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Home > Cats > What Is a Cat Massage Therapist? When You Should See One

What Is a Cat Massage Therapist? When You Should See One

cat massage the cheek

Cat massage therapy is a gentle, non-invasive way of keeping cats relaxed, healthy, and comfortable. Although it is not a substitute for professional veterinary treatment, the therapy may benefit your pet. If you’ve been considering taking your cat to a cat massage therapist or even learning how to give your cat a massage yourself, we’ll discuss everything you need to know to determine if the therapy is suitable for your feline.


How Does It Work?

A cat massage therapist is a trained professional, but you can learn from one to give your cat massages on your own. This therapy works by applying gentle pressure to the feline’s joints, muscles, and even the soft tissue of the cat’s body.

Just like a massage for humans, this type of massage therapy helps relieve stress and pain and improves your cat’s overall health. While it may seem dangerous to try and massage a cat, if you do it the right way, it’s not that hard, and your cat will enjoy it.

Massage therapists use techniques called strokes, which have different purposes and applications. Each of these specific strokes is meant to relieve pain. They also help the cat relax, which is crucial when dealing with an injury.

While cat massage therapy can be used along with other treatments or as part of a physical therapy routine, it is not meant to be a substitute for treatment by a vet. If your vet recommends this treatment for your cat, it’s fine, but always check with your vet first. Regular massages can also detect abnormalities such as tumors or lesions in your cat in time to do something about them.

What Are the Different Types of Cat Massage Therapy?

These techniques are used in massage therapy for your feline, and unlike some forms of massage for humans, they are not very intense.

1. The Stroke

This technique uses a circular motion to warm the cat’s body tissue and improve circulation. It is used most often at the beginning and end of a massage and is applied over the cat’s entire body.

cat ear massage
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2. Passive Joint Moving and Stretching

This stroke stretches and manipulates the cat’s joints to increase its range of motion and flexibility.

3. Effleurage Stroke

This technique involves the therapist using their whole hand to massage a specific muscle along the muscle’s main line. It helps with swelling, muscle relaxation, and inflammation. It also helps to improve blood circulation and to reduce edema.

4. Skin Rolling

Skin rolling is often used on cats that have been hit by a car or are suffering from a dog attack. Skin rolling will increase lymph circulation and blood flow in the cat’s body, which will heal the cat’s condition faster.

5. Petrissage Stroke

This is a stroke that is like making pizza. The therapist will knead the cat’s body, just as your cat kneads you when it’s trying to get comfortable to lie down. This is a method that applies deeper pressure in the massage. This relieves muscle tension, spasms, and muscle knots in your feline friend.

Image Credit: Ekaterina Kuzovkova, Shutterstock


When Is It Used?

Now that you know what a cat massage therapist is, what they do, and how they do it, you need to know when you should use a cat massage therapist for your cat. In most cases, a trained cat massage professional will do this type of therapy in a vet’s office. Sometimes, however, you can find a licensed professional with their own practice. Some therapists even make house calls, so your cat won’t be scared and in worse shape when you get them to the vet.

There are a few reasons you might want to seek out a cat massage therapist to treat your older cat or a stressed or injured cat.

1. Anxiety and Stress

Many things can cause a cat to be anxious and stressed. Whether moving to a new home, a new person or pet coming into the house, or something else changing in its environment, stress can be hard on a feline.

Massage therapy can help your cat de-stress, calm down, and be happy with life again.

2. Recovering from Surgery

Recovering from surgery is hard on anyone, and cats are no exception. Since cat massages can improve blood circulation, they can benefit the recovery process. It also helps lymph circulation since lymph is a fluid with white blood cells, which speeds up healing.

cat lying being massaged by owner
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3. Injuries and Accidents

You never know when your cat will be struck by a car, attacked by a dog, or injured in some way. While we all pray these things don’t happen to our pets, you must be prepared just in case they do. Cat massage therapy can help injuries of the muscles, ligaments, and tendons that were damaged in the accident heal faster.

4. As a Cat Gets Older

While none of us like to admit it or look forward to it, our cats are aging. Their joints, bones, muscles, and ligaments become stiff and often sore as they age. The result is your cat slowing down, which leads to more stiffness and soreness. A good cat massage can help the cat have more freedom of movement, less stiffness, and less pain. In our opinion, that’s the best reason of all to make an appointment with your vet to see about cat massage therapy.

Side view of lazy and old tabby cat stay on a bed at home
Image Credit: Alex Zotov, Shutterstock


What Are the Advantages of Cat Massage Therapy?

There are no scientific facts to support the claim that cat massage therapy benefits cats, but the results point in that direction. Here are some of the advantages of taking your cat in for a cat massage therapy session.

  • Decreases inflammation
  • Reduces swelling
  • Decreases joint and muscle pain
  • Improves flexibility and ROM (range of motion)
  • Helps restore organ function following a surgery
  • Helps with overall immunity and strengthens a weak immune system
  • May help with behavioral problems in cats
  • Improves the flow of lymph, oxygen, and blood
  • Helps with de-stressing and relaxing
  • Improves an aging cat’s quality of life
  • Releases endorphins for faster healing

What Are the Disadvantages of Cat Massage Therapy?

Of course, just as there are benefits to your cat from cat massage therapy, there are also possible disadvantages. We’ll tell you a few of those in the bullet list below.

  • Cats suffering from cancer cannot have massages
  • Massages cannot be performed on cats with open wounds
  • Cats that have uncontrollable pain should not be massaged
  • Traumatized cats should not be massaged
  • Cats with fevers should not be massaged

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

We’ll answer a few of the most commonly asked questions below.

Can my kitten get cat massage therapy?

Yes, just as older cats can get cat massage therapy, kittens can benefit from it as well. Keep in mind that a kitten massage requires a delicate touch and shouldn’t be performed with professional assistance.

kitten chewing finger
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Will cat massage therapy benefit my healthy cat?

Yes, a healthy cat will still benefit from this therapy because it improves blood and lymph flow and makes the cat less stressed.

Is cat massage therapy covered by my insurance?

There are a few pet insurance companies that will cover cat massage therapy if it is going to benefit the cat’s health or help an injury heal faster.

Can I give my cat a massage myself?

Yes, you can, but it’s safer to get professional instructions from a therapist rather than trying to learn the techniques from videos.

Can cat massage therapy hurt my cat?

A trained professional is unlikely to hurt your cat, and as long as the massage is performed correctly, your cat should be relaxed and happy when the session is over.

cat massage rub tabby human hands
Image By: Ekaterina Kuzovkova, Shutterstock



Cat massage therapy is most effective when performed by professional cat massage therapists. There are quite a few reasons you might want to take your cat to a cat massage therapist, including to relieve stress, improve blood circulation, and help recover from an injury or surgery.

It is best to consult your vet before making a final decision as to whether to take your cat to a massage therapist for cats. Your vet will help you determine if cat massage therapy is indeed the right course of action for your feline.

Featured Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

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