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My cat had made her way into the crawl space in my garage. It is a big garage with a very high ceiling. She was not able to get back down so we had to go up by ladder and find her and bring her down. While trying to get her out she was struggling and wouldn't let me safely grab her and climb down the tall ladder. I had her in my arms half way between where she was and grabbed her by her scruff. I didn't dangle her in the air but brought her to my chest and laid her up against it still holding on while I climbed down. Is this safe or could it have hurt her. She has a tendency to explore and was wondering if this would be safe to do in emergencies every once in a while

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Lifting an adult cat by their scruff should be avoided; lift by gripping the body if at all possible. Which it sounds like you did.

Grabbing/pinching the scruff to get them to stop struggling does appear to be safe, though I would be nervous about applying that pressure point too often or too long.

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  • I was gripping her like that for about 10-15 seconds until I got safe enough to let go and fully carry her normally and the pressure was not very hard. – Sarah Jan 21 '17 at 5:35
  • I wouldn't worry about it, then. – keshlam Jan 21 '17 at 8:43
  • The scruff is of course not indestructible, but cats seem to not really feel pain there (it's more the discomfort of being held in an uncomfortable position that annoys them). If a mother can carry a kitten by its scruff using her teeth and the kitten doesn't cry out in pain, I doubt that a pinch on the scruff from human fingers (without nails) would hurt the cat. – Flater Nov 10 '17 at 13:41
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For kitties it wont cause problems (it also makes them feel 'home'). For grown up it's something to avoid as it may injure them. But in extreme cases and keeping the most weight possible not sustained by the scruff it'll be only a bad memory.

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  • This is not a solution, rather a statement. – Sonevol Nov 8 '17 at 20:21

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