Sunday, December 8, 2013

How to De-activate a Cat

As I noted in a post earlier this week:
"Clipnosis," or "pinch-induced behavioral inhibition," (PIBI) is when a small animal is gently scruffed by the back of the neck and lifted. What happens next is fairly universal:  an animal that ceases to flail and that remains calm. As Tony Buffington, a professor of Veterinary Clinical Sciences at Ohio State University notes in an article in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, PIBI is neither a fear nor pain response. The cats' pupils do not dilate – a physiological response seen in fearful animals– and their heart rates do not increase. Nor does their breathing quicken. The cats also remain responsive, so it is not "tonic immobility" of any kind.  Buffington and colleagues conclude that PIBI is likely to have evolved to make it easy for mother cats to carry their kittens -- no doubt why the response is common in other meso-predators whose mothers carry them around in a similar manner.

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