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What is low-stress handling?

Updated: Nov 21, 2023

A cat sleeping on a cushion

When we first came across Low Stress Handling® by Dr Sophia Yin, we were intrigued and signed up for her courses to learn and find out more.

A cat peering behind a wall

From her, we learnt that anxious cats (and animals, in general) are often misunderstood. This is especially the case when fear or anxiety in an animal manifests in aggressive-like behaviour i.e. hissing, growling, swiping etc. in our kitties, and often lead to an unfortunate combination of misunderstood pet and frustrated human companions.

Dr Sophia Yin discovered that “every pet needs a human who can lead, not like a boss, but like a partner in a dance”. This means that our kitties do need us to lead them, but not in a way that dominates; but rather in a gentle and persuasive manner.

Two cats dancing

How did that impact us?

We believe that each kitty who comes to us is unique and we allow them be the ones to dictate their comfortable pace. On our part, we observe them keenly that we may help to determine what the next best step for them can be.

For example:

  • If a kitty appears to be exhibiting signs of stress and anxiety, we acknowledge that perhaps the comfort of their cabin might be what is more reassuring to them in that moment. We avoid adding to their anxiety by insisting that they come out for play time, even though they are very much entitled for that! We observe to see when they might seem keen and ready to venture out, then it's explores-ville for them! 😸

  • If a kitty seems unsure yet if we are friend or foe, we leave them room to come to that conclusion at their own comfortable pace, and apply desensitisation techniques (showing a kitty that a new person or thing is harmless) and not forgetting, bribery with treats (associate us with positive experiences)! 😜

We love our kitties and want what's best for them!

Often times, we as kitty guardians have all the best intentions, and hope that our kitties will be okay and stress-free as soon as possible. We worry 🥺 when it doesn’t happen as fast as we’d like.

Yet from our experience of applying Low Stress Handling® approaches, we have discovered that when we respect our kitties’ space (and pace!), more often that not they realise sooner that they can trust us, and that respect in return becomes mutual!

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