Are you looking for a way to bond with your cat while you also work to improve her health? Even for aloof cats, one way to build a positive bond and make your cat more responsive to contact is with cat massage. Sure, it may seem far fetched that the introverted animal that shares your home would respond, but you just might be surprised.
The Health Benefits of Massage for Cats
Massage stimulates the nerves and muscles in your cat's body. It also creates a relaxing response in the lymphatic system. Just like us, this can help with pain and muscle spasms, which may help reduce stiffness and discomfort. It can also create feelings of relaxation and calm.
Massage also has an effect on the circulation. As you massage your cat, the circulation increases. This flushes away toxins that can build up in the muscles, which can help reduce pain and inflammation. It can encourage a better immune system response as well. Will massage cure all of your cat's health problems? No, but it can set the stage improvement in health, especially if your cat needs a little extra care for her muscles and joints.
The Emotional Benefits of Massaging Your Cat
Not only can massage for your cat provide health benefits, but it can also provide emotional benefits. Massage has a calming effect on cats that are hyper or anxious. It creates a better emotional bond between you and your cat. It can also build trust between you. With practice, massage is something you both will grow to enjoy.
How to Massage a Cat
If you're ready to embrace these benefits, here's what you need to do. First, find your cat in a calm time when they will be more receptive to what you are going to do. Extend your hand to your cat, and wait for them to accept your touch, especially if you have a cat that is easily startled. Then, follow these steps as you learn how to massage a cat:
1. Start with the shoulders
Start the massage at the shoulders. Bring your thumb and index finger together at the base of the neck, and massage down the shoulders, following the contour of the bone. Then, stroke down the spine, then return to the shoulders.
2. Move to the head
After massaging the shoulders and spine, move your hands to the head. Pet your cat's head for a moment, then move to the ears, an area that cats enjoy having touched. Rotate a finger slowly around the ear and watch as your cat relaxes under your touch.
3. Massage the tailbone
Now move to the other end of the cat. Place your hand on the top base of the tail, and massage. This is an area that can stand a little more pressure and even some scratching, as it is not as delicate as the ears and shoulders. Most cats like being massaged in this area very much, and you may find your cat leaning into your touch.
4. Consider the tummy
Not all cats like a tummy rub, but if yours does, you can massage here too. Gently massage the tummy, watching your cat's reaction carefully. If the reaction is positive, continue massaging this area a little.
5. Tickle the chin and chest
Now you are ready to finish the massage on the chin and chest. Most cats enjoy chin and chest rub. You can use a bit more pressure as you gently massage this area of your cat's body.
Tips for Giving Your Cat a Massage
While this process works for most cats, remember that each animal is unique. Consider these tips to tailor the massage to your cat's needs:
- Avoid surprising your cat, unless you want to be pulling a hissing feline off of the ceiling.
- Pay attention to your cat's response. If something seems uncomfortable, move on to a different area.
- Go slowly. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
- Use a soft voice. Repeat a phrase or calming sound during the massage, but maintain a calm, soothing tone to your voice.
- Reward your cat with a nutritious treat after the massage or to encourage her to be patient with the process.
- Practice! If you don't get the hang of it the first time, that's okay. Keep practicing, and soon you will both be massage experts.
Cat massage is just one way to help your cat live a healthy, happy life, and build a fulfilling bond. Nutritious food is also important. Because it is their daily source of nutrition, choosing the right food is the surest way to have a positive impact on your cat's happiness and quality of life.