Calming a Cat With Acupressure

Snowball sees you with that cat carrier.

Snowball sees you with that cat carrier.

Even the calmest feline may flip his lid at a change in his environment. Whether you need to pack Fluffy off to the vet's office or discard his favorite shredded sofa, you'll likely be facing down one angry kitty. Acupressure techniques can help kitty relax in the face of stress.

Coax your feline into a relaxed position, on or near your lap. Offer him treats if he’s hesitant or seclude the two of you in a room where he cannot hide, such as a bathroom. Or wait for your cat to come to you of his own volition.

Press gently for a few seconds or lightly massage the flat of the cat's nose, just between her eyes. This movement on the first of four pressure points, called Yin Tang, is designed to release calming endorphins.

Cup your palm around the cat's foreleg and squeeze lightly, drawing your hand all the way down the leg to the "wrist," where the leg bone meets the metatarsus or paw bone. Repeat this several times until the cat accepts your touch.

Fold your thumb and forefinger around the cat's wrists, so that your thumb presses the inside of the wrist, while your index finger presses against the outside. Apply light pressure here for 30 seconds, or as long as your cat will accept it. These pressure points are termed by accupressurists as Heart 7 (right leg) and Pericardium 7 (left leg). You can work one leg at a time or both together, whichever you and Fluffy prefer.

Run your finger down your cat's spine until you no longer feel the small vertical bone projections there. This spot, called the Bai Hui acupoint, should be located about an inch or two above the base of the tail. Gently rub or scratch here. Your cat may react by lifting his tail in the air.

Stroke your cat starting at the jawline beneath the chin with your index and middle fingers. Slowly pet all the way down to the cat's collarbone and repeat. This is not an acupoint, but it is a common method of calming felines, and a good way to end your session.

Tips

  • Stay calm as you work these pressure points. Breathing slowly and evenly as your hold your cat helps. Cats are sensitive to their humans' moods, so if you remain relaxed, chances are your kitty will quiet down faster too.
  • Not all cats enjoy the same things. Pay attention to which strokes your cat enjoys, and stop if your cat dislikes when you touch any of the above pressure points.
 

About the Author

Ellen Goodlett has been a writer since 1999. Her work has been published in the "Pittsburgh Post-Gazette" and "Nimbus" magazine. Goodlett holds a bachelor’s degree in linguistics and languages from Bryn Mawr College.

Photo Credits

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