I can now announce that cat massage is real, because I successfully completed a full body massage on my cat, Mac.
Introducing my cats to massage
Having a background in massage therapy for humans, I’ve slowly introduced my cats to massage. Slowly is the keyword. That’s because, as cat people have noticed, some cats let you know they don’t like what you’re doing with an “ouchy” response. In other words, they bring claws or teeth to the moment. So, in my world, I use more caution when trying new physical techniques on my cats than on my dogs.
My dogs are enamored with massage
All my dogs, past and present, have been deeply enamored with massage. Well, once I learned to understand their body language -“Oooh, so good” versus “I’ve had enough” and even, “This hurts! Stop now!” I look for soft eyes soft and a relaxed body. Warning language is staring intently into space, or at my hand, getting up and leaving the room. One time, my dog Mitsubishi gently took my hand into his mouth. That was a crystal-clear communication.
Mac is my cat massage guy
My cat, Mac is my go-to guy for practicing massage. That’s because he’s laid back and gentle. For instance, he allows me to cut his nails without getting ornery. I also chose Mac because he has trouble getting up the stairs and jumping up on the bed.
I originally started on Mac’s head and down his neck. In these places, you can feel the muscles pretty easily, and he was already used to my loving stokes there. Then I tried his cheeks, which he loved.
Eureka! A full body cat massage
Just this morning, I was able to do a full body massage for Mac. I was ecstatic! He was laying lengthwise on me as I lay prone with one paw reaching for my face. He purred, got the soft eyes in some parts of my massage and got the “hmmm, don’t know about this” in other parts of my massage. That’s when I lightened my touch.
I noticed which spots I massaged caused body twitches and then massaged the twitchy muscles. Finally, I did both spots to see if they would relax.
My crowning achievement was when Mac purposefully repositioned himself so I could work more easily on his back right side.
This book can help
If you don’t have a massage therapy background, get Dr. Michael W. Fox’s book, The Healing Touch for Cats: The Proved Massage Program. Directions are step by step AND there are tons of pictures.
As you can see, I still use other techniques to help my animals beyond animal communication. I like the motto, “Do what works.”
Read Discover alternative veterinary services for your pets
Do you massage your cats? Have you tried? I’d love to hear how it went!