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Massage for a cat? Really?

Okay, so you know that horses can benefit from being massaged, and that many performance horses receive regular massage sessions.

You’ve finally got your head around the fact that massage and natural therapies are of great benefit to dogs and accept that in most cases even the most boisterous of them will calm down enough to be massaged when it’s carried out by a professional.

But cats?

You would be surprised at just how co-operative a kitty can be once they understand what your intention is, especially after they’ve experienced some relief from stiffness and pain, and some flexibility has been restored.

There are of course, some differences between massaging a dog and a cat.

We all know how stoic animals can be at the best of times and how good they are at hiding pain however with cats this is even more so. It is harder to gauge the changes in gait with a cat, they might not necessarily “meow” from pain, and so the changes can often be more subtle.

They might become more reclusive, not want to jump as much, or sometimes be off their food. It is essential that a veterinarian be consulted in the first instance. Once the diagnosis has taken place, and with vet consent, regular massage, in conjunction with some of the other modalities such as acupressure and Tellington Touch, can be greatly beneficial.

Often the first session or two will be shorter, and involve more relaxation techniques for him to become accustomed to being touched in this way and to relax into it and trust. Generally movements will be slow, gentle and rhythmic. Sometimes using Tellington Touch and applying some acupressure initially and then transitioning into massage will be more accepted, and of course, each of those modalities has their own special benefits. Pressure will often be light and at times the back of the hand or just the finger tips will be used instead of the whole hand.

As with most animals, starting massage sessions young, when just a kitten is a great way to get them used to being touched all over and especially having their paws touched and held, which is of great benefit when needing nails clipped or for vet checks. 
And as always, each cat is different, each cat needs to be respected and “listened” to by watching their body language, welcoming their feedback, knowing when to back off and when to move forward.