It’s easy to tell when cats are happy—they purr, bump their heads up against you, and use their paws to gently “knead” you. Massaging your cat is another surefire way to bond with him and promote trust (and when you give Kitty a massage, he might just massage you back!). Here’s how to do it right.
- Let your cat come to you. Most cats will go running if you approach them too quickly. Sitting quietly and being patient is a great way to earn their trust and attention.
- Be gentle. Unlike dogs, who sometimes like rough-housing, cats like a soft touch and slow, steady strokes with your finger pads and fingertips.
- Be repetitive. In general, cats love familiarity and routine; surprises and quick, big movements startle them. A rule of thumb: if it feels a bit boring for you, chances are it’s just perfect for your cat.
- Focus! We’ve already talked about how cats are easily startled, and they can get frazzled if you do too many things at once. Take a few minutes to quietly give your kitty the spotlight.
- Go for the cheeks. Cats are very scent-oriented, and their cheeks contain glands that they use to mark their “territory,” which is why happy cats rub their faces against loved ones. If your cat offers you his face, it’s a vote of confidence—make good on it by gently caressing them, taking care not to bend the whiskers.
- Other places cats love to be rubbed: on and under the chin, behind the ears, on their chest, gently up and down their tail. Try gently, slooooowly kneading the skin around their neck and gradually working your way down their back with delicate strokes.
- Check out this kooky video — Maryjean Ballner has a whole company devoted to pet massage and has some comical tips that you’re sure to learn from.