Scruffing, or holding a cat by the scruff of their neck, is a common practice among cat owners and is often thought to be a harmless and effective way to handle and carry cats. However, scruffing can actually be painful and stressful for cats, and it is not a natural way for them to be handled.
There are a few reasons why people may think that scruffing a cat is natural. One reason is that they may have observed mother cats carrying their kittens by the scruff in the wild and assumed that this behavior is normal for all cats. Another reason is that they may have been taught by others that scruffing is an acceptable way to handle and carry cats, and may not have questioned this belief.
The myth that scruffing is natural for cats may also be perpetuated by the media, as it is a common technique depicted in movies and TV shows. However, it is important to remember that the behaviours and actions depicted in media do not always accurately reflect real-life situations and may not be appropriate or safe for animals.
It is important for cat parents to educate themselves on the proper and humane ways to handle and care for their feline companions, and to be aware of any myths or misconceptions that may be harmful to the well-being of their fur child.
When a cat is scruffed, the skin on their neck is pinched and pulled, which can cause them discomfort and pain. In addition, scruffing can cause a cat to become anxious and stressed, as it is a position of vulnerability for them. In the wild, mother cats will carry their kittens by the scruff in order to move them from one place to another, but this is done for the benefit of the kittens, not the mother. Adult cats do not naturally carry each other by the scruff, and scruffing an adult cat is not a natural or comfortable experience for them.
In addition to being painful and stressful for cats, scruffing can also have negative consequences for the human-cat relationship. When a cat is scruffed, they may become fearful or anxious around their owner, leading to a breakdown in trust and a decrease in the bond between the two. This can make it more difficult for the cat to feel comfortable and relaxed in their home environment, and may lead to behavioral issues such as aggression or hiding.
On the other hand, using more gentle and respectful handling techniques can help to build a positive and trusting relationship between a cat and their owner. By taking the time to understand the needs and preferences of your feline companion, you can create a loving and nurturing environment for them to thrive in.
There are other, more humane ways to handle and carry cats that do not involve scruffing. One option is to gently lift the cat using both hands, one under their chest and the other supporting their hind end. This allows the cat to feel secure and supported, and reduces the risk of them struggling or becoming anxious. Another option is to use a carrier or crate, which provides a safe and secure space for the cat to be transported.
If you are a cat parent, it is important to be mindful of how you handle and carry your feline companion, and to choose methods that are safe and respectful of their needs, and educate those who are not in the know, and perhaps you might want to scruff them if they refuse to be educated on the right way to hold their cat (just saying).