Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Update on Sparkle: Getting Closer!

Sparkle is one of the most challenging kitties I have worked with. I have little by little been able to TTouch on her with a plastic back scratcher (using the back of the hand on the back scratcher), and recently we put her with a friendly young boy cat named Wally, and he has helped her to feel much more comfortable. I have also had help with her from other volunteers, particularly one named Britt, who I showed how to use the back scratcher with Sparkle. It is good to have more than one person doing this, so she doesn't just get used to me touching her this way.

A couple of days ago, both she and Wally were on the shelf of the cage, she was nestled in front of him. I began to do TTouch on his head with my right hand, and I did some circles and strokes on her head with the back scratcher with the other hand. At one point, I moved my right hand behind her head and began to do little circles on the back of her neck and head. I was still holding the back scratcher with the other hand, which helped distract her a bit, and she ended up settling into the TTouch I was doing on her with my hand. I could barely believe it, and had to consciously remind myself to keep breathing and try not to be nervous about it. I stayed there just a few minutes, as I did not want to push the issue. Afterwards, I was not able to get back to that place, but I'm sure I will soon. As one of the TTouch sayings goes, "Moments, not minutes", meaning it is the quality of time, not the amount of time, that really matters.

Yesterday I was speaking with my friend Eileen and standing in front of Wally and Sparkle's cage, and Sparkle pawed me through the cage, as though to encourage me to touch her. This was truly a first! I had never seen her actually seek attention from a person before. She still is scared to be actually touched, but she is SO much more comfortable. Often she will sit in front of the cage, and, as you see in the picture above, she gets very cozy with her buddy Wally. I still will have to start out doing TTouch on her with the back scratcher at first, but am hoping for her to gradually feel more comfortable with feeling a human hand.

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