Popular Online Veterinarian Says You Should Squish Your Cat

You should squish your cat because your cat will like it according to a popular online veterinarian who is also described as the “world’s most helpful vet”. His video strongly indicates that he is a very sensitive and decent veterinarian. And he has some good ideas about how to handle your cat. I like the way he picks up cats. He clearly understands the domestic cat. I would fully endorse everything he says except ….his use of the English language.

Squish that cat
Screenshot with words added.
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Cats like to be squished, he says. It’s the use of the word “squish” which I think is poorly chosen. Young people might be encouraged to apply too much pressure to their cat. Using the phrase “apply gentle pressure” might be better.

Gentle

He does use the word “gentle” once during the video but he uses the word “squish” far more often. He applies downward pressure to a cat on his consulting table at his clinic as a restraint. Cats perfectly accept and even like it. I tend to agree with him because applying gentle pressure to a cat is comforting.

There is a product on the market called the Thunder Shirt which is based upon this principle. I calms cats. Placing a harness on a cat also has a similar effect on cat behavior. I think it goes back to the newborn kitten and perhaps being in the womb or when being nursed with his litter mates. I don’t know for sure but they like gentle pressure.

Giants

As humans are much bigger than cats we can tend to use our superior strength inappropriately so gentleness should be the byword. Everything should be done with sensitivity because cats can get a little bit jittery. As I said, they live in a land of giants which by default can make even the most loving domestic cat a little bit anxious sometimes.

Mishandling

It doesn’t surprise me that this veterinarian, whose name is Dr Uri Burstyn, not infrequently encounters clients who mishandle their cat in the consulting room. They carry their cat without supporting the rear half. I must add, though, that this may happen when the cat’s owner removes their cat from the cat carrier if it opens at the top. Top loading cat carriers discourage providing support to the lower half of the cat which is a point I wish to make.

In the video he says “if you’re trying to hold a cat down, whether it’s to trim their nails, or give them a pill……squish your cat. What you think about that? I would say, “if you’re trying to hold a cat down apply gentle pressure as I am doing in this video”.

Shoulder Position

While on the subject of the video, the doctor demonstrates the shoulder carry. He also applies pressure to a cat on his shoulder. I wonder what percentage of domestic cats like to be carried like this? I know some cats like it a lot. They receive maximum warmth and support simultaneously. A lot of cats like to spread out like that with their forelegs dangling and their hind legs spread out as well. My boy does it on my lap.

He has a very interesting football hold for a cat that needs to be carried at the end of the video. I have never tried that or even seen it. It’s a squish your cat hold.

2 thoughts on “Popular Online Veterinarian Says You Should Squish Your Cat”

  1. Although I think he makes some valid points, I don’t necessarily agree with everything, including the squishy part. Abby (Maine Coon) and Shadow (Chartreux) are huge cats (not overweight either). Neither are lap cats by any stretch and absolutely will not allow to be picked up. They come to you on their terms and are very loving. I’ve learned that leaving their crates open with catnip-laden toys inside is the trick to getting them in it; they just waltz right in. If I do need to pick them up for any reason, I have to quickly scruff them and support their back end. Once they’re held against my body, they’re OK for a brief period of time (60 seconds is a record). The only time the squishy method has been used successfully is if they’re already in a sitting position and I need to remove some shmootz from their eyes. They whine but accept that it is a needed action and they don’t do much but wait. Once I let them go, they come back for pets and a ‘good girl/good boy’ accolade. Go figure.

    Reply
    • Nice points. I love your attitude of letting them do what they feel is natural to them and not forcing things. That’s so important. Humans tend to like to impose themselves on their cats. I agree too that holding a cat beyond a certain time is not wise although it depends on the cat. Scruffing is a neat way of temporarily making a cat compliant. I use it sometimes too and it works well.

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