What Is Scruffing in Cats?

Scruffing is a cat handling technique involving gently grasping the loose skin on the neck. Traditionally believed to mimic a mother's hold, it serves various purposes.


A mother cat employs scruffing to carry her kittens. This induces a calming response, making the kittens feel secure and mirroring a natural instinct.

Motherly Instinct

Scruffing may cause stress and anxiety in cats. It's essential to recognize that each cat reacts differently; some tolerate it briefly, while others may become fearful or agitated.

Stressful Impact

Veterinarians may use scruffing for medical procedures. When done with care and expertise, it ensures the safety and comfort of the cat during examinations or treatments.

Veterinary Use

When handling a cat, it's crucial to be gentle. If scruffing is necessary, do it carefully and for a brief duration. Positive handling fosters trust and a positive relationship.

Handling Tips

Alternative handling methods often work better than scruffing. Cats respond well to positive reinforcement and gentle approaches, promoting a healthier and happier bond.

Alternative Approaches

If you face challenges in handling or your cat exhibits stress, consult a professional. Veterinarians or behaviorists can provide tailored advice for effective cat handling.

Consult a Professional

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