Touching, petting, and stroking a cat stimulates the release of chemicals called cytokines, which in turn signal the brain to release natural painkilling chemicals called endorphins. The process of massaging a cat can be helpful in addressing minor aches and pains and generate a calming effect for the cat.[improper synthesis?] Cats may show their pleasure by purring and gently kneading their paws on the massager.
Massage may have benefits for cats as it has for humans, as both cats and humans respond in a positive way to touching. Many pet lovers believe that massage therapy is both a preventative measure and a solution for pain the pet might endure.
Massaging the cat may also allow the owner to look for abnormalities that might appear on the cat's skin, finding areas of tenderness or swelling that could be the signs of a serious condition. The pressure applied during the massage may also alert the owner to areas of physical pain the cat is feeling.
Massage can increase the mobility and flexibility in cats who suffer from arthritis. It may also be an alternative way to hasten the rehabilitation of a cat that has undergone surgery. Massage therapy has a positive impact on the cats' digestive system and their coat and skin. When the proper techniques are used, massages can relieve even constipation.
The lifespan and quality of life for a house cat is contributed to by the owner. If an owner neglects to pay attention to a cat's body, the owner can expect to have an unhealthy cat. Cat massage is useful in breeding familiarity and intimacy between owner and feline.
Stroke the cat, checking for skin abnormalities or parasites of any kind. Owners should consider the likes and dislikes of their cat during the entire massage. A common place to start is behind the ears, as many cats tend to be very fond of this location for receiving affection. Avoid locations the cat has shown an antipathy toward being petted. For example, if the cat does not like to have its belly petted the owner should not attempt to massage the cat's stomach.
Pet owners are advised to apply gentle massages to their cats and if they wish to give their pet a more deep massage they should go to therapists who are trained in this matter.
Effleurage and friction are particularly good in massaging cats. The massage is more efficient and the cat is less likely to get skittish if the massage starts with something that the cat genuinely likes. Gentle scratching may be done prior to a massage and which can be done with the help of especially designed tools. This is required in order to make the cat accept the massage.
Cats should not be forced into having massages.
After the cat has shown it is relaxed, the owners may start to pet it from the head to the tail, by using their open and relaxed hand. This is called the effleurage technique. While practicing this movement, owners can look for abnormalities such as lumps or bumps. The effleurage stroke is helpful in stimulating blood circulation and warming up the tissue.
- Sarah Hartwell, "Cat Massage: A Hands on Experience", 1993, http://www.messybeast.com/catmassage.htm
- Michael, "Cat Massage", http://www.pictures-of-cats.org/cat-massage.html
- "Cat Massage Therapy Programs". Retrieved 2010-05-27.
- "Cat Massage Pet Massage Therapy". Retrieved 2010-05-27.
- "Cat Peting". Retrieved 2010-05-27.