I never liked cats. One of them [..] onto my neck when I was a child.

I thought of the word clawed, but I think it doesn't imply that the object/animal is "stuck" to the target surface. Is there a better option?

  • One of a million or more cats, you mean? :) Feb 8, 2015 at 3:31
  • dug its claws into my neck I must object though, cats very rarely attack small children, as your example seems to imply. It sounds highly improbable for a cat to embed its claws in an infant's neck. Cats will (sometimes playfully) bite hands, and they will hiss and scratch. I've never heard of one digging its claws into someone's neck.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Feb 9, 2015 at 11:18
  • @Mari-Lou A It happened to me when I was child. For real.
    – wyc
    Feb 9, 2015 at 11:42
  • Oh, dear! Were you lying down?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Feb 9, 2015 at 11:47
  • No, ha. Oh, now I remember the cat jumped onto my neck to escape from my dog.
    – wyc
    Feb 9, 2015 at 12:20

3 Answers 3



One of them sank its claws in(to) my neck when I was a child


One of them clawed into my neck when I was a child.

  • should it be into or onto?
    – wyc
    Feb 9, 2015 at 11:05
  • @janoChen - It should be into. Onto implies contact only with the surface of the speaker's neck, which is incompatible with saying that the cat sank its claws into their neck. To sink one's claws into something implies that the claws penetrate into the object in question. You cannot sink your claws onto something.
    – Erik Kowal
    Feb 9, 2015 at 11:08
  • I see, thanks. What about clawed at my neck?
    – wyc
    Feb 9, 2015 at 11:43
  • 1
    @janoChen - 'Clawed at my neck' implies that the cat tried to sink its claws into my neck, but doesn't have anything to say about whether, or to what extent, it succeeded: it could have made the attempt but missed, or I might have moved my neck out of reach before the cat's claws could touch it, or the cat could have scratched my neck without succeeding in digging its claws into it, or it could actually have sunk its claws into my neck. Normally, the surrounding context will clarify what the practical consequences were.
    – Erik Kowal
    Feb 9, 2015 at 12:21

A few suggestions: Clamped onto, clutched onto or clasped onto. Of course none of these are unique to claws. I believe clawed would be the only such word relating specifically to claws. Additionally, these examples would require the preposition 'onto'.


On those nature programs where lions go after really large prey, (say, an elephant) and they end up hanging on by their claws as the animal tries to make a run for it, they sometimes say, "latched on" - which could be ambiguous - but, if you're speaking of a kitty-cat, most people would get the picture.

  • Latch on was my first thought, too—but then you could also use it about a stray cat who decided to attach itself to a particular house where the people were nice to it and fed it well. That would not be a possible interpretation in the phrase “a cat latched onto my neck once when I was a kid”, of course … but it still sounds somehow not quite right. Like you were on a sinking boat and the cat just hung on to your neck to save itself, rather than giving an image of a cat jumping up and digging its claws into your flesh. Feb 8, 2015 at 19:38

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