Sunday, October 11, 2009

Guinea Pigs, Ear Strokes and a Shy Cat

There are many new residents at Social Tees shelter ( so they have been keeping me busy, I hardly know where to start.
Yesterday and the day before yesterday I did TTouch on the three guinea pigs pictured above, which was a first for me! I opened the cage just enough to get my hand in and began by gently stroking their heads with the back of the top joint of my fingers. They were all squeaking vigorously and gathering around my hand, gently nibbling on it from time to time, and seemed to be curious. Because I didn't know if the nibbling would turn into biting, I began primarily with touches using the back of my fingers and hand. These little critters were quite active, so I would do a few little circles with the back of my finger on one head, then another, etc, alternating. As their activity seemed to come down a notch, I began working in hair slides on their body and strokes using the back of my hand. Little by little, their loud squeaks turned into happy-sounding gurgles as they moved about, and one could feel and see their activity level calming down a notch. The guinea pig on the top left was particularly responsive and my friend and fellow volunteer Este told me that it kept moving towards my hand and wiggling its rear end in delight as I did circles and strokes on it. I couldn't help but chuckle to myself as these little ones are very humorous. When I decided to stop and took my hand out of the cage, they squeaked loudly as though they wanted me to come back!

Above are several kittens who I have been working with. The white one and the grey one started out very shy, but within a short amount of time have become much more friendly and we are able to take them out of the cage and hold them, and I do TTouch on them both inside and outside of the cage.
The little orange kitten on the right, who is blind, could not be a sweeter little creature. When I hold it, it purrrrrrrs the entire time, and is extremely responsive to TTouch. I do chimp touches down its back, a few little circles with its tail, raccoon touches around its mouth and head. It has a kitty cold and so I thought it was important to try ear strokes. The day before yesterday, I began to try to stroke its ears and it seemed very sensitive, so I just did a few gentle strokes there. Yesterday was a different story there though. It was VERY responsive to having its ears stroked and I began to put a bit stronger pressure, and it was even more responsive, closing its eyes and putting its head back as though it was blissing out. Robert walked by at this point and remarked that the kitten looked like it was in heaven. I will be interested to see how the kitten progresses and hope that the ear work will help speed recovery from its cold.

There are many new cats in the back part of the shelter and I particularly wanted to work on the shyest one there, pictured above and below. When I began, it was huddled in the back part of the cage. However, when I began to do TTouch on it, it seemed to remember me from the day before and soon began to purr. The purr grew louder and louder and its body relaxed. She rolled over onto her back and began to nuzzle against its box and against my hand. I had begun with chimp touches on its head, llama touches on its body and then worked in some touches around the mouth and ears.

Below you see her gently closing her eyes as I begin to stroke her ear.
This delightful little cat will be going out to an adoption event with the other animals from Social Tees today, so I hope she and many of the other animals will be going to new homes today :)


  1. Hi, I am currently looking at doing a day course in Ttouch, I am interested in using on one of my guinea pigs who is quite jumpy and nervous, despite being brought up the same as my others. She is beginning to settle down but I felt this might help, I wondered if you had any tips please?

    Thank you

  2. Thanks for commenting, Claire. That is great you are taking a course in TTouch, I think it will really help your guinea pig. You need to be sensitive to what the guinea pig is ready to process at any given moment, so I would suggest just doing a little bit of TTouch at a time until she starts to get accustomed to it. Try doing some ear strokes on her. Also, the TTouches with the back of the hand or fingers can be more easily accepted by a nervous animal. you might try doing some little circular TTouches just with your fingernail around the forehead area. If you have a long-haired guinea pig, the hair slides can also be quite calming. Please email me at if you would like to discuss this further and in more detail. I wish you all the best.