The black cat is quite fearful of being touched. When I opened his cage, he retreated to the back of his cage, growling. At first I tried using a long plastic back scratcher (using the back of the plastic hand to stroke the cat), and he seemed to be too afraid of that. The next thing I tried was a long feather. Different cats respond to different types of surfaces. He really settled down as I did circles and strokes on his ear with the feather. I did a couple of short sessions with him (just a few minutes each) with the feather, and in between, he seemed to be very curious what I was doing with Porter, the cat in the cage next to him. After a while, he was done being touched w/the feather and began to want to play with it. He jumped to the upper level of his cage (there is a hole to give him access to both an upper and lower cage, and I was able to reach the feather up through the hole to do a few strokes on him. Sometimes he seemed ok with that and other times he just wanted to play with the feather. Then I gave him another break.
Then I opened his cage, just speaking to him softly. He blinked at me from time to time. Finally he softly came up to me and just touched me with his paw, then moved quickly away again. He did this a few times. I tried reaching toward him with my hands, but he seemed to not be ready for that, so I didn't push the issue.
He seems to really long for contact, but still is afraid of it. I look forward to working with him further and to hearing what Marge's experience with Riley and Porter is next time she sees them.
I also spent a little time with Baby (pictured above). He is a total mush, a big sweetie. I did circles and strokes down his body, as well as work on his ears and head. He was purring up a storm and very responsive to the attention. What a love! Thanks Mary, I look forward to working with these cats again and to sharing with you and the other people who work with these cats about our experience with them.