Is it safe and not un­kind to pick up an adult cat by the scruff of its neck?

Guru Magazine - - Ask A Guru - Asked by Martin Lee via Face­book

Scruff­ing a cat is rarely jus­ti­fied and may even be dan­ger­ous to you and your cat. As a vet, I’ve found that on rou­tine vis­its most cats do just fine with a min­i­mal hands-on ap­proach. They are more re­laxed and, frankly, just don’t need to be re­strained with this ap­proach. Most even take in­jec­tions with­out so much as a flinch – if they are han­dled prop­erly in the ex­am­i­na­tion room. On rare oc­ca­sions, with par­tic­u­larly ag­gres­sive cats, we must re­strain them through a va­ri­ety of means in or­der to avoid hurt­ing the owner, the pa­tient, and our­selves. There’s just no choice – but, in my ex­pe­ri­ence, this ap­plies to less than 10% of all fe­line pa­tients. Scruff­ing a cat is based on the an­ti­quated no­tion that it isn’t painful or dis­tress­ing – but it al­most cer­tainly is for adult cats. (This may not be true for kit­tens.) Fur­ther­more, I’ve had plenty of ex­pe­ri­ence to know that when a cat wants to, they can turn around to bite and claw you, even with a very firm grip on their scruff. Scruff­ing a cat is by no means a sure fire way to avoid get­ting bit­ten. There­fore, if you truly re­spect your cat and want to avoid caus­ing it un­due dis­tress, please prop­erly pick it up by sup­port­ing its en­tire body with two hands/ arms.

While choco­late, and es­pe­cially dark choco­late or baker’s choco­late is quite dan­ger­ous to your pets, you can give them that choco­laty taste you love with­out the poi­sonous af­ter-ef­fects by buy­ing them treats made with carob. The rea­son carob prod­ucts are so much safer for a pet is be­cause the lev­els of methylx­an­thines in them are quite low.

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