Cat mothers carry their babies by grabbing the fur on their necks with their mouths and lifting their little ones up – but sometimes you can also see people picking up their cats by the neck fur. You can find out why this is not a good idea here.
Why so many people lift their cats by the neck fur is understandable at first: You have probably observed this behavior in a cat and its kitten. In addition, the skin on the neck is looser. So you could reach in there and use the neck fur like a handle.
But a cat is not a handbag. And that’s why you should never lift them up like that. This can be dangerous, especially with adult cats.
Cat mothers instinctively know where and how tight they can “grab” their kittens’ necks. In addition, the little cats are still very light. And through a certain reflex, your body becomes completely limp in this position. This means that mothers can easily carry their cubs everywhere if they are still too small and weak to walk.
Why the Grip on the Neck Can Be Dangerous
In adult kitties, on the other hand, this causes stress and probably even pain. It is therefore not surprising that some cats react aggressively to what is known as “scruffing” in English.
“Grabbing a cat by the fur on its neck is definitely not the most respectful or appropriate way to treat your cat,” explains Anita Kelsey, an expert in cat behavior.
The only exception: if you have to hold your cat back quickly in certain situations, a grip on the neck fur can be the quickest and most harmless solution. But not if you want to wear or hold them normally.
Otherwise, cats can quickly feel very cramped when you wear them like this. For them, this situation amounts to a loss of control – not a nice feeling! In addition, her entire body weight is now on the neck fur. And that’s not only uncomfortable, it can be painful too. You may damage the muscles and connective tissue in the neck.
No wonder that some cats fight it off with biting and scratching.
Instead of on the Neck Fur: This Is How You Should Wear Your Cat
Instead, there are much better ways to pick up your cat. The best thing to do is to put a flat hand under her chest. While you are lifting her up, you then place your other forearm under her bottom and pull the cat to your chest. So your back is well protected and you can carry it in a stable position. Your grip shouldn’t be too tight, but it should still provide a good grip to keep your cat feeling safe, veterinarians advise.