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Home > Cats > How to Give a Cat a Head Massage: Step-By-Step Guide

How to Give a Cat a Head Massage: Step-By-Step Guide

cat massage rub tabby human hands

There are many good reasons to give your cat massages. The act can help stimulate blood flow1, improve digestion and flexibility, and even help build a stronger bond between the feline and their human companion. Massages can even help reduce a cat’s anxiety levels if that’s a problem for them. Most cats enjoy having their heads rubbed, so it’s a good place to start massaging if you’ve never given a massage to a cat before. Here are a few tips and tricks that will ensure that your kitty loves every moment of the head massage that you give them.


The Step-By-Step Guide on How to Give a Cat a Head Massage

1. Make Sure You’re in a Relaxed, Quiet Space

It is always a good idea to make sure you and your kitty are in a quiet and relaxed environment before starting a massage session. If noise or commotion is going on in the room, even if it’s just the television, your cat will likely find it hard to relax enough to enjoy the massage.

Try turning the lights down low, playing relaxing music on the radio, and asking family members not to interrupt until the massage is over. This should help ensure that your cat feels safe and comfortable throughout the process.

cat massage the cheek
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

2. Start With Quiet Talking and Light Pats

Before you start massaging your cat, talk to them quietly while lightly patting their head to get them used to the touch and feel. Use reassuring words, and praise your cat when they relax in your lap. The light patting will prepare your cat for the massage so they don’t end up feeling overwhelmed once you get started.

3. Use Light Pressure While Working

Whether you are patting or rubbing your kitty, make sure you’re applying only light pressure as you work. Your pressure should be little more than a touch to ensure that you don’t bruise your kitty or make them uncomfortable in any way. Try massaging your wrist or hand so you can understand the pressure that you’re using, and adjust accordingly when you start massaging your cat.

4. Focus on the Ears

If your cat is like most cats, having their ears rubbed will make them melt and help them get rid of any pent-up anxiety or stress. Simply place your fingertips on the base of your kitty’s ears, and use a circular motion to rub all around the base of the ears. Then, gently rub the ears from top to bottom, and go back to the circular massaging motion again. Chances are that your feline family member will roll on their back and start purring loudly!

cat ear massage
Image Credit: Gumpanat, Shutterstock

5. Don’t Forget About the Chin and Neck

Once you have given your cat’s head a good massage, work your way down to their chin and neck to help them feel even more relaxed. Gently stroke the chin several times, then rub the base of the neck before working your way back to the chin again. After a good chin and neck rub, you can gently massage the back, belly, and legs if your cat will allow you to. A full-body massage is a great way to increase blood circulation and give your kitty extra pep to their step.

6. Pay Attention to Your Cat’s Reaction

One of the most important things that you can do when massaging your cat’s head is to pay attention to how they react. If they seem distant and uninterested, don’t force them into the experience, as this will just make them dislike the process. Gently keep trying until they get comfortable.

If your cat starts off liking the massage but then tries to get out of it as you work, you might be using too much pressure or are simply rubbing in the wrong places. Try making adjustments before giving up on the massage. If your kitty likes the massage and purrs and/or cuddles up in your lap, you’ll know that you are on the right track!



Massaging your cat’s head can be an enjoyable experience for both them and you. Just don’t push a massage on your cat if they aren’t into it, as it will just deter them from being open to it in the future. Be patient, and employ the tips and tricks outlined here for the best results.

Featured Image Credit: Ekaterina Kuzovkova, Shutterstock

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