Mother carrying kitten by scruff (clear cute version)

Mother cat carries kitten by scruff
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Mother cat carries kitten by scruff


This is a very short, repetitive (apologies), video (actually an animated .gif) of a mother carrying her kitten by the scruff. It is pretty plain but it has one quality: it shows the behaviour very clearly and it is sort of cute.

When the mother grasps her kitten in her mouth by the loose skin at the back of the neck (the scruff of the neck) the kitten is ‘programmed’ to go limp and passive with hind legs curled up. This is nature’s way of enabling mother to move her kittens more easily without interruption.

Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important

You may have seen people on video placing a clothes peg onto a kitten’s scruff whereupon he or she drops to the ground as if poleaxed. It’s that ‘kitten response’ again. Although I disapprove of doing this for the cameras.

The Thundershirt (a pacifying or calming cat and dog garment) creates a similar reaction in a cat. Perhaps the designers of the product built it around this well-known phenomenon.

Cat harnesses can also cause cats to collapse to the ground for the same reason. It makes walking your cat distinctly tricky if not impossible. Although cats get used to harnesses and get over the kitten response reaction in time.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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1 Response

  1. July 25, 2021

    […] kitten’s mother approaches the toddler and tries to take her kitten in her jaws in the usual way that mothers do when transporting their kittens. But the toddler resists because she wants to hold onto the kitten which she loves. Eventually the […]

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