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Home > Cats > How to Massage a Cat: 4 Tips & Tricks

How to Massage a Cat: 4 Tips & Tricks

cat massage rub tabby human hands

Every cat owner likes to give their cat one-on-one attention. It’s a great way to strengthen the bond between you and your pet while also providing them with much-needed stress relief. A cat massage achieves both of these things, as it can have a positive impact on your cat’s health, well-being, and happiness. The benefits of giving your cat a massage are numerous. It can help reduce stress, increase blood circulation, relieve pain and tension in their muscles, improve immunity by increasing white blood cell production, and releases endorphins, or pleasure hormones.


How to Give a Cat Massage

Image By: Ekaterina Kuzovkova, Shutterstock

Before embarking on cat massage, you should learn how to do it properly. While it might seem a bit silly, there are a few things to keep in mind. Following these steps will help your cat receive the most benefits from the massage:

  • Use four fingers and mild pressure to make slow-motion strokes along your cat’s bony areas.
  • Drag your fingers toward your cat’s chest. Only increase the speed of your strokes if your cat seems to enjoy it.
  • Use two fingers to stroke under your cat’s chin. Repeat strokes from the throat to the chin. Rub the chin in a circular fashion.
  • Blinking, purring, sleeping, or drooling indicates that your cat is relaxed.


The 4 Tips and Tricks for Massaging Your Cat

1. Use a loose grip

Using a loose, comfortable grip helps keep your cat at ease. You don’t want your cat to feel restrained, and you don’t want to accidentally grip them so hard that it causes pain.

2. Stay behind your cat’s head

cat ear massage
Image Credit: Gumpanat, Shutterstock

This isn’t to avoid getting scratched (though it will serve that function), but so you don’t press too hard and make your cat uncomfortable.

3. Be mindful of your cat’s body language

If your cat is squirming or clearly uncomfortable, ease up or stop altogether. The point of cat massage is to help your kitty relax, so if they don’t like something, let them go and try another time again.

4. Always end on a positive note

Image Credit: Ekaterina Kuzovkova, Shutterstock

Cats are creatures of habit, but it can take them a while to get used to new things. Start slowly, and always end your massage session with something that your cat loves, whether it’s a head scratch, a favorite toy, or a treat.


Why You Should Massage Your Cat

There are many great reasons to massage your cat. For one, it provides you with one-on-one bonding time, but it also offers health benefits for both of you.

  • Massaging or petting your cat for 10 minutes reduces human stress levels and reduces the amount of cortisol in your body.
  • Giving your cat a massage can enable you to detect scratches, wounds, or areas of pain in your cat that you might not find otherwise. You may find a small health problem before it becomes a big one.
  • Stroking your cat helps improve circulation and blood flow.

Different Ways to Massage Your Cat

Since every cat is different, you may need to experiment with different types of massage.

  • Brush massage — This is great for cats that like being brushed. It can help remove loose hair and distribute oils through their fur.
  • Scruff massage — This is good for cats that like to be held. It’s essentially giving them a confidence-boosting head rub.
  • Scratching massage — This can be a great way to help reduce any pain that your cat might be experiencing in their joints or muscles. Simply place your hand at the desired location, and use your other hand to scratch or rub around the area.
  • Head and neck massage — This helps your cat relax and let go of any tension or stress that they may be feeling. Start by scratching behind your cat’s ears, and then slowly work your way toward the back of their neck. Cats love this massage, so be prepared for them to become very relaxed or even fall asleep.
  • Abdomen massage — Abdominal massage can be a great way to help your cat’s immune system by helping move lymphatic tissue throughout the body. It can also help relieve any discomfort that your cat is experiencing in their digestive tract. Start at your cat’s hindquarters, and work your way toward the abdomen while gently pressing your thumbs into the muscle.



Cats are beautiful animals that deserve to be treated with love. Giving your cat a massage is a great way to bond with them and help reduce their stress. It can also help prevent anxiety, joint pain, or digestive issues. Every cat is different, though, so read their cues and take things slowly. They’ll be sure to tell you what they enjoy and what they don’t. You may have to try a few different techniques before finding one that works well for both of you.

Featured Image Credit: Ekaterina Kuzovkova, Shutterstock

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