How to Use Acupressure Therapy for Cats

Relaxed cat napping at home.
Relaxed cat napping at home. (Image: fontina/iStock/Getty Images)

Cats are possibly the most unpredictable creatures to grace our lives. One moment they can be basking leisurely in a ray of sunlight, and the next, they may be pitching a fit over the presence of the family dog. You won't find a feline sipping a glass of wine after a stressful day, but the art of acupressure may help calm Kitty's nerves and restore her sense of well-being.

The Art of Acupressure

Acupressure is a centuries old therapy used in Chinese medicine, during which the fingers are placed on specific parts of the body and pressure is applied. Acupressure practitioners rely upon the release of the body's life energy, commonly referred to as "chi," which travels into connecting channels known as meridians when pressure is applied to trigger points along both the human and animal bodies. The use of this therapy, often used in conjunction with acupuncture, dates back 5,000 years. It increases blow flow and promotes relaxation. Acupressure has been proven to reduce the pain and limitations of arthritis and reduce instances of gastrointestinal and metabolic issues commonly diagnosed in senior and geriatric pets.

Acupressure in Everyday Life

Cats are creatures of habit. Any change in their daily lives can cause their stress meter to ease into the red. A move across country may sound like an exciting adventure for you, but your feline isn't likely to agree. Changes such as moving or the addition of new pets or humans into your kitty's life, can cause significant duress, as can a trip to the veterinarian. The use of acupressure can allow you to spend alone time bonding with the family feline, and can be used to improve your cat's well-being and reduce her fear during times of change or chaos.

Learning the Art of Acupressure

Acupressure with its noninvasive techniques, is difficult to get wrong once you understand the pressure points. Cats have pressure points in their feet, but a human's large fingers with a cat's tiny feet are often a difficult mix, especially for the beginner. Holly Tse, certified massage practitioner advises, "while there are acupressure points on the limbs, these can be tricky to locate and massage for pets, especially cats. That’s why I like to massage the back shu points on my cat." The back shu points, which run on both sides of the cat's spine, are connected to the cat's major organs, and can be stroked during petting and play, increasing relaxation for your cat, and reducing her stress and fear. Practice on yourself first. Press your fingers onto your arm or leg until you feel a hard and steady pressure. It shouldn't hurt or damage your skin. This amount of pressure is suitable for your pet.

Finding a Provider

If you're uncomfortable attempting acupressure with your cat, consult with your veterinarian. He likely can recommend an acupressure professional. Classes and training are available should you wish to learn the art of acupressure or pet massage. Both you and your pet can benefit from the exchange of positive and healing energy.

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