Petting your cat or giving your cat a massage can help alleviate stress and stiffness in joints which in turn boosts the overall health and well being of your cat. A massage will deliver the same benefits to your cat that you experience after having a massage.
There are different types of massage therapy. Some massage such as Myotherapy which is a form of massage involving manipulation of skin, muscle and other soft tissue is best given by a qualified pet massage therapist. This is a growing area of interest and you should be able to find a local pet massage therapist near you.
However you can most certainly massage your cat at home. You probably already give your cat a form of cat massage without even thinking about it. Most cats love being stroked along the side of the face or chin and will stretch their head out in supreme happiness when this happens. Even by slowly stroking your cat down his spine while he is sitting on your lap you are giving him a mini massage.
By performing these massage techniques outlined below you can further strengthen the bond you have with your cat. There are some out of bounds areas that you probably already know but if you don't your kitty will let you know if you have overstepped the boundaries.
Choose the right time. Make sure that that you are calm and the cat is already relaxed, possibly already lying on your lap, settled in for some cuddles and affection time.
To further get ready for the massage, pet your cat as you would normally, down the length of his body. Use your thumbs or the tips of your pointer and middle finger of your hand with a light to moderate even pressure to stroke from the the base of his neck to the top of his tail.
You may prefer to use the open palm of your hand and use the waterfall method, that is one hand over the other, in the direction of the fur, so that it is a continuous movement.
Do this approximately ten times, however increase or decrease the time depending on the how the session is going. If the cat is purring or blinking slowly you know you are on the right track.
Almost all cats love being stroked or petted along the side of the face/chin area. Start gently and use the fingertips or the edge of your pointer finger to stroke under the cat’s chin. You will know if the cat is responding in a positive way as he may stick his chin right out and be totally in his own little bliss ball of heaven.
Massage the cheeks using small circles and light pressure.
Gently stroke from the middle of the forehead to the top of the head and in small circles around the cat's ears.
Move to the shoulder blade area and using your thumb or two fingers massage the shoulder blade area in small circles using light pressure.
This is the area at the base of the tail on the back of the cat. Cats love being massaged in this area and you can definitely use more pressure than you would use in other parts of the body.
The chest and tummy area is not necessarily straightforward and many cats are not too keen on being touched in these areas. If the cat is going to tolerate this, once again use your fingertips to massage in small round circles at the same time as supporting the cats upper body with your free hand. Be guided by your cat. If the chest and tummy area is a no go, stay away from there.
Another area that may be a no go zone are the paws. If you cat is okay with the paws being massaged, rub the pad of each paw for 30 seconds.
Either stroke the cat down the spine using the waterfall method as described in the beginning, making sure to go with the direction of the fur, or return to the chin area that cats love so much.
Ideally, the massage should be about five minutes however if your cat can tolerate a little longer that is fine. Conversely, when your cat has had enough call it quits for the day. Never force the cat for as we know that will ultimately come to no good for anyone.
The video shows and explains in simple terms how to give your cat a massage. It is definitely worth watching a few times as it does take time to become comfortable with giving the cat a massage. Like anything else, once you know the techniques it will become second nature. This simple massage technique is being explained to participants in a group. It is well explained at a beginner level.
Is your cat a senior? Elderly cats can have difficulty getting comfortable as joints become stiff in older age. A gentle massage will help the cat relax and hopefully also sooth minor aches and pains. It is also a lovely way to take that extra bit of care for your old kitty. They do need special attention. Massage gently and take special notice of any lumps. During the massage also check for any fleas or ticks or other small injuries that may have gone unnoticed.
Don’t massage your cat if your cat is in pain, is pregnant, has an open wound or a suspected fracture or obvious areas of infection. If you are aware that your cat has blood clotting issues it is best to avoid massage.
Avoid using any oils or lotions as the cat will attempt to lick these products from the fur when cleaning himself.