The one myth about cats that's actually trueRobbie Gonzalez11/22/13 5:00pmFiled to: daily explaineranimal behaviorclipnosispinch induced behavioral inhibitionpibianimal hypnosistony buffingtonkimmi kurodamicecatssciencepsychologyneuroscience23122EditPromoteShare to KinjaToggle Conversation toolsGo to permalinkMost of us know at least one cat myth. Maybe it has to do with the width of their whiskers, or their purported ability to steal breath from a baby. Most of these myths are crap. But clipnosis? Clipnosis, it turns out, is a real thing.Top photo by marcinbunsch via flickrFor those unfamiliar with the term, "clipnosis" refers to the phenomenon whereby a cat is rendered suddenly immobile by a gentle squeezing of the loose skin on the back of its neck. It's a little like "scruffing," only gentler – but we'll get to that in a second.When I first heard about clipnosis I was skeptical. The word itself is a portmanteau that makes direct reference to hypnosis – a loaded term that really sets my skeptic-senses tingling. The expression "animal hypnosis" is sometimes used to describe a variety of immobility behaviors triggered by a range of stimuli, though the use of the phrase is problematic for reasons encapsulated by the title of the 1974 paper "Animal hypnosis: factual status of a fictional concept" (written by Gordon G. Gallup, Jr. – the psychologist best known for developing the famed – if somewhat controversial – mirror test).