We all know the benefits of massage. So why not extend it to cats? In addition to the well-known health rewards, it’s a fantastic opportunity to bond with your cat.
Health benefits of giving your cat a massage
Just like with humans, massage stimulates the nerves, muscles, circulatory and lymphatic systems in cats too. This, in turn, enhances motion, increases oxygen supply and helps to flush away toxic compounds that cause pain. It’s also been used to treat depression and anxiety – which makes it ideal for rescue cats who’ve had a rough start in life.
While you and your cat will develop your own approach, here’s a guide to get you started. Before you attempt any form of massage, make sure she’s in a nice relaxed mood, and that you’re in an area that’s free from noise and distractions. And pay attention to her body language throughout. She’ll soon let you know if she’s not interested!
Start by patting your cat around her head for a couple of minutes. Then shift your focus to the ears – Sweet Spot no. 1. Rotate your fingers slowly around each ear and see your cat relax and purr with enjoyment. Continue for a minute or two.
Move down and massage the back of her neck, bringing your thumb and index finger together repeatedly. Then down to the shoulder and back area, following the contour of each shoulder blade.
Now it’s time for Sweet Spot no. 2 – the tailbone. Even the most detached cat will find it hard to resist the tailbone scratch. Place your hand at the base of the tail on top of the cat, and give her a good massage. You can apply more pressure here – try turning your massage into a big scratch. Be prepared for some rather interesting reactions here…
This area should be approached very carefully. While some cats love nothing more than a good tummy rub, others don’t like it at all. So take it slowly and softly, gently massaging her tummy and monitoring her reaction. If she seems to like it, continue gently for a minute or two.
Finally, finish at Sweet Spot no. 3 – under the chin. This is lovely for you, as you should be able to feel her purr. Once again, you can afford to apply a little more pressure here – and turn it into more of a scratch. This is one area all cats love – and she’s sure to let you know.