Friday, March 30, 2007

Cat Torture: The Surprising Benefits

Cats are finicky. I know what a bombshell. They love to have their heads scratched and their backs stroked but they do not like a person to touch their stomach or paws. Doing so could earn you a new scar. But could routinely annoying your cat by touching these sensitive areas be beneficial?

Absolutely and not just to get even with them! A cat may bleed you on a good day for touching his paw but what happens to you when he has a splinter in it that causes him pain? I’d rather not think about how you’ll look after you try to remove it! You could practice touching their paws and stomachs when they’re healthy or have good medical coverage for that trip to the ER!

I “torture” my cats daily. When they’re curled up sleeping next to me I hold their outstretched paw in my hand. Practice means that I can stroke the top of their paws a bit before they pull away. This was very handy when Friday injured his paw a few months ago. Because he trusts me, I was able to hold his paw and examine it closely. It required a trip to the vet in the end but not because I needed help determining the injury.

To gain claw-free access to the stomach I wait until my cat is on his side or back. Then, I scratch in between his front legs on his chest. I have met many cats who like this. Once they’re comfortable with this action I slowly run my hand over their stomach being sure to stop immediately if they start to react. Then, I leave the stomach alone and begin scratching again. Over time, I can pet their stomachs more. In Hemmy’s case, there’s a lot of stomach to pet!

All of this practice means I can be the first “responder” to one of my cats should they become ill or injured. Hemmy is my accident-prone child so I spend extra time working with him. I never know when we’ll make another emergency trip to the vet so it pays to be prepared.

I hope you’ll adopt my torture policy too! I’d hate for you to pay for a trip to the vet and a trip to the ER all on the same day!


Jan said...

Jennifer, What do you think about a cat that loves his paws scratched? Eddie will actually spread his toes open whide when we scratch the tender inside of his paws. It's comical to see. may have the answer for this one. When we scratch Eddie along his spine, he throws his head back and starts licking the air! He closes his eyes, moves his head from side to side(sortof looks like Steveie Wonder lol)....and his tongue is licking out until we stop. It's a riot!

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