When kittens are picked up by the neck by their mothers the kittens become temporarily paralyzed.
Is this also true for adult cats if a human was to pick them up the same way?
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Cats can be temporarily paralyzed by pinching the skin on the back of their neck. This is called "pinch-induced behavioral inhibition" (PIBI) or "scruffing" or "clipnosis" (a composition of clip and hypnosis, because clips are often used in veterinary or scientific settings to keep cats immobile). It is a reflex in cats and other animals like rodents, rabbits, guinea pigs and dogs. This reflex stays active as the animal ages. You can read more about it in What research is there on the long term effects of pinch-induced behavioral inhibition conditioning on cats?.
However, the skin of the neck can only support a limited amount of weight and is not suited to support the body weight of an adult cat. You will certainly cause your cat pain and potentially injure it by literally picking it up by the scruff of the neck. Please read more about it in Is it ok to pick my adult cat up by the scruff of the neck?