Stress-free handling is all the rage on veterinary websites. Stress-free handling is old-fashioned in that it requires a return to craftsmanship, specialization and intimacy. I predict that the concept of stress-free handling will become more and more well-known, but that actual stress-free handling will remain as rare as a vegetarian at a barbecue joint.
These techniques take time and patience, both of which are rarities in urban life. Every time I visit a cat, I attempt to provide stress-free handling. Occasionally I succeed. Sometimes the cat’s stress level is so high before I even start that all I can do is work quickly. For a quivering cat, the greatest kindness may be speedy efficiency.
Like the term “holistic”, stress-free handling will become no more than a label developed to appeal to the tender-hearted, progressive city-dweller. All the same, a few advances in our treatment of pets may occur along the way, just as the craze for organic food did bring more fresh fruits and vegetables into the market.