Join 3,442 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


CTRL-ALT-MEOW
July 14, 2011 5:23 AM   Subscribe

Did you know that cats have a secret administrator's mode? SLYT. But worth it. (VIA BOING BOING)
posted by JHarris (71 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
Is that not painful? Don't know, but I wouldn't feel comfortable doing that to my kitties.
posted by Partario at 5:30 AM on July 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes.
posted by bwg at 5:30 AM on July 14, 2011


I thought everyone knew this. How can you be a cat owner and not already know this? Cats calm down when you pick 'em up like their mamma does. This is how you get them into the carrier to take them to the vet. Well, not with a binder clip, but by hoisting them by the scruff of the neck. This is Cat Science 101, people.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 5:33 AM on July 14, 2011 [15 favorites]


If only I'd been aware of this when I went to bath my cat earlier today, those claws are surprisingly sharp. On another note does this work on all breeds of cats or just specific ones?
posted by _frog at 5:33 AM on July 14, 2011


Effective though it may be nerve stapling the drones is an atrocity.
posted by I Foody at 5:35 AM on July 14, 2011 [31 favorites]


BitterOldPunk, yea, I pick my cat up by the scruff of the neck when he's doing something dumb; it's just that a binder clip exserts a lot of pressure. It doesn't seem nice.
posted by Partario at 5:37 AM on July 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


I agree that the binder clip seems excessive, but a larger one exerts less pressure, and for short periods of time when dealing with an extremely uncooperative cat this could be useful.
posted by JHarris at 5:39 AM on July 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


GOD DAMNIT, you do realize you just created a new tumblr.site "animalsbythescrufff.tumblr"!
posted by Fizz at 5:39 AM on July 14, 2011


And there's also this: "How to hold a cat by the scruff?"
posted by Fizz at 5:41 AM on July 14, 2011


That cat looks completely unbothered by the clip.
posted by orange swan at 5:42 AM on July 14, 2011


"Don't let a dog see this."

Every now and then there is a diamond in the YouTube comment rough (and oh, what a rough).
posted by 256 at 5:42 AM on July 14, 2011


Scratch your female cat on her back right at the base of her tail for about 10 seconds. See what happens.
posted by punkfloyd at 5:43 AM on July 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is like a pause button for your cat.

I'll bet the vulcan nerve pinch would be supereffective.
posted by everyday_naturalist at 5:50 AM on July 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Key point for anyone considering doing this to an adult cat:

Put your other hand under their back feet or butt!!!

You can still scruff adult cats safely (though not all of them will react to it like kittens would), but you have to keep in mind that they weigh 20x more than they did when mamma-cat carried them around like that.
posted by pla at 6:01 AM on July 14, 2011 [20 favorites]


Yes, I don't suggest actually trying to carry an adult cat by its scruff.
posted by JHarris at 6:06 AM on July 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


oh thank god for this. i just started giving shots to one of mine; last friday was my first at-home solo attempt. i got the cat to sit still long enough to grab a handful of ... cat ... pop the cover off the needle, stick the needle in, and just started plunging when ZOOM! needle hanging in the air, cat gone. i got about half the syringe-ful in her, but i really need to step up my game, and she's not fond of cooperating. maybe the binder clip will do the trick long enough to dose her.
posted by msconduct at 6:09 AM on July 14, 2011


A secret administrator mode would allow you to enter cat shell, adjust cat settings and set cat scripts. This is more like warm hibernate.

And now I wish I could access cats' secret administrator modes. I would reprogram them to bring me macchiatos in the morning and beers at night.
posted by ardgedee at 6:11 AM on July 14, 2011 [54 favorites]


"rootpassmeow" is not a particularly discoverable tag, and as such is taxonomically useless, but I'll let it slide because pfffff ha ha ha ha
posted by pts at 6:15 AM on July 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


LIES.
posted by lydhre at 6:16 AM on July 14, 2011


Cats. As Red Forman said "best case scenario, they still crap in the house."
posted by norm at 6:24 AM on July 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


This really works, I can bathe my folks' cat if I scruff it.
posted by floam at 6:29 AM on July 14, 2011


Cats. As Red Forman said "best case scenario, they still crap in the house."

So do people.
posted by callmejay at 6:31 AM on July 14, 2011 [14 favorites]


Works on ferrets, too. Makes 'em yawn.
posted by MrMoonPie at 6:35 AM on July 14, 2011


Holy crap. That is crazy.
posted by antifuse at 6:41 AM on July 14, 2011


Now if I could only find the reset button!
posted by briank at 6:46 AM on July 14, 2011


Scratch your female cat on her back right at the base of her tail for about 10 seconds. See what happens.

What happens is that, male or female, the cat is overcome by the irrepressible urge to immediately show you their butthole, up close and personal.
posted by elizardbits at 6:51 AM on July 14, 2011 [14 favorites]


oh thank god for this. i just started giving shots to one of mine; last friday was my first at-home solo attempt. i got the cat to sit still long enough to grab a handful of ... cat ... pop the cover off the needle, stick the needle in, and just started plunging when ZOOM! needle hanging in the air, cat gone. i got about half the syringe-ful in her, but i really need to step up my game, and she's not fond of cooperating. maybe the binder clip will do the trick long enough to dose her.

With my cat, I put the cat on my lap or a table and hold the scruff gently with my left hand and inject with my right. Holding the scruff (a) makes him inclined to sit still and (b) gives me a nice target for the needle.
posted by Karmakaze at 6:52 AM on July 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


So do people.

Not people with access to fire escapes, mon frere.
posted by griphus at 7:03 AM on July 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


We discussed this in my office the other day when I saw this link in the bird vs cat thread. I happen to have a large binder clip on my desk. I can tell you that, at least on a finger, it is not at all comfortable. There's a reason the vet removes it after a fairly short time span.

That cat looks completely unbothered by the clip.

...

That is the entire point of that reflex. Doesn't mean it doesn't hurt.
posted by maryr at 7:05 AM on July 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think I need to reflash my cat's firmware.
posted by fuq at 7:07 AM on July 14, 2011


Similar technique works on dogs (well, small ones at least) - when they are in trouble... generally escaping out the front door and down the street in wild abandon (cars be damned!), they are totally submissive when caught by the scruff of the neck.
posted by jkaczor at 7:21 AM on July 14, 2011


I can has root password?
posted by polymodus at 7:22 AM on July 14, 2011


BitterOldPunk - Cats calm down when you pick 'em up like their mamma does.

I'm surprised that something so useful isn't known more widely among cat owners, but I don't think that the logic is as obvious as you suggest: I've had occasion to scruff adult mice and rats before now and they hate it. They'll keep trying to struggle until you put them back down.

Of course, it's possible that my fingertips are just too big to get the right effect. Or maybe it's a predator/prey difference, in which small rodents have too much to lose by letting something grab them from above?
posted by metaBugs at 7:24 AM on July 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Vulcan Nerve Pinch.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:29 AM on July 14, 2011


I would reprogram them to bring me macchiatos in the morning and beers at night.

I read this as "...to bring me mustachios in the morning...".
posted by rusty at 7:29 AM on July 14, 2011


secret administrator mode would allow you to enter cat shell, adjust cat settings and set cat scripts. This is more like warm hibernate.

Actually scruffing a cat lets you do all these things, but unfortunately cats are poorly documented and anyway you have to use the right serial cable. (The kind you dangle in front of them.)
posted by JHarris at 7:30 AM on July 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


We discussed this in my office the other day when I saw this link in the bird vs cat thread. I happen to have a large binder clip on my desk. I can tell you that, at least on a finger, it is not at all comfortable. There's a reason the vet removes it after a fairly short time span.

Yeah, but it also looks uncomfortable when a mother cat carries a kitten around by its neck. You're not even lifting the cat that way. And the cat doesn't look particularly displeased once the clip is removed. I wouldn't suggest leaving it like this for extended periods (it might even cease working if the cat catches on, I'd think), but there are certain cat maintenance operations, like bathing and giving a shot, that are not easy to perform when the cat is capable of using its claws. Using its claws... ON YOU.

I think this evolved in cats because, being naturally independent creatures, otherwise kittens would just go wandering out of the nest and getting eaten by larger predators. The mother has to have some way of keeping her rambunctious little furballs under control.
posted by JHarris at 7:37 AM on July 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


What happens is that, male or female, the cat is overcome by the irrepressible urge to immediately show you their butthole, up close and personal.

As far as I can tell, this just means the cat likes you and wants you to admire the extent of its cleanliness. "Humans do not understand how cats work" also goes the other direction.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:16 AM on July 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sure, I knew about this reflex in cats, but the giant binder clip takes it to such a ridiculous extreme that I can't help but laugh.
posted by Gymnopedist at 8:19 AM on July 14, 2011


This trick does not always work. A cat nearly took my ear off while I was grasping the back of his neck.
posted by secondhand pho at 8:24 AM on July 14, 2011


This trick does not always work. A cat nearly took my ear off while I was grasping the back of his neck.

You're not supposed to pretend they're a telephone while scruffing them.
posted by orme at 8:34 AM on July 14, 2011 [20 favorites]


Safe mode is accessed with the shift key in Leopard.. (bottom vid.. I could use a big machine to do this to me)
posted by Erasmouse at 8:44 AM on July 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Most cats can be rebooted.
posted by ymgve at 9:26 AM on July 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Speaking of Star Trek, this is exactly what they did to Data in the next generation to prove he wasn't sentient.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:26 AM on July 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


You're not supposed to pretend they're a telephone while scruffing them.

This is a bit hard to describe, but a cat was stuck between my house and the neighbor's when I lived in Hanoi, in a tiny crack around eye level. He was completely wedged in and seriously pissed off. I reached in there, grabbed him by the back of the neck and gently pulled him out. As he passed near my head, he hissed and took a good chunk right out of my ear.

Damned Vietnamese cats.

I repeat, this trick does not always work.
posted by secondhand pho at 9:32 AM on July 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


We have three cats. Lady freezes when scruffed. Roswell goes very still, though not quite frozen. Yorvit turns into a sharp, pointy, squirmy, bitey, and very strong demon.

Having pinched my hands a few times with those large binder clips, I don't think I'll be using them on my cats. It seems like too much pressure over too small a surface area, and I don't want anyone (cats, that is) getting bruised or more traumatized than is absolutely necessary. (Still, the video was kind of cool.)
posted by rtha at 9:50 AM on July 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wonder if, like, a potato chip bag clip would work.

But I don't wonder nearly enough to actually get a cat and try it.
posted by rusty at 10:17 AM on July 14, 2011


If a binder clip seems too inhumane, you could always do it the way nature intended, and simply use your teeth.
posted by ShutterBun at 10:34 AM on July 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


All this hand wringing over the pain involved... Does it occur to anyone that a binder clip can easily be made to pinch much less tightly than it does off the shelf? I made some joke earrings once using the smaller binder clips by simply squeezing them hard. They deformed enough and lost enough tension that they wouldn't hold two sheets of paper securely, but were perfectly comfortable clip-ons.
posted by 2N2222 at 10:36 AM on July 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Potato Chip bag clips are too wide, or at least the ones I'm familiar with. Maybe a clothespin that's been weakened?
posted by JHarris at 10:36 AM on July 14, 2011


Just because "that's the way nature works" isn't permission for us to do it, if you ask me.

Sure, nature works by having mama cat pick up her kittens by the scruff. Nature also works by giving cats an urge to pull birds apart with their teeth. Not to mention a penis with backwards-pointing spines.

How far do you want to take that "nature" argument?
posted by ErikaB at 10:44 AM on July 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Colonel Biscuit goes from mellow puddle of cool into frenzied tornado of claws when I try to do anything that is not in his Order of the Day. The same with Doctor 'Hot Dog" Oliver, though he isn't mellow to begin with, he is half cocked and ready to rumble from the get-go.

I keep forgetting the scruff trick. Partly that's because I need one hand to hold the scruff, another to hold his head just so, another one to open his jaws, and yet another to slip whatever medicine I am trying to get into the patients mouth quickly, safely, and effectively. And that's after I use a towel as a jerry rigged straight jacket, wrapped around the patient twice, with just the head out. Even straddling the patient, sometimes after all that, I have had fifteen pounds of lazy temple of limpid idleness turn into a feline IED, lifting one hundred seventy pounds of me up off the floor, sending me sprawling, while the patient escapes in a blur of orange fur.
posted by Xoebe at 10:51 AM on July 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


I certainly don't want to have sex with a cat, if that's what you're getting at, ErikaB.
posted by maryr at 11:03 AM on July 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Scratch your female cat on her back right at the base of her tail for about 10 seconds. See what happens.

Pure hilarity. Mine will put her head down on the floor and stick her butt so high in the air it looks like she's trying to do a head-stand. One time she got so into it she actually did a (rather graceless) forward roll, which pretty much ended that experiment.

Is it just female cats? I've noticed a similar reaction with male cats too. There was a big stray tomcat that I did this too (his skin was rather dirty and probably itched). His reaction was very odd. He partially closed his eyes, rocked his head back and forth, and opened and closed his mouth quickly while drooling. I'm assuming he liked it.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 11:09 AM on July 14, 2011


ShutterBun : If a binder clip seems too inhumane, you could always do it the way nature intended, and simply use your teeth.

You would not believe how much it freaks out a cat when you do something like that.

They may usually treat us like big dumb cats that somehow manage to bring home a lot of food despite our handicaps, but they notice when you do something really unusual for a human but common for a cat.

Like gently biting them... My male cat likes latching on to the base of my thumb, so one time, I lightly bit him back (no, I didn't hurt him at all). He flew across the room in one bound and hid under the hutch. ;)
posted by pla at 11:10 AM on July 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


ErikaB : Nature also works by giving cats an urge to pull birds apart with their teeth. Not to mention a penis with backwards-pointing spines. How far do you want to take that "nature" argument?

Sorry, ask again after I finish this plate of hot wings.

/tofu wings, of course
posted by pla at 11:13 AM on July 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I keep forgetting the scruff trick. Partly that's because I need one hand to hold the scruff, another to hold his head just so, another one to open his jaws, and yet another to slip whatever medicine I am trying to get into the patients mouth quickly, safely, and effectively.

Have you tried mixing it with something? One of mine is impossible to pill, but will gladly gulp a pill off the tip of my finger... if I roll it into a little ball of yogurt or sour cream first. I can actually get this cat to run over for "treats" by shaking the pill bottle!

It's way easier than the kitty-burrito-with-a-towel, pry-their-mouth-open-oh-fuck-I'm-bleeding routine.
posted by vorfeed at 11:43 AM on July 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Other little know cat facts: (1) a piece of scotch tape on the nose locks a cat's transmission into reverse gear; (2) a walking cat will initiate VTOL mode in response to a guitar rasgueado.
posted by TwoToneRow at 11:57 AM on July 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


Cats calm down when you pick 'em up like their mamma does.

This is the absolute truth, unfortunately, while it's extremely effective, it also means you have a mouth full of cat-hair for the rest of the day.
posted by quin at 12:45 PM on July 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


ErikaB : Nature also works by giving cats an urge to pull birds apart with their teeth. Not to mention a penis with backwards-pointing spines. How far do you want to take that "nature" argument?

Sorry, ask again after I finish this plate of hot wings.


pla -- I do not want to know how you are eating those wings. Well, OK, I do...
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:35 PM on July 14, 2011


One may be able to pill a cat using the Easy Cheese (Kraft) method. I've never tried this.
posted by SillyShepherd at 2:12 PM on July 14, 2011 [1 favorite]



Scratch your female cat on her back right at the base of her tail for about 10 seconds. See what happens.


You guys do know that this is erotic for them, right? That's the signal for them to um, get ready to get busy.
posted by Maias at 2:33 PM on July 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


The best technique I've found for giving cats pills is the mash-squish-and-pop method: you wait until the cat's asleep, then pounce on it, quickly grab its head, open its mouth and pop the pill in. The key is speed--you don't give them time to gear up to wrestle with you. If you do it right, the cat looks confused for a minute wondering what just happened, then goes back to sleep.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 2:45 PM on July 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


We have three cats. Lady freezes when scruffed. Roswell goes very still, though not quite frozen. Yorvit turns into a sharp, pointy, squirmy, bitey, and very strong demon.

It's not the scruffing he is upset about...he's pissed about the name!
posted by tomswift at 5:49 PM on July 14, 2011


Nuh-uh! He loves his name. Who wouldn't love being named after Yorvit Torrealba? (Although our Yorvit pronounces it differently. Less Yor-VEET and more yor-vit.)

Don't you make fun of his name. He. Will. Fight. You.
posted by rtha at 6:39 PM on July 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


That's a fighty cat. Maybe going to MeTa should be called "doing a Yorvit..."
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:28 PM on July 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


My vet recommends grinding a pill to powder, dissolving it in a little Tuna Water*, and putting it in a dish on the floor. My cat falls for it every time.

*The liquid you squeeze out of your can of Tuna Packed In Water, ordinarily poured down the drain, suddenly becomes Magic Juice For Medicating Cats.
posted by exphysicist345 at 9:47 PM on July 14, 2011


If you have a compounding pharmacy nearby, you can get them to do this for you! It's fantastic -- the tuna-flavor is super-pungent and the resulting solution doesn't have chalky filler from the pill (or a competing artificial banana flavor, if the drug started out liquid that's primarily marketed for h. sapiens). The cost isn't much different, since most of the expense is for the drug itself, and our daily-dosed cat is overjoyed with it.

My compounding pharmacy also advertises that they can make kid's meds into lollipops. Lollipops! I wonder if they'd make tuna-flavored lollipops....
posted by Westringia F. at 11:26 PM on July 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wonder if anyone has actually asked a cat if this hurts. Because there are a lot of things that baby humans can do, that hurt when an adult tries to do the same thing. Eating your own toes comes immediately to mind, but there are other things.
posted by MexicanYenta at 1:22 AM on July 15, 2011


How far do you want to take that "nature" argument?

Well, I'm kind of interested in trying out the spine thing. Anyone?
posted by Grangousier at 2:09 AM on July 15, 2011


Cats bite their toes all the time.
posted by maryr at 8:58 PM on July 15, 2011


« Older Half-Life – Singularity Collapse,...  |  Greenpeace activists, followin... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments