Service Cats: How To Train Kitty To Massage Without Claws

Well meowllo and welcome to another installment of our Service Cat Picking and Training Series. As with all our educational postys this will be written in da human English. Altho’ we will give you tips fur training and will post about RaenaBelle’s training, our posts are not intended to be an all encompassing training manual. Training is tedious and repetitious and doesn’t happen overnight, so keep that in mind befur you decide to take on the training of a Service cat. Ifin you missed any part of this series you can ketch up by clicking on the links below.

Picking a Service Cat Part 1

Foundations of Training Part 2 

 Dezi looks smugly from atop the Liberty cat tree

Now we got a few questions we would like to answer. And we also want to say thank you for your questions. The first question we want to address is the age of the kitten we started with. Several of you mentioned that particular breeders don’t let kittens go to their furever homes till they’re around 16 weeks old. That’s fine. The age doesn’t matter so long as training begins the moment the kitten is in your home. Mommy starts the scent me up game as soon as she picks the kitty up. We chose a younger age because that’s what we’re working with and when adopting from shelters one often finds kittens under the age of 12 weeks old. We will say the younger the kitten is, the quicker the kitten will adjust to your schedule and lifestyle. But don’t let the age of the kitten or cat dictate everything. The most important factor is the bond you develop or already have with the kitten/cat.

 Raena laying by the Kong play tent

Now, the next question we want to answer is: How much will the new kitten pick up from the resident Service Cat (ie: me, Dezi. cuz it was asked specifically about us) If like us, you already have one Service cat, they will be a huge help in the training of the new Service cat. Like children, kittens want to emulate the older cat.

An example of this: Raena can smell the chemical changes in mommy’s body before a syncope incident, and by watching me alert mommy to sit down, causes her to want to do the same. So the next time she smells that change, she knows she should take action. It’s like clicker training if you will; it’s like the clicker going off telling her to respond. We also need to clear up some confusion about Syncope. Syncope is a fancy medical term for passing out/losing consciousness. Mommy Does Not have seizures of any kind. There are several reasons that mommy passes out, and she tries to avoid those that are caused by actions, but she does have to continue to live. Those times that are not caused by actions are just unavoidable, so having an alert is very helpful. Mommy says it’s so nice not to find herself on the floor and all bruised up or with a crowd of people all around blocking her air.

 Raena grabbing for Dezi's tail on the Liberty cat tree.

The last thing we want to talk about today is Kitty Massage. DO  NOT  DECLAW  KITTY!!!  Please know we are Not passing judgement as mommy had done it in the past when she was young and ignorant. BUT, it’s not necessary. A lot of you talk about how your cats like to “make biscuits”. Kneading is as natural to a cat as purring, and can be focused and trained for massage. Altho’ Ragdolls are known to be soft pawed, we can still get excited and the claws will come out. So mommy needs to train us to keep those claws in. We massage her head and body everyday. And yes, Raena is already learning to focus her kneading to specific areas. Altho’ she’s smart and tried to massage mommy’s head her first day here. As training progresses with Raena, we will try to get better photos. Altho’ some photos will never be taken because of the circumstances surrounding the trained behavior. We will of course inform you of those times.

 Dezi and Raena laying on the Liberty Cat Tree

Anyways, with kitty on your lap or laying next to you, initiate the kneading process. You know what gets your kitty to knead. Mommy generally uses cooing and petting. It’s that sweet talk to kitty telling them how much she loves us and how pretty we are, etc. That gets us going everytime. At first kitty generally keeps their claws in. It’s once they get a little excited that the claws start coming out. Mommy quietly says “ouch” and gently taps kitty’s paw with one finger only and says “No Claws”. This is repeated until the claws are retracted. It’s important that you not scream, jump, hit or get frustrated. When kitty retracts, mommy says how much she loves us and how blest she is to have us and what a great job we do. Eventually, kitty will learn to keep the claws in and the kneading becomes more of a pushing instead of the traditional push and pull. Once this behavior is learned you can start to focus it on specific areas. We’ll talk more about that in a future post.

Dezi and Raena playing patty cake

You’ve all been waiting to see our patty cake game photos. Sorry it’s not great, but here it is.

Me’s gonna wrap it up now. We hope we’ve answered your questions. Purrlease leave any additional questions in da comments; or ifin we didn’t answer your question clearly let us know. We don’t know what or how much you all want to read here, so we’re just kind of playing it by ear. Altho’ mommy has started Raena’s training, she’s still to small for a lot of things. She can learn massage at her current size and learn to obey (come when called, stay, lay, be quiet, etc.) and to alert, but not much else. So let us know if there are specifics you’re interested in hearing about. Now, mommy’s case manager is comin’ by today. And da girl mommy was gonna hire to help her ‘round da house fell thru so we’s gotta run some more ads; so we’ll be by to visit as soon as we can.

Are you (humans: have you) trained to do anything particular?

What incentive do you want (do you give)?

Till da next time…………………………………..Be Blest!!!

Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses

Deztinee and RaenaBelle     

53 thoughts on “Service Cats: How To Train Kitty To Massage Without Claws

  1. I have 4 cats all of which are rescues and I currently have 1 Foster kitten living with me too.
    Sebastian is 6 and I have had him with me since I rescued him as a kitten, he wakes me up when my narcolepsy causes me to fall asleep in dangerous places.
    Molly is 5 and I got her second, again I rescued her as a kitten and she is the most attached to me emotionally, she tells me when my ptsd, depression and anxiety act up and emotionally supports me. When I was suicidal in 2018 she saved my life by not allowing me to drown myself and getting in my way when I tried to slit my wrists.
    Kitten is my oldest at 10 years old and her owner surrendered her to me at the start of this year, she helps calm me down when my fibromyalgia becomes overwhelming and she helps me sleep when I am in pain or struggling as she will lie down on me purring and refuse to move until I fall asleep. She has recently also started nipping my knee gently to wake me up if I fall asleep on the toilet.
    Smudge is 3 and I have had him for 4 months now, he is still getting used to me and understanding my needs but he has started trying to help me sleep lately too.

    I’m hoping to train my foster kitten to become an emotional support animal so she can help other people and I will train Sebastian at the same time. They don’t want rewards for what they do to help me they just love me and appreciate that I rescued them so they just adopt their responsibilities without my prompting. All of them are trained that if I say ouch then they retract their claws but personally i find that my cats don’t like being told what to do, I trained them to do tricks very easily but with rescues I find that they like to pay you back in their own special ways so if you just leave them to it then they will automatically find the way to help you. I am interested in whether specific training can be undertaken with rescues as opposed to with kittens but the only frame of reference I have is from my own cats that have adopted their responsibilities without my prompting.


  2. My cat is around 12 years old and I’ve had her for 5 years. She love to climb up on my chest and softly touch me with her paw. I have never had a cat do this, she is the most loving cat I have ever had. She knew I need her after my wife died.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so pawsum uncle Ron. We kitties are very smart and we know when our humans need extra luv and attention. We’re sorry to hear ’bout your wife, but so glad you have found help from your special kitty. Big hugs

      Luv ya’

      Dezi and Raena


  3. I am enjoying these posts. Thanks for sharing. I had not thought of service cats, though mine are a great comfort and joy to me. I’ll try your suggestions for massage, as I sorely need that much of the time. Sometimes they find a spot on their own, one I might not be aware of, but they tend to get carried away at some point. I try to find an old shirt or towel to cushion those claws.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. When we are unner the blankies against TBT, we have learned )mostly) ta keep our claws in. Cuz when we dont, he moves usaway a few inches and keeps his arm around us so we know we are still loved. So we mostly have learned not to let our claws slipout. That way, we get to stay closer to him unner the blankies.

    He doesnt mind our slipped claws so much when he is all dressed in clothes and we are sitting on his lap.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. We love your posts and it is great to hear how to train service cats. I know that cats are smarter than dogs and they usually train us, but we can certainly be beneficial to each other with a strong bond and lots of reinforcement of what we want. I don’t really want to say train, because we just really need to learn how to communicate with each other and let each other know what we need and in turn what they need from us. It’s just communication between species and the bond that makes us care about the other.

    Liked by 1 person

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