner over your cat

Wrap one corner over your cat


The next step is to take one corner of the towel, it doesn't matter which one, and wrap that first over your cat’s back, before coming round the front and under their chin.

Before then passing it under your cat's chin

Before then passing it under your cat's chin


Next, switch over the hand and forearm that you are using to apply the continuous downward pressure with, while also holding the corner of the towel that you have just wrapped (this is easier than it sounds!). Then do the exact same thing with the other corner of the towel.

Wrap the other towel corner over your cat

Wrap the other towel corner over your cat


This side isn't quite so important, and what we can do is to simply hold the towel edge after it is just passed over the top of your cat. One hand can hod the first wrapped corner and this edge, leaving your other hand free to help with whatever needs to be done. Of course, you can complete the full burrito wrap by also passing the second corner under your cat’s head and, providing your towel is big enough, hold both corners behind your cat’s neck.

Complete the burrito wrap by passing the 2nd corner under their chin

Finish by passing the 2nd corner under their chin


If you have wrapped your cat on the ground, then by using you knees either side of them, and utilising the help of a large bulldog clip to hold the ends of the towel in place, you can even have both of your hands free to clip their nails or give them their medication. No extra help needed!

And I’ve also got you covered if you want to find out how to give a cat a pill!

You can see now why it’s called the Buritto towel wrap!

Once your cat is fully wrapped up in the towel in this way, you really will have full control of them, and they will not be able to bite or scratch you. If they can, then your burrito wrap needs to be a bit tighter. This is trial and error, but you can wrap the towel so that it is really snug without hurting your cat.

Now, if you're going to have to do this to your cat quite a lot, then it's good idea to have some treats handy. You really don’t want them to associate the towel coming out with something bad happening. Instead, you want the towel to be associated with being given a really tasty snack! With this in mind, it can really help to practice the burrito wrap with your cat and give them treats without actually doing anything else while they are wrapped. Get them used to it first before then medicating them or cutting their claws, or whatever it is they otherwise object to.

You can even towel wrap you cat to get them into their carrier to go to the vet, although there are other ways to make vet visits less stressful.

If you are wanting to nail clip your cat then you just need to modify this towel wrap a little. When you are first passing the corner of the towel over your cat’s body, just make sure that it is first passing under their armpit so that their front leg is not included in the wrap. It’s best to only leave 1 leg out at a time to maintain control and help prevent you getting scratched. You can also roll your cat onto their side to make the job even easier.


Leave a leg out for nail clipping


If your cat is still super stressed, then I’ve written about several other strategies you can use to clip your cat’s nails.

So that's really all there is to the kitty burrito technique. Remember the downward pressure, remember to use treats, and with a bit of practice you’ll be able to towel wrap your cat in a matter of seconds!

The Buritto wrap really can be an incredibly effective towel wrap that allows you to handle your cat both safely and gently, ensuring they don’t get hurt, while at the same time ensuring you stay bite and scratch free!