British Columbia

Don't know how to hold a cat? Vancouver's YouTube vet offers pro tips

Online pet tutorials turn Vancouver-based veterinarian Dr. Uri Burstyn into an internet sensation.

Online pet tutorials transform Dr. Uri Burstyn into internet sensation

The Helpful Vancouver Vet YouTube channel offers a wide variety of pro tips, including how to pick up your cat, and trim its nails without feeling its wrath. (Helpful Vancouver Vet/YouTube)

No matter how much you love your cat, sometimes there's a scratch coming your way — and for good reason.

Vancouver veterinarian Dr. Uri Burstyn has seen a lot of kitties come through his doors. And all too often, they're mishandled by their owners — which can often lead to frantic movements, and claw marks on your forearms.

"It's something that I see people do all the time, and occasionally it makes me cringe," said Dr. Burstyn, who's received his own fair share of war wounds in the past from agitated cats.

That's why Burstyn decided to put together a series of short YouTube video blogs, offering pro-tips to help pet owners make their pets feel more comfortable.

His latest outing — How to pick up a cat like a pro — received over 2.5 million views in a week, transforming this local Vancouver vet into a YouTube star.

Common tricks

Burstyn's tips range from how to properly walk your dog to how to clip your cat's nails. He says sometimes the tasks might seem straight forward, but the issues often come up when he's speaking with pet owners.

"There's certain things I talk about with my clients on a regular basis, often three or four times a day," he said. 

"At some point I thought 'why don't I get this down on tape and save my voice?" he said.

But the true stars of the video blog are Claudia and Mr. Pirate — Burstyn's two cats that populate the bulk of his videos.

Burstyn says cats don't like being picked up by their armpits. Instead, they need to feel support — that means one hand under the chest, the other under the abdomen

There are a few ways to hold cats properly — but Dr. Uri Burstyn says its important they feel support in order to avoid agitation. (Helpful Vancouver Vet/YouTube)

Of course, some cats — like Mr. Pirate — have a particular preference.

"Some cats are just shoulder cats, they love being on your shoulder and that's where they want to be at all times," said Burnstyn.

Mr. Pirate is a shoulder cat, according to Dr. Burstyn. (Helpful Vancouver Vet/YouTube)

The Vancouver veterinarian plans to keep the tips coming. He's currently perusing through the thousands of comments attached to his videos, many of which offer up suggestions for his next entry.

"I've got a lot of requests from the people on YouTube. I'm making a list and checking it twice and hopefully I'll make some videos that people are interested in," he said. "How to pick up different species, perhaps, or how to put cats into carriers [could be next]."

"Things to make life a little easier."