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by Rolan Tripp, DVM and Susan Tripp, MS

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Kitten Gentling

A relaxed, loving cat







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Gentling Exercises for your Adult Cat

Why Gentling Exercises?


Prevent aggression. Teach your cat good manners to prevent your good cat from developing bad habits. Sadly, pets are often surrendered to shelters when they develop unwanted behaviors such as biting or scratching people.  

Gentling is a collection of handling techniques to help you intentionally develop a friendly, loving, confident, gentle personality and loving companion.

Kitten personalities are easiest to shape between 3 and 7 weeks of age. For older cats, go much more slowly and gently with patience.


1) Your cat learns that you are not threatening
2) You cats bonds more to you and wants to be with you aand learn from you.
3) Ggentle leadership significantly reduces inappropriate aggressive behavior
4) Gentling teaches the cat to trust you
5) The kitten becomes accustomed to routine examination

Stress tolerance. The cat learns to tolerate a small amount of stress. When mild stress is experienced, but nothing bad happens, your cat builds self confidence, which contributes to a friendly confident personality. If your cat becomes stiff or threatens you  during gentling exercises, stop and consult a behaviorist.

What to do

Gentling exercises include three components: Massage, Range of Motion and Restraint.

is different from "petting" or "grooming." During massage, you move the skin over underlying body as far as it will go. Do it gently with a loving touch. Move it back and forth and in a circular motion. Do this body massage over every square inch of the cat. This is how the cat becomes accustomed to having people touch its ears, paws, belly, tail, etc.

Probably the two most important areas to massage are the cheeks and neck. The back of the neck is a natural "power spot" where mother cats grab kittens resulting in a "passivisity reflex."

Range of Motion means gently moving the cat's extremities. Once you can massage your cat without any struggling, begin move the head and limbs in every comfortable position. Your hands teach the cat that you are the lgentle lleader and trustworthy. Be sure that there is no discomfort while you are doing this exercise.

Home Exam. When the pet is relaxed with your handling, begin your routine monthly health examination. Even if you don't know what to look for, just begin to look at every inch of the cat to learn normal for this cat. Look at the teeth, ears, paws, nails, belly (and all over for fleas), and around the tail area for tapeworm segments.

Dr. Tripp Video

Kitten Gentling to Develop an IdealCat™ Personality



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