Kitten hates being scruffed? How come?

Jessica BondJessica Bond Traverse CityMember Posts: 1,685
We have a 2-3 month old kitten at work right now who HATES being scruffed. I'm talking full-out screeching and clawing and hating the whole thing. Otherwise, he's perfectly handleable. He's feisty and mouths a lot, but he doesn't mind being picked up and cuddled and played with. I know sometimes the backs of their necks can be sore from vaccines, but it's been a few weeks since his last shot and I don't feel any bumps or anything on his neck. And he's not sensitive in that area otherwise, just when he's scruffed. Do you think it's a physical issue causing him pain, or just him hating to be picked up that way? I work at an animal shelter without a vet on staff, FYI.

Best Answers

  • Sandy NenningerSandy Nenninger PlainvilleMember Posts: 1,975
    Accepted Answer
    First of all, most vets do not give vaccines in that area. That is old school and is suspected of causing cancer. Vaccines are given in the thigh or rear flank area. Second of all, you shouldn't be carrying kittens around by their scruff in the first place. Only their Mom cat does that and only when they are very small. If you need to hold him by it to give him meds or do other things to care for him that is one thing but there is no reason to pick him up or carry him that way and I don't blame him one bit for fighting it.
  • Joy WaltersJoy Walters Member Posts: 9,276
    Accepted Answer
    I agree with Allie. Scruffing should only be used in extreme situations, such as when a cat/kitten is in danger. Cats HATE HATE HATE to have their feet off the ground, especially when they're being grabbed by the back of their necks. If you can pick him up, cuddle and handle him, why are you scruffing him? When I worked with a rescue, I think I scruffed a cat once. I hated it, he hated it and I never did it again. As Allie said, if you need to give him meds, ask another staffer to help instead of scruffing him.
  • Lisa DaversLisa Davers SacramentoMember Posts: 3,642
    Accepted Answer
    Allie/Izzy - she is just talking about just holding the kittens scruff which usually calms them down and not carrying the kitten by it's scruff. Kittens and most cats usually go calm if you scruff them. I think that is because mother cats who need to move their kittens in an emergency would be more likely to drop a wriggly kitten so over time natural selection resulted in kittens going limp/calm when scruffed. I don't think it is 100% so maybe he is just an exception or was taken from his mother at a young age? As long as he's fine when you rub his neck and shoulders I wouldn't think there is any injury or pain. Re the others comments on vaccinations, most vets now avoid injecting in the scruff as in rare cases they can cause aggressive cancerous tumors. If that happens in the back it's much more serious and more difficult to treat than if it's in the leg. At ghe shelter I volunteer at they do rabies in the back right leg and FVRCP in the front right leg in the thigh area.
  • Valerie DurhamValerie Durham Member Posts: 8,724
    Accepted Answer
    Are cats supposed to ENJOY being scruffed? None of mine do. Why is it so necessary for you to scruff your cat, anyway? Cats are not dogs. The disciplining methods are totally different.
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