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Neck scruff?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
There's something I'm curious about.

I know that mother cats of all species will pick up their young by gently clamping their mouth onto the neck scruff. I was always under the impression that it was ok for humans to pick up a cat by the neck scruff, but I only recently read online that it's inadvisable. I've never picked up a cat's full weight by the neck scruff, I've only held them by the scruff when the most of the weight is still on the rear half (which is supported by the floor, furniture, lap, etc) and that's only to immobilize them, for instance when they're overly-hyper, or it's claw-trimming time. I've read that that's ok.

My question, which I can't seem to find anywhere on google, is whether it's ok to pull them out from under something by the neck scruff. For example, if they know it's vet time because the carrier has come out and so they hide under the bed, or if they get themselves underneath something that's potentially dangerous. In these situations, when you try to grab the cat, it may squirm out of the way, sometimes while clawing or biting. I find the easiest thing to do is to quickly get a grip on the neck scruff, and gently drag the cat out from under wherever it is, usually on its side with the feet not touching the floor. It works better on a hard-surface floor rather than a carpet. Once the cat is clear of the object, I'll pick it up by a safer two-handed way.

Does anyone know if this is ok? It certainly doesn't seem as dangerous as picking up the full weight by the scruff, and I'd only recommend doing it if it's the only option.
post #2 of 10
I would not drag a cat by its scruff - even with its feet on the floor if you are pulling you are redistibuting the weight - but I do scruff both my cats and shelter cats (especially if I have to weigh one of the more feral cats etc)

If you scruff them they stop biting / scratching and you can usually put your other arm under their legs or belly and lift them slightly and move them like that, but if they really are into something dangerous - scruffing is certainly better than some alternatives that can happen or pulling by the tail!
post #3 of 10
If I have to, I will scruff a cat with one hand and use my other hand to move/lift/drag/hold gently. Holding onto the scruff while the cat is on a firm surface will often make a cat more docile or relaxed, as you've discovered, and it's fine to do it for that reason. Just don't try to maneuver them by their scruff, unless, as icklemiss says, you've got a real emergency on your hands.

One of my male cats recently attacked one of my females (he was on cypro, which can cause aggression... now we know!). I separated them by scruffing him first, which stopped the attack, and then pulling him off her with my other hand, lifting behind his front legs. It worked; he wasn't so hyper that he'd try to attack me!
post #4 of 10
I scruff my cats when they are clawing/biting etc and I just HAVE to pull them out and get them in a cage. However I just lightly hold the scruff and use my other hand to pull them out like by their tummy or back legs depending their position.

How heavy is your cat? I once had a vet tell me it could potentially hurt to pick them up by the scruff once they are over 7 pounds. (? Not sure how true this is but whatever.) This vet said the scruff was designed for small kittens to be carried by the mommy. A grown cat can be hurt by dragging by the scruff due to the weight distribution. However if you have a serious emergency on your hands I would scruff drag if needed simply because they calm immediately down and its easier to get them out of furniture that could potentially hurt them.
post #5 of 10
I find it very useful when I have to hold a cat still, but an adult cat is heavy enough that I wouldn't actually drag them; not unless they were an unusually small adult cat.

My cats tend to calm down when I get ahold of them that way, though. Tiny, especially, has a tendency to stop wiggling and clawing if I scruff him if I have to give him a pill or put flea drops on him.
post #6 of 10
I've only had to do this twice that I can remember, but when there are situations that simply require me to get ahold of tinker I will scruff her.

But I only lift her by it until her legs stop moving and she submits. Then i put my hand under her for support.

But like I said, i've only done it twice that I can remember. it was during emergencies.
post #7 of 10
We scruff our girls to trim their nails because they hate being picked up and it's the only to trim their claws - hubby scruffs them (but not tightly), and supports their back legs, while I quickly trim.

I also scruff if I've needed to drag Lily out from under the bed for the V-E-T because it's the only way to get my fraidy cat into a carrier.
post #8 of 10
I didn't know that you should not lift an adult by the scruff. I don't do it regularly but I was tought that it's the best way to get a very struggling cat into a carrier - by lifting him up by the scruff and "dropping" him into the carrier feet first. I had no idea I could cause harm doing that. I'm glad that I found out. I guess I'm going to have to find another way to get these unhappy kitties into a carrier.
I'm really lucky that none of my own cats have a problem with going into a carrier. Actually they all like to sleep in them so I keep a couple out at all times. Maybe that's why they don't mind going in one?!
post #9 of 10
i think you're pretty safe if you're gentle. but it can hurt them. for me, in the past, with other cats, it has been something i had to do because i had to calm the cat down. sometimes the risk of injury is better than letting them freak out and otherwise harm themselves or someone else.

poor little cats
post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lizita View Post
I didn't know that you should not lift an adult by the scruff. I don't do it regularly but I was tought that it's the best way to get a very struggling cat into a carrier - by lifting him up by the scruff and "dropping" him into the carrier feet first. I had no idea I could cause harm doing that. I'm glad that I found out. I guess I'm going to have to find another way to get these unhappy kitties into a carrier.
Scruffing them isnt really the issue, its putting weight on the scruff. They usually calm down very quickly if scruffed and you can scoop them up with your other arm and place them in the carrier.
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