How To Scruff A Cat

Scruffing a Cat: What Is It, and Why Do Experts Say You Shouldn’t Do It?

There are alternatives to the current situation. Even I have been trained to take a cat by the scruff when we need to control them, as has been taught to many other people. As a matter of fact, this is precisely what I was trained to do throughout my veterinary technician training. Although scruffing has long been seen to be a harmless method of providing restraint and mimicking the way a mother cat picks up her kittens, it is really not a secure method of restraint and is also a strong approach that causes dread and distress in the majority of pets.

What Is Scruffing?

Scruffing is a word that refers to a range of grips on the skin of the cat’s neck that are applied to the cat. Holding a cat’s scruff of the neck may be anything from a mild squeeze of skin to gripping and applying different levels of pressure to a wider fold of skin; occasionally it’s accompanied by raising the cat up or forcefully confining the animal in various ways. This restriction is based on the assumption that, much as kittens become limp when their mothers hold them by the scruff, a strong grip on the loose skin over a cat’s shoulders would cause the same response.

Doctor Lore Haug, a veterinary behaviorist, believes there is no such thing as a miraculous ‘limpness’ button on a cat’s scruff, and the parallel of a mother cat carrying her babies is also incorrect.

This reaction is only present during the first few weeks of a kitten’s life and is not present later on.

Contrary to popular belief, they do not use this to reprimand the children.

What Is the Problem with Scruffing?

It is only in certain conditions that cats are grasped by the scruff of their neck: by their mother during the first few weeks of life; during mating; while fighting; and when they are being attacked by a predator. In a household, veterinarian, or animal shelter context, none of these scenarios are really useful to replicate. This is due to the fact that scruffing is more likely to produce anxiety and tension, both of which can lead to aggressive behavior. Scruffing completely eliminates the cat’s ability to flee as well as their feeling of self-control.

Scruffing takes away the cat’s ability to withdraw as well as his or her sense of control, which frequently results in an increase in tension, fear, and anxiety in the cat. A cat’s body weight should not be supported by its scruff, since this might cause injury.

How to Restrain a Cat Without Scruffing

When it comes to handling and restraining cats, there are a variety of options available that do not entail scruffing or heavy restraint. Scuffing is not recommended by the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) and International Cat Care, as well as many cat-only physicians and veterinary behaviorists. Instead, they advocate handling approaches that are cat-friendly, low-stress, and fear-free for the cat. These approaches are based on the principle of “less is more.” The handler evaluates the cat’s body language and employs constraint techniques that allow the animal to conceal itself.

  • When handling towels, the handler keeps oneself safe by distracting themselves with meals, cleaning their teeth, and other activities.
  • It is preferable to check the cat in their most comfortable environment, such as on their owner’s lap or inside the base of their cat carrier.
  • Cats’ body language must be observed, and handling techniques must be flexible enough to accommodate each particular feline’s preferences and needs.
  • For example, many people’s first reaction when they see a cat is to walk up to it and instantly scruff it, sometimes while simultaneously physically pushing the animal to turn on its side.
  • In order to have a more successful approach with the cat, avoid direct eye contact and frontal approach as much as possible.

Assess the cat’s body language: if the cat appears to be fearful, allow her to remain in her current location (for example, at the bottom of the carrier) and use a towel to provide a hiding place, lightly swaddling the cat and allowing her to maintain her chosen position (for example, at the bottom of the carrier) (like sitting up).

How to Hold a Cat by the Scruff

Article in PDF format Article in PDF format The scruff refers to the loose skin that surrounds a cat’s throat. While scruffing a cat (holding a cat by its scruff) may appear to be an uncomfortable or even painful experience for the cat, it is an efficient way of restraint when done properly and only when required. When it comes to holding a cat by the scruff of the neck, there is a good way and a wrong way. Learning and practicing the proper method of properly restraining a cat can help you become more proficient.

  1. 1Take off any perfumes or colognes that you may have on your person that your cat could find objectionable. Aromatic perfumes or colognes that are overpowering in scent may be uncomfortable to him. When it comes to dogs, their fragrance may be particularly disturbing. 2Allow your cat to grow used to you before attempting to scruff his neck. He will get more relaxed if you pet him calmly and allow him to brush up against your palm. Depending on whether your cat has a calm or a skittish disposition, you may need to spend more time on this stage. 3 Dispose of your cat’s collar, if he is wearing one. It is possible to hold a cat by the scruff while wearing a collar, but doing so is not suggested unless you are used with handling cats in this manner. However, while the scruff is flexible, the collar is not, and you may find yourself accidentally tightening the collar around his neck
  2. 4 Place your cat on a firm surface that will support him. Being able to scruff your cat more easily if he is resting on a stable and flat surface, such as a table or counter top, can make your life easier. If your cat appears to be more comfortable on the floor, you might also utilize the floor as a supporting surface. 5 When your cat is comfortable and awake, give him a good scratching. Placing your hand at the back of your cat’s neck and gently grasping the loose skin in this area with your full palm can help to alleviate the discomfort. Try to keep your grip as near to your cat’s ears as possible to reduce the likelihood that your cat may resist or attempt to bite you
  • It is normal for your cat’s ear tips to move slightly back when you grab the skin just behind the ears. When you grasp in the correct location, you will know that you are gripping correctly. It is important that even when you tighten your grip, the skin still feels somewhat elastic in your hand. Alternatively, if your hold seems tight, you may have held too much skin
  • Ease your grip a little more. If you are gripping the skin too firmly, your cat will most likely alert you to this fact. Make sure you don’t grab too little scruff. This might result in you pinching the skin of your cat. Make little adjustments to your grip in order to take up more skin. With the exception of aggressive cats, you should find that your cat doesn’t seem to mind the clutching at all
  • In fact, he may even go extremely motionless. Sometime, just knowing that your cat is being watched is enough to deter him from doing anything you don’t want him to do, or to quiet him while you cut his nails or administer medication.
  • 6 Take your cat by the scruff of the neck. Before attempting to raise your cat by the scruff of his neck, keep in mind that cats, especially older ones, are not normally need to be carried in this manner. The majority of the time, cats do not require being picked up by the scruff unless it is a mother cat transporting her kittens from one location to another.
  • It’s important to remember that kittens are much lighter than adult cats, so if you need to move your cat after scruffing him, kittens will be much simpler to handle.
  • 7 If your cat is very hefty, exercise extra caution while taking him up by the scruff of the neck. It is possible that lifting a hefty cat by his scruff may cause more stress in his neck muscles and skin, which will be uncomfortable and painful for him. It will be necessary to provide additional support for his weight in order to avoid this stress.
  • After grabbing the scruff of a large cat with one hand, use your other hand to firmly support his rear end. To properly restrain your cat’s hindquarters, you may need to wrap part of your other arm over his hindquarters. Pick him up just when you are confident that you can support his rear end.
  • 8 Only scratch your cat for as long as it is absolutely required. When done properly, scruffing is not harmful for your cat
  • But, if done for an extended period of time, it can become uncomfortable. Take into consideration that even the most patient cats will become bored of being held in this manner and may attempt to swing around and free your grasp, or kick you with their rear paws
  • The fact that your cat is effectively trusting you in such a vulnerable situation should not be overlooked. If he gets the impression that you are being overly harsh or that you are anxious, he may refuse to participate with the scruffing. So long as your cat doesn’t perceive an assault, he should just sit there and stare at you, waiting for you to take the initiative and put him down. Soft vocalizations are sometimes heard from certain cats, as if they are saying “Hey, I’m not a huge lover of this, so let’s get this over with as quickly as possible.”
  • 9 Allow the scruff to be released. Following a gentle repositioning of your cat on a supporting surface, remove the scruff that you have used to hoist him.
  • Give him positive reinforcement later to recognize and thank him for his good conduct while getting scratched up. Petting, chatting, and giving out treats are all examples of positive reinforcement. Dropping your cat will result in the release of his scruff. While a healthy cat will not be damaged in this manner, he will learn that you are too harsh with him, and he may not be as cooperative the next time you take him up by the scruff of the neck.
  1. Learn why cats are more readily handled when they are held by the scruff of their neck. By securely gripping and controlling the scruff of their kittens with their mouths, mother cats carry and govern their young. Any kitten that has been handled in this manner by its mother will automatically become motionless and gather his limbs close to his body, as you can see in the video below. When cats are grabbed by the scruff as kittens, many of them will continue to do so as adults. 2 Make yourself familiar with the scenarios in which you should avoid scratching a cat. Keep your cat’s scruffing away from settings where it could become agitated or where the danger of damage to you or your cat is higher.
  • It is not a good idea to scruff your cat when he is sleeping, just as you would not want to be grabbed while you are asleep
  • Scruffing your cat while he is sleeping might shock him. In the event that your cat is eating, wait until he has finished his meal before doing anything that may need him to be scruffed. You could find it difficult to calm him down or handle him when he’s anxious or aroused, which may increase the possibility of you getting scratched or biting him. Your cat has arthritis or is obese–scruffing can cause neck muscles to become overworked and sore, which can be particularly unpleasant in an elderly cat with arthritis or a cat that is excessively overweight. If your cat does not have much scruff–some cats simply do not have much of a scruff–you may want to consider grooming him. As soon as you grip the scruff, you should be able to tell what is going on. If your cat just has a stubby scruff, don’t even bother trying to hold him. In the case of an elderly cat, it is possible that the cat will feel ashamed or embarrassed upon being scruffed.
  • It is not a good idea to scruff your cat when he is sleeping, just as you would not want to be grabbed while you are asleep, scruffing your cat while he is sleeping will shock him. In the event that your cat is eating, wait until he has finished his meal before doing anything that could need him to be scruffed. In times of agitation or excitement, he may be difficult to settle down or handle, which may increase the possibility of you getting scratched or bitten
  • In the case of an arthritic or obese cat, scruffing can put a pressure on the neck muscles, which can be particularly painful in the case of an arthritic or excessively fat feline. For cats with little scruff–some cats just do not have much of a scruff–you may use a scruff-less collar. When you grip the scruff, you should be able to sense it. If your cat just has a stubby scruff, don’t try to hold him. In the case of an elderly cat, it is possible that the cat will feel ashamed or embarrassed when it is scruffed.
  • Trim his nails while he is calm and comfortable rather than when he is anxious or worked up after a strong game session. Scuffing and nail trimming should be done when your cat is lying down on something stable (e.g., a table or a countertop) to avoid injury. Both you and the cat will be more comfortable as a result of this. This phase may necessitate the participation of two persons (one person to scruff the hair and one person to clip the nails). In the case of nail clipping or medicine administration, you will not need to hoist your cat in the air after scruffing him. It would be appropriate in these circumstances to gently press his head toward the supporting surface while using your other hand or arm to gently restrict his rear end.
  • 4 Carefully comb your cat’s fur to remove any matted (clumped) hairs. The process of combing out mats in your cat’s fur is not the most comfortable for your cat, and it might even be painful for him at times. Because he may want to walk about while the matting are being combed out, it will be necessary to keep him motionless.
  • In the same way that you would position your cat on a supported surface before clipping his claws, place him on a supportive surface before scruffing him to comb away matting. Make use of a comb with a broad tooth
  • Maintain as near to the skin as possible while combing the mat out from the bottom up–just as if you were attempting to untangle a knot in someone’s hair.
  • 5 Scuff your cat’s fur before administering drugs to him. When someone tries to administer medication to a cat, they may be very tough to deal with. Maintaining your cat’s stillness will boost your chances of being able to provide his medication.
  • Make sure you are scratching him on a firm surface
  • If you are trying to give him a pill, raise his head up slightly as you are scratching him to ensure that the pill is properly placed in his mouth. When administering injectable drugs, it may be better to have your veterinarian or veterinary technician scruff the cat and deliver the medication rather than attempting to do it yourself.
  • 6) Scruff your cat as a kind of punishment. Using your hands to scruff him may actually make the problem worse
  • Thus, use caution when doing so.
  • If you have to scruff him in order to reprimand him, pronounce the word ‘no’ as you are doing so so that he understands that he has misbehaved
  • And Additionally, lightly scruff him to reprimand him. When your cat is in distress, it is possible that you may upset him by harsh handling him.
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If you have to scruff him in order to reprimand him, pronounce the word ‘no’ as you are doing so so that he understands that he has misbehaved. In addition, lightly scruff him to reprimand him if necessary.

Your cat will most likely become agitated if your scratch him roughly while he is in distress.

  • Question Is it OK for a mother cat to grab her kittens by the neck when she transports them to a new location? A veterinarian with over 30 years of expertise in veterinary surgery and companion animal practice, Dr. Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS, is a member of the British Veterinary Medical Association. Veterinary medicine and surgery were among the subjects she studied when she graduated with honors from the University of Glasgow in 1987. She has been employed at the same animal clinic in her hometown for more than two decades now. Contribute to wikiHow by unlocking this expert answer provided by a veterinarian. Yes, this is very normal and exactly how nature wants for the mother to relocate the kittens from place to place. It may appear to us that the kitten dangling from her lips is dangerous, but because they are so light, they do no harm and are naturally subdued, so they do not squeal, which would attract the attention of predators.

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  • Scruffing is most effective in animals with a calm demeanor, according to research. In the case of a cat who is rebellious or independent, he may simply object to being handled in this manner
  • When a cat is being scratched, he will express his discomfort in a plain and audible manner. He has the ability to thrash, hiss, and fight. Quite the opposite, he may also automatically freeze, go silent, or emit only a few sounds, which can assist animals in avoiding becoming prey in the wilderness. It is important to be aware that if your cat shows any of these habits, you may be endangering him. You can ask your veterinarian to show how to scruff your cat if you are not confident in your ability to do so
  • Despite the fact that scruffing is a means of restraint, it should only be used when other methods of restraint have failed.
  • It’s important to remember that cats are still capable of turning on you when the skin on their neck is being squeezed. Avoiding this by scruffing as near to the ears as feasible can avoid it
  • Nevertheless, do not attempt to pick up other species of animals by the scruff unless absolutely necessary. Some people have the ability to spin around in their own skin in order to bite. Others would be uncomfortable, if not wounded, as a result of the scruffing. If done incorrectly, scruffing can cause major injury to the neck muscles and skin surrounding the neck area. Allow a veterinarian or a veterinary technician to properly scruff your cat if you are not confident in your ability to do so. If a cat appears to be anxious or rebellious, do not attempt to scruff him. The only person who should scruff a cat with this sort of attitude is a competent expert, such as a veterinarian or a veterinary technician.

About This Article

Summary of the ArticleXTo securely hold a cat by the scruff, wait until the cat is calm and familiar with you touching it before grabbing it. Place the cat on a stable, level surface, then place your hand at the back of the cat’s neck and gently grip the loose skin in this region with your full palm, grasping as near to the ears as possible. Repeat this process with the other hand. It is appropriate for the cat to put its ears back, but its body should remain relaxed unless the cat is really hostile.

Learn when it is and is not suitable to scruff your cat by continuing to read this article!

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“Scruffing” a cat is a phrase that is used to describe the act of restraint in which a cat is restrained by tightly grabbing the loose skin at the back of the cat’s neck — this is sometimes followed by raising the cat up or otherwise forcefully restricting the cat. We at International Cat Care are strongly opposed to the practice of scruffing as a technique of restraint due to the stress and discomfort that it may bring to felines. Scruffing is a common technique used when people are afraid of being bitten by a cat.

  • In this way, it is unproductive and detrimental to the cat’s well-being at the same time.
  • It is our goal to provide educational resources, such as videos (click here to watch “handling cats for owners”) and written guidelines, to assist veterinary staff and others caring for cats in using handling techniques that are better for the cat’s welfare.
  • We want all veterinary facilities to make a public commitment to never scruff cats.
  • However, scruffing should never be used as a normal method of restraint.

Humane Handling of Cats: How To Do 3 Safe & Effective Holds

These three restraining grips for cats are the most effective and safest you can use.

When practicing these holds, avoid putting strong fragrances on your hands, such as perfumes, lotions, or cigarettes, because they will interfere with your practice. If at all possible, refrain from handling dogs before handling cats.

Materials:

Taco Hold’s cat bed is a must-have.

How Long It’ll Take:

Taco Hold’s feline bed

Instructions:

This is a win-win situation. The cat in a taco hold is safely tucked away within his cat bed—the “taco shell,” and you won’t have to worry about being clawed or bitten as a result of the arrangement. It’s as simple as folding the cat’s bed sides around him and holding the bed tightly in your arms. Once the cat has been released from his cage, you may use one hand to grab the back of his head to exert additional control over him if necessary.

The Burrito Hold

Due to the fact that it mimics the hold a running back would use to propel a football down the field, this hold was given its name. Take note of how the cat’s body weight is safely supported by the handler’s forearm, which has been pressed against her body for even more support. Because this is a one-handed grip, it is best used on cats who are calm and well-socialized. By placing your second hand on the back of the cat’s neck, you may quickly convert the football hold into a two-hand hold for more control.

The act of scruffing a cat at the area where you firmly grasped the skin at the top of the neck or the base of the head might lead some cats to become defensive—and it may not be required in all cases.

The Snake Hold

Make a fist with your forefinger and middle finger on top of the cat’s head and your thumb and ring finger beneath the cat’s lower jaw. This hold is an excellent alternative to scruffing calm cats, while still providing you access to the cat if it is absolutely essential to scruff him. The snake grip is a more sophisticated hold that should be practiced before being used on an unfamiliar cat.

Additional Resources

  • Handling Cats Humanely: Hands-Free Tools
  • Webinar: Humane Feline Handling 101
  • Humane Feline Handling 101

We have a great deal more information on this subject:

Giving liquid medication to your cat – Paradise Veterinary Hospital

Download Video Formats: MP4, WebM, and Ogg The most convenient approach to provide liquid medicine to your cat is to mix it in with some canned food. It is preferable to provide a modest amount of food that the cat is guaranteed to eat rather than a huge portion that the cat may not finish in order to ensure that the medicine is really consumed. Some cats may be averse to eating the food, or they may have dietary limitations that preclude you from employing this strategy in their situation. Consequently, you will need to inject the prescription straight into the cat’s mouth if this is the situation.

Instructions

  • Video Formats: MP4, WebM, and Ogg In order to make things as simple as possible, you may mix liquid medication into some canned food and feed it to your cat. It is preferable to provide a modest amount of food that the cat is assured to eat rather than a huge part that the cat may not be able to finish in order to ensure that the medicine is really consumed. Some cats may be averse to eating the food, or they may have dietary limitations that preclude you from employing this strategy in their case. It may be necessary to put the medicine straight into the cat’s mouth if this is the situation.

How To Scruff Your Cat

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When you need to restrict a cat for medical care, training, or safety concerns, scruffing her may be a very effective technique of containment. It’s critical to learn how to do it securely and when it’s suitable to do so. Scruffing is the act of gripping the loose skin on the back of a cat’s neck, which is high on the back of the neck.

What Is Cat Scruffing For?

We simply need to turn to nature for wonderful examples of how it may be put to good use. When mother cats are initially transporting their kittens, they scruff them. During the carrying process, the mother cat scoops up her youngster by the scruff, and the kitten instinctively hangs still and softly. As the kittens develop and become too large to be carried, the mother cat may resort to scruffing as a form of discipline to keep them in line. The majority of the time, a mother cat will train her kitten by using her voice or pushing the kitten with her body.

The kitten will remain motionless and will stop engaging in undesired activity.

Many cats maintain their scruffing instincts into maturity and will go limp when they are reminded of their past behavior. Scruffing is a powerful type of control that should be used with caution and only in certain instances when other tactics have failed, such as when:

  • Maintaining cleanliness by trimming nails and combing away matting. Giving medication. Giving first help. Stopping bad behavior*.

Please exercise extreme caution if you are attempting to scruff an enraged or distressed cat. However, rather than deterring inappropriate conduct, this forceful reprimand may instead exacerbate the issue, resulting in you being bitten or scratched. Scruffing should only be performed on cats with calm temperaments that are well-known and trusted by their owners.

How to Scruff a Cat

The following are detailed instructions for scruffing a cat.

  1. Gently and firmly hold the loose skin on the back of the kitty’s neck, as close to the ears as you can get your hands on it. The closer you get to your cat’s ears when you scruff, the more control you will have over his head and any struggling or biting he may be doing
  2. To confine a cat for inspection or medication administration, gently press her head toward the floor or table. The cat should then lay peacefully on her stomach until the procedure is completed. Utilize your free hand to gently keep her rump down or to exert control over her back legs. If you’re looking for a way to reprimand her, say “no” firmly and softly while holding her down until she begins to relax. Never shout or shake the kitten
  3. It’s dangerous. if the cat has to be raised while being scruffed, you must support her weight by placing your free hand under her rump or back legs while you pick her up and move her to the desired location
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Things to Remember When Scruffing a Cat

  • Scruffing is not a pleasant experience for a cat. Scuffing should only be used when all other approaches have failed. If a cat is scruffed too many times, it is likely that it will become a less and less effective technique of control as time passes. It is imperative that you support the weight of your scruffed cat’s body if you have to raise her
  • Else, damage may happen. Always praise your dog with stroking and verbal encouragement for her positive conduct once she has been released from a scruffing. Seek advice from your veterinarian to ensure that you can scruff appropriately.

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At CatHealth.com, all of the information is of a general reference nature only.

Just Answer is a third-party service that is not linked with CatHealth.com in any way.

Why You Should Not Scruff a Cat to Discourage Bad Behavior

Scuffing a cat’s neck is only used in a few specific conditions, and none of these scenarios are useful to duplicate in a home, veterinarian, or shelter context. Nonetheless, some individuals propose scruffing your cat’s neck to deter poor behavior. We all want the best for our cats, and there are more effective and compassionate methods of correcting behavior in our feline companions than traditional methods. Learn why it is not suggested for you to scruff your cat in order to prevent negative behavior in this article.

What Is Scruffing?

It is a generic word that describes a number of different clutches on the skin of a cat’s neck. Grabbing the scruff of the neck can range from a mild squeeze of skin to holding a wider fold of skin with varied amounts of pressure. It is occasionally followed by raising the cat up or severely restricting the cat in other ways.

Why and When Are Cats Scruffed?

Kittens go limp as a result of a flexor reflex in their bodies. This reaction is only present during the first few weeks of a kitten’s life and is not present later on. Mother cats only grasp kittens by the scruff of their necks in the first few weeks of life in order to convey them to a safe location. They do not do this in order to reprimand them, as is commonly believed. It’s crucial to remember that we, as humans, are not felines, as some may believe. An experienced mother cat understands just how much pressure to apply to the skin at the back of the neck, and cats have pressure receptors built into their teeth, which explains how they are able to carry a mouse around in their mouths without scratching it.

Female cats will be mounted by their male counterparts from behind, and the male cat will hold her by the scruff of her neck with his teeth throughout the mating process.

It is also thought to be a protective gesture on the side of the male because female cats frequently attack male cats during mating season.

This can be unpleasant for female cats, which is why female cats will frequently attack the male cat during mating rituals.

In a household, veterinarian clinic, or animal shelter context, none of these scenarios are beneficial to simulate.

Using Scruffing to Discourage Bad Behavior

It is a popular misconception that scruffing may be used to deter poor behavior in your cats. As previously said, mother cats do not scruff babies in order to punish them, which generates dread and tension in the kittens. Fright and punishment are not suggested methods of educating your cat, for a variety of reasons. Fear, worry, and stress may all be exacerbated: There is always a valid justification for a person’s actions. Cats are not malicious when they exhibit unpleasant habits, and in many cases, these behaviors are really natural for the cat to exhibit.

Unwanted habits are frequently triggered by a sense of insecurity in one’s own environment, as well as stress.

This involves yelling, scruffing, hurling objects, and sprinkling water on the ground.

Fear can result in aggressive behavior in cats: One of the most prevalent reasons cats display aggressive behavior toward humans is because they are afraid of humans.

Does not teach your cat the desired behavior, and does not communicate properly with your cat about what you do not want him to do: Punishment may deter your cat from doing whatever it is that they are doing at the time, but it does not teach the cat what you want him or her to do in the future.

In order for punishment to be effective, it must be administered within a second or two of the unwanted behavior occurring, it must occur every time the behavior occurs, and it must be aversive enough to deter the cat from repeating the behavior in the future without being too aversive that the cat becomes scared.

It is important that we treat them with compassion and productivity when dealing with their behavioral difficulties.

When cats engage in undesirable activities such as destructive scratching or eliminating outside of the litter box, they are often communicating with us that something is wrong, and as their caretakers, we must pay attention and act accordingly.

If you have any reason to believe your pet is unwell, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Always consult your veterinarian for health-related inquiries, since they have evaluated your pet and are familiar with the pet’s medical history, and they can provide the most appropriate suggestions for your pet.

Is scruffing the best way to handle an upset cat?

Cat “scruffing,” which is defined as holding the animal by the loose skin on its rear neck, is not only an excellent method for restraining, but it also encourages cats to relax, according to many of us. The reasoning behind this is that kittens become more relaxed when their mother carries them by the scruff of the neck. Unfortunately, such line of reasoning is faulty. For the first several weeks of their lives, mother cats only carry their kittens by the scruff of their necks. They are able to do so because kittens have a reflex that causes their bodies to go completely limp when taken up by the scruff—a reaction that is gone by the time they reach adulthood.

  • The only time an adult cat gets grabbed by the scruff is during mating (if the female is in estrus, or “heat”) or when the cat is being attacked by a predator.
  • Working with cats that are stressed out and unable to cooperate with the care they require may be done in a more effective and efficient manner.
  • An Elizabethan collar (sometimes known as the “cone of shame”) may be used to inspect a scared cat while using the least amount of constraint possible.
  • The most critical aspect of dealing with a worried or anxious cat is to pay close attention to his or her body language and appropriately interpret it.
  • A brief break in treatment, a few gentle words, or the use of a towel may be all that is required for a relaxed inspection.
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How To Scruff A Cat Properly: Learn When and How

Every product and service on My Pet Needs That has been carefully chosen by our team of editors, authors, and subject matter experts. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of our links, we may get a referral fee. More information may be found here. Scruffing a cat is the phrase used to describe the act of picking up a cat by the scruff, which is the loose skin at the back of its neck. This is something that mother cats do while they are picking up and moving their kittens around. Take a cat by the scruff, and you will essentially immobilize him, as well as keep him from biting or clawing you, allowing you to do tasks such as administering medication to a feline companion.

However, this is not something that should be attempted without prior experience and should not be attempted too frequently.

The Process

  • To begin, make sure your hands and arms are clean and clear of any strong odours before you begin. Pet and soothe your cat while remaining calm and stress-free yourself. As a last resort, place your cat on something stable like a desk or table. Remove your cat’s collar if he wears one
  • Collars are not stretchable, and if you scruff him while his collar is still on, you may accidently suffocate him. Gently grab the loose skin on the back of your cat’s neck with your entire hand, as if you were holding a piece of string. Do this as near to his ears as you possibly can
  • If you have him in the proper position, his ears should go back in. Simply doing this should render your cat immobile, but if you need to pick him up, be sure to hold his back end with your other arm. Scuff your cat just for as long as is required to complete the task at hand, and then place him back down on a supporting surface before releasing him from your control. Under no circumstances should you lower your cat from a snuffling position. Before you go on, spend some time caressing and soothing him down if necessary.

Best Cat Collar is a related post.

Reasons For Scruffing

  • It is possible that you will need to trim your cat’s nails. It is possible to scruff your cat while combing out the matted area if he has managed to mat any of his fur
  • However, this is not recommended. If you need to administer medicine to your cat

Best Cat Nail Clippers is a related article.

When Not to Scruff a Cat

  • Never pick up a sleeping cat by the scruff of the neck. Consider what it might be like to be roused from your sleep by someone grabbing you from behind. It is not acceptable to scratch a cat when he is eating. If your cat is anxious or stressed, it is best not to attempt to scruff him
  • Instead, it is preferable to leave whatever you are doing for a time until your cat is quiet before attempting to scratch him. If your cat is fat or has arthritis, refrain from trying to scruff him. If your cat is over the age of ten, do not scruff him.

Scruffing is only actually done by moms to their newborn kittens; it is not done by cats as they grow older, therefore they will not be accustomed to it when they are older. Incorrect scuffing may be painful, so be prepared to change your grip to pick up more scruff or to release your cat if he seems uncomfortable or agitated while you are scuffing.

Alternatives to Scruffing

  • Ensure that your cat is supported on a good level surface (perhaps with a mat or towel to grasp on to
  • ) and that the surroundings is stress-free. If you want to quiet down your cat, massage his head with your middle three fingers. Then slip your thumb and little finger between his ears and stroke
  • Many cats prefer being swaddled in a towel (often with one paw free) than any other type of restraint, and this is especially true for older cats. The ability to gradually tighten the towel if necessary is also provided as a result of this.

It is important to remember to soothe and pet your cat when you have completed whatever task you have set for yourself and have released him from his restriction. If you have a cat, NEVER use scruffing as a form of punishment.

Sources:

  1. Brian Bourquin, DVM, How to Hold a Cat by the Scruff, WikiHow
  2. Brian Bourquin, DVM, How to Hold a Cat by the Scruff, WikiHow
  3. Brian Bourquin, DVM, How to Hold a Cat by the Sc In Denise LeBeau’s Catster article, “Scruffing a Cat: Why You Shouldn’t Do It and How to Restrain a Cat the Right Way,” she discusses why you shouldn’t do it and how to restrain a cat the right way.

Is It OK to

Using the scruff (the skin on the back of the cat’s neck) to lift or suspend a cat’s body weight is both unnecessary and potentially unpleasant. This is also not the most courteous or proper method of picking up or handling your cat. If you’re picking up your cat under normal conditions, the ideal method to do so is to spread your hand under his chest and, as you raise, move your other hand and forearm under the back end of his body to support his weight. Then, to add even more support, pull him up to your chest.

Your grasp should be relaxed, but there should be enough contact for you to feel any strain in your hands.

If your cat ever flips out while you’re holding him, don’t attempt to keep him in your arms; instead, simply open your arms and let him blow off.

Why Your Vet Might Scruff Your Cat

The scruff of a prone cat has long been held by veterinarians in order to maintain control over them during examinations and treatments. After all, kittens become limp when their mothers hold them by the scruff, so it was hypothesized that a strong grasp on the loose skin over a cat’s shoulders would cause the similar reaction. However, this “flexor reflex” is only present in very early kittens, and some behaviorists now believe that grasping the skin in “mother cat manner” causes stress and might make the cat more wary of humans.

Practices that cater to cats are currently implementing or experimenting with methods to allow a cat to relax in an exam room, such as providing cubbies for hiding or cracking apart a carrier to allow the cat to rest in the bottom half.

See also:  How To Get Your Cat To Drink Water

Breaking the myth on cat scruffing by cat behaviourist Anita Kelsey

The following is an essay written by cat behavior specialist Anita KelseyC (2014) I’m not a huge fan of scruffing cats, and during my cat behavior consultations, I frequently hear people tell me that they scruff their cats as a method of getting them to obey them when they’ve been ‘naughty’ since “that’s what their mothers would have done when they were kittens.” Breaking down the myths around cat scruffing may begin right away!

These are only a few of the reasons why scruffing is never a smart choice in the majority of situations, as detailed below.

  1. Cats that are scruffed often exhibit aggressive behavior
  2. Nevertheless, a kitten’s connection with its mother is founded on an entirely other set of rules. An experienced mother cat understands just how much pressure to apply to the skin at the back of the neck. Not to chastise them (as many people over-quote), but to carry them or relocate them away from danger is why she scruffs her kittens. In the case of an adult cat, the act of a human scruffing it is terrifying and causes the cat to become uneasy and protective
  3. Lifting or suspending a cat’s body weight by its scruff (the skin on the back of its neck) is unnecessary and might be harmful for the animal. Certainly not the most courteous or proper method to pick up and handle your cat
  4. The thought being that, because kittens become limp when their mothers hold them by the scruff, a strong grasp on loose skin over a cat’s shoulders would elicit the same response in a feline. However, this “flexor reflex” is only present in very young kittens. As a result, it is currently believed that grabbing the skin in “mother cat form” creates stress and makes a cat more scared. Scruffing should only ever be done in an emergency case if you need to hold a cat fast due to unforeseen circumstances. In addition, scruffing should never be used as a training or reprimanding technique.

Treat your cat with dignity and discipline him in the correct manner. Forceful activities, such as scruffing, should never be considered as a viable option for anyone. Dr. Marty Becker is cited as an example. Karen L.’s overall impression G. Landsberg is a Swedish author. W. Hunthausen is credited with inventing the term “hunthausen.” L Ackerman is a writer and editor based in New York City. If you would like to schedule a cat behavior consultation with Anita Kelsey, a Certified Clinical Animal Behaviourist located in London, please do not hesitate to [email protected]

BACK TO THE FELINE BEHAVIOR HELP PAGE.

Cat Scruffing: Why You Shouldn’t Do It

You’ve undoubtedly seen a mother cat dragging her kitten around by the scruff of its neck at some point in your life. Cat scruffing, also known as scruffing a cat, is a kind of transportation that is pretty humorous. Furthermore, although it is OK to scruff a baby kitten, it is not acceptable to do so with an adult cat. Learn why this is happening, as well as better strategies to deal with cats who are anxious.

What is cat scruffing?

When you scruff your cat (or another animal, such as a dog), you are grasping the loose skin at the back of the neck to keep it from moving. Mama cats may scruff their kittens with their mouths as a method of transporting them securely throughout the house. Because of a flexor reflex, kittens go limp when they are scratched. However, this reaction may be observed only during the first few weeks of a kitten’s existence.

Why shouldn’t you scruff an adult cat?

In this case, there is no direct parallel between scratching a baby kitten and scratching a cat. In the words of veterinary behaviorist Dr. Lore Haug: “There aren’t any secret buttons on the scruffs of cats, and the comparison of a mother cat holding her kittens isn’t correct either.” So, why would you want to scruff a cat in the first place? The majority of the time, humans employ scruffing to calm down a stressed cat or to deter negative behavior in a feline. Scuffing, on the other hand, is not an efficient method of accomplishing any of those goals.

Cat scruffing takes away their sense of control, increasing their dread and tension, and increasing their likelihood of being aggressive.

Scruffing can also have a negative impact on your connection with your cat.

Never “punish” your cat with scruffing; in fact, many animal welfare organizations and veterinary specialists consider scruffing to be abusive on the verge of becoming abusive.

Ways to handle or restrain a cat without scruffing

After reading this, you should understand why you shouldn’t indulge in cat scruffing.

But what can you do to deal with a cat who is in a stressful environment? Take a look at these suggestions on what to avoid doing while handling a cat—and what to do in its place.

  • Do approach the cat in a calm manner
  • Use a frontal approach with direct eye contact rather than an indirect one. Allowing the cat to approach you is not recommended. Don’t try to catch the cat. Bring yourself down to the cat’s level
  • Don’t be concerned about the cat
  • Dogently stroking the cat’s head and face is recommended. You should avoid stroking the belly or (sometimes) the base of the tail. Pay attention to the cat’s body language and respond accordingly
  • If the cat appears to be enthusiastic or hostile, refrain any further interaction with him. Wait about an hour or two and try again once the cat has calmed down. Distractions such as eating, cleaning teeth, or playing games should be provided
  • Finally, experiment with different towel-handling techniques (such as swaddling or “burrito wrapping”). Learn how to towel-wrap a cat by watching the video below

The basic conclusion is that scruffing your cat is never an appropriate method of restraint or punishment. Leave cat scruffing to the professionals—also known as mom kitties—and let them do their thing. Sources: Photo by Alexander Andrews from Unsplash used as the cover.

Recommendations

Getty Images/IMartin Poole/Digital Vision/IMartin Poole Little kittens are bundles of energy that only take a break when it’s time for them to slumber. There is, however, one method to halt a boisterous cat in his tracks: grip his scruff with both hands. When he’s held in this position, he’ll become limp immediately. It’s the equivalent of pressing the kitten pause button.

What Is the Scruff?

Kitty has a loose area of skin where his head links to his neck, which is referred to as his scruff. When he gets grabbed by the scruff, he will immediately become subservient, considering the person who has taken hold of him to be a dominant figure. You should only scratch your kitten when necessary; if you simply want to hold him for a few minutes of cuddling time, take him up by his center with one hand and support his rear end with the other.

Kitten Instinct

His mother will carry him around on the back of his scruff. When he is carried by his mother, it is instinctive for him to go limp. This makes it possible to travel in safety. If the kitten was screaming or wriggling, it was possible that he or his mother would be injured. His mother cat will also grab him by the scruff if he engages in an unwanted activity, such as nipping or biting, and force him to stop. This gives mama the opportunity to demonstrate her power. She will frequently brush the cat after scruffing him to help him relax.

Proper Scruffing

It is not recommended that you use scratching to carry your kitten around the home; nevertheless, it may be used to establish dominance while you are teaching him. To properly scruff him, carefully feel his neck for any loose skin on the top of his neck. Pinch the kitten’s skin firmly, and the kitten will become limp. You can request that Kitty’s veterinarian demonstrate for you. If Kitty squirms or yowls, remove him from the situation immediately. This indicates that you have injured him and have not gotten the scruff.

Despite the fact that scruffing may be used to demonstrate dominance, and you’ve undoubtedly seen a cat bite the scruff of another cat, it’s not a safe technique to pick up a cat.

Scruff Training

It is famously difficult to train a cat to behave. Scruff training is modeled after the manner in which his mother would train him. Only use scruff training for the most irritating behaviors, such as aggressiveness against humans or other dogs, or if your dog is being destructive in his environment. Begin by scruffing kitty’s fur and pressing him firmly against the ground with your foot. Give him a resounding “no” or a loud hiss, then let him go. Pet him and tell him he’s a nice kitten after you’ve allowed him out of your sight.

Keep in mind that firm is not the same as abrasive. Maintaining a firm grasp while being cool and forceful is important, but you should avoid exerting excessive pressure. This will not only terrify Kitty, but it may also cause him physical harm and drive him to shun you forever.

Cat Handling & Scruffing

It is famously difficult to train a cat. It is Scruff’s mother who trains him, therefore Scruff’s training is similar. Only use scruff training for the most troublesome behaviors, such as aggressiveness against humans or other dogs, or if your dog is being destructive in his chewing or chewing on things. First, scratch the kitty’s back with your fingers and press him hard on the ground. Give him a resounding “no” or a loud hiss, then walk away. Pet him and tell him he’s a nice kitten once you’ve let him out of the cage.

Do not confuse the terms “firm” with “rough.” Maintaining a firm grasp while being cool and forceful is important, but you should avoid exerting excessive pressure on the object.

What is scruffing a cat?

Cat training is notoriously difficult. Scruff’s training is modeled around the way his mother would train him. Only use scruff training for the most annoying behaviors, such as aggressiveness against humans or other dogs, or if your dog is being destructive. Begin by scruffing kitty’s fur and pressing him forcefully on the ground with your hands. Give him a resounding “no” or a loud hiss, then free him from the situation. Pet him and tell him he’s a nice kitten after you’ve let him go. This imitates the way his mother takes him and consoles him with some grooming after a rough day.

Maintaining a firm grasp while being cool and forceful is essential, but avoid using excessive force.

Why is scruffing used for cats?

Training your cat is notoriously difficult. Scruff training is modeled after the way his mother would train him. Only use scruff training for the most troublesome behaviors, such as aggressiveness against humans or other dogs, or if your dog is being destructive. Begin by scruffing up kitten and pushing him down firmly on the ground. Give him a hard “no” or a loud hiss, then release him. After you’ve let go, pet him and tell him he’s a nice kitten. This mimics the way his mother grabs him and calms him with little grooming.

Maintaining a firm grasp while being cool and forceful is important, but you should avoid using excessive force.

Why shouldn’t scruffing be used to control your cat?

It is famously difficult to train a cat to behave. Scruff training is modeled after the manner in which his mother would train him. Only use scruff training for the most irritating behaviors, such as aggressiveness against humans or other dogs, or if your dog is being destructive in his environment. Begin by scruffing kitty’s fur and forcing him forcefully into the ground with your foot. Give him a resounding “no” or a loud hiss, then let him go. Pet him and tell him he’s a nice kitten after you’ve allowed him out of your sight.

Keep in mind that firm is not the same as abrasive. Maintaining a firm grasp while being cool and forceful is important, but you should avoid exerting excessive pressure. This will not only terrify Kitty, but it may also cause him physical harm and drive him to shun you forever.

Alternatives to scruffing and how cats should be handled

Talk to the cat on a regular basis in a gentle and soothing tone. Holding or cradling the cat against your body is recommended. Keep the number of handlers or caretakers to a bare minimum in order to assist the cat in becoming accustomed.

2.Give the cat control

Try to move the cat just once or twice a day, and give the cat the idea that it has some influence over the situation or its surroundings.

3. Reduce visual stimulation

Covering the cat’s head might sometimes assist in distracting or calming the cat by decreasing visual input.

4. Stroke the cat’s facial pheromone sites

The cheekbones, chin, forehead, and lips of the cat are good places to start caressing to distract it from its prey’s pheromones.

5. Prioritise the examination

Prioritize the examination/treatment, leaving the most difficult (i.e., taking a temperature) for last. Distract the cat gently while the needle or canulae are being inserted.

6. Control the cat’s forelimbs

The ability to maintain control of the forelimbs is essential. Place the fingers between the front legs to provide a firm (but not too tight) hold on the handle.

7. Use the MDC Cat Wrap

If further restraint is necessary, use theMDC Cat Wrapor blanket to’swaddle’ the cat and keep the limbs under tight control. Smart Cat Wrap from MDC

8. If necessary, use sedation

Using sedation can help to prevent fear aggression from forming and escalating.

Useful Products

The MDC is inviting feline welfare, behavior, grooming, training, and veterinary organizations to join them in raising awareness of the potential consequences of utilizing needless scruffing techniques to confine cats, which are already illegal in the United States. Spread the word about our social media initiatives by sharing our Must You Scruff? postings on social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

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