‘Clipnosis’ meaning

‘Clipnosis’ is a veterinarians’ made-up word (I believe). It contains the word “clip” followed by “-osis” which means a process or condition. The letter ‘n’ just makes it sound better. It is, then, a word made up of two parts which means the process of clipping and in this instance clipping means applying a line of several clothes pegs or bulldog clips to the area of the skin between the top of the head and the shoulders. This has been described as the ‘dorsum’. It invokes what I call the “kitten response”. It seems that some scientists call the process: ‘pinch-induced behavioral inhibition’ (PIBI).

Clipnosis. Photo: Study: Pinch-induced behavioral inhibition (‘clipnosis’) in domestic cats.
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This is a reflex response which is completely integral to a cat’s inherited behaviour. You’ve all seen it; mothers carrying their kittens around in their mouths. The suddenly passive kitten goes limp as if transfixed, allowing the mother to transport her kitten without interference.

Veterinary nurses sometimes use clipnosis to allow them to complete an examination of a cat with both hands without causing too much cat stress. It’s almost as if the cat is being sedated in a natural way.

The method works on all cat but to varying degrees, in my experience. Sometimes people use “scruffing” to quieten a fearful cat. The word “scruffing” is a reference to gripping the cat by the scruff of the neck which is the back of the neck as described. It is also the area where veterinarians and veterinary nurses inject vaccines because there’s lots of loose skin.

On a different subject, it is said that when a cat is dehydrated the loose skin at the scruff of the neck does not go back to it resting position in a reasonable time when pulled up. It is a test for dehydration which can be caused by a 100% dry food diet it is said.

I also believe that the reason why cats fall over when placed in a harness for the first time is because of the same kitten response. It is a form of clipnosis.

"Deactivating" a Kitten
“Deactivating” a Kitten

ASSOCIATED PAGE: How to Deactivate a Kitten


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