Have you heard of the “clipnosis” technique? Using this method, you can calm cats naturally. Save your cat some trauma at the vet’s or even during such times as nail-clipping at home.
This technique uses clips to gently squeeze the skin at the back of the cat’s neck. Researchers have named the process “clipnosis” because it relaxes the cat, much like hypnosis might. It’s called “pinch induced behavioral inhibition.” If one places the clips before the cat becomes agitated or stressed, it will cause the cat to relax naturally.
Research shows that approximately 70% of cats respond favorably to this technique.
Positive Response Will Improve Over Time
If the cat has a positive response, repeated use shows that the response tends to improve over time. This improvement extends over three months. It is helpful to use the clips before physical exams, blood draws, and vaccinations. A number of tests show that the technique does not cause the cat pain.
In fact, if the cat becomes accustomed to the clips and he visits the vet and sees them, he will often lie down. Therefore, you know the cat suffers no pain from their use.
Clips do not damage the cat’s skin or interfere with blood flow. Studies show that it would take four to six times more pressure than that exerted by the clips. Apply this pressure over several hours to cause any damage to Kitty’s skin. Typically, clip placement only lasts for a few minutes.
Replicating A Mother’s Care
This clipping seems to create the same response that kittens have when their mother carries them
by the scruff of the neck. However, kittens go limp due to a flexor reflex, present only during the first few weeks of the kitten’s life.
We may have learned to grab a grown cat by the scruff of the neck when we wished to restrain them. However, it turns out that such a method — called scruffing — only works well with very young kittens. Not actually a secure way to restrain a cat, the technique will induce fear and anxiety in most pets. It could also be painful.
On an adult cat you will find no “limpness” response as you would with a very young kitten. Instead, the cat feels anywhere from a gentle squeeze to quite a bit of pressure. Not only will it hurt Kitty, but also will amp up her stress. Not good.
Scruffing removes entirely the cat’s options to retreat and their sense of control. Thus, stress escalates. While lifting your cat or suspending his body weight by the scruff, you could cause your cat unnecessary pain.
Clipnosis Is Not A Form Of Hypnosis
Some people react negatively to the product name, as it implies hypnosis. The term, “animal hypnosis” can describe a variety of immobile behaviors that become triggered by a range of stimuli.
These animal hypnosis techniques can encompass a number of negative procedures, not necessarily good for the cat.
In a study led by Tony Buffington, professor of Veterinary Sciences at Ohio State University, researchers examined the effectiveness of using the clips. Implementing standard two-inch binder clips, they placed them on the necks of 31 cats.
Buffington and his colleagues referred to the process not as “clipnosis,” but as “pinch-induced behavioral inhibition,” or PIBI. Says Buffington, the name is a very clear description of exactly what the process entails
Thus, the name PIBI avoids the anthropomorphic term “hypnosis” It also does not use the term “scruffing,” which is much more intense, and a controversial method of handling a cat.
PIBI could be termed a much gentler form of scruffing, relying only on the light pinching of the skin on the back of the neck.
Of the 31 cats tested, all but one had a positive response to the binder clips. In this response, the cat becomes passive, its spine curls and its tail drops between the legs.
Buffington and his colleagues further observed that PIBI elicits neither a pain nor a fear response. The cat’s pupils did not dilate, a response often seen when an animal fears something. Heart rates did not increase, nor did their breath quicken.
Totally relaxed, the cats remained responsive. They did not freeze and become entirely unresponsive, as they might when experiencing highly threatening stimuli.
As the clipnosis technique simulates the same response as when a mother cat picks up a kitten, the youngster will instinctively react to the clipnosis. They will accept the process readily. When the experience is started when they are young, and then used as they age, they become used to the effect, even welcoming it.
Proper Placement Of Clips
The clips are placed directly behind the ears in the middle of the cat’s back. If using a second clip, place it immediately behind the first.
Genetically inclined to fear humans and dogs, the cat becomes a good candidate tor a restraint technique. Coming to a vet clinic, they face multiple other animals and unknown humans. If you can lower the cat’s stress level for these encounters, you will have a happier cat.
So, if you call it “clipnosis” or “PIBI,” know that this technique may bring needed stress reduction when Kitty has to go through the scary and stressful vet trip — or it can make regular maintenance chores performed at home such as nail clipping or teeth brushing much easier.
These clipnosis products have been made available to vets in Canada and Mexico. A fairly new technique, usage will become more wide-spread as vets and clinics learn of its effectiveness.
If you wish to try this PIBI technique for yourself, you can order clips from Amazon. They come in either a large or a small size, depending on the size of your cat. Click on the blue highlighted links included with the product below or on the product image itself to be taken to Amazon, where you can purchase the clips. Please note that, as an Amazon affiliate, I will receive a small commission from your purchase.
References I used for this post are as follows:
Here are the Amazon listings for two sizes of clips:
by Our Pets