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
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.