Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Today I went back to work on my friend, animal communicator Eileen Garfinkel's cats, MacDuff and Misty. MacDuff has lived with Eileen for several years and she took in Misty recently when a neighbor passed away. MacDuff still appears to feel put-out by Misty's presence, though Misty is gentle and sweet and not trying to dominate MacDuff's kingdom in the least. However, they do seem to be able to lie down in closer proximity to each other peacefully more than they had initially, so that feels like progress.
Today MacDuff acted stand-offish and like he was not really in the mood to be touched, so I only touched him a little bit, and then did some Reiki on him from a distance later on in the session. I alternated between TTouching or offering Reiki to Misty and then doing a few touches on MacDuff or simply just sitting close to where he was and speaking in a calm voice. Most of the time they were each in different parts of the apartment.
First with Misty I did some Reiki about a foot from her lower back. She is an extremely sensitive cat and is still having some digestive issues, so I did this for fairly short time then stopped as I felt it was enough.
I tried a couple of times to do some TTouch on Duff, starting on his head. He was not in the mood at all, so I had to respect this and give him his space. I ended up doing an extended Reiki session on him standing with my hands 2-3 feet away, he seemed to settle as I did this. It really felt today like he needed to have space.
A while after finishing Reiki on MacDuff, I tried doing some TTouch on Misty. Today she was very responsive to small circles and strokes on her forehead, the base of her ears, and then especially responded to me doing a circle then a stroke outside her mouth area. This was the longest period of TTouch which I have done on Misty. Usually she is so sensitive that only a very short time feels appropriate with her, but today she really settled in for a longer session. She was sitting in closet at that time and seemed most settled there, as that is one of her especially cozy spots.
These kitties are continually reminding me that I need to really stay in the moment with them and be respectful of what they are ready to have happen. I am also reminded that I cannot go in there with specific expectations as to what will happen, again I truly have to be right in the moment with them and then I can see what is possible. I have to thank these animals every day for how much they teach me.
Today I went again to work on Mayor's Alliance rescue cats through Tavi & Friends' TTouch-in-Rescue program. Above is Diego. He is such a sweet, gentle soul. He really settled in today as I did ear strokes on him. The ear TTouch can be especially relaxing as there are acupressure points to other parts of the body in the ear. After this I also did some TTouches around his mouth, which is an area which can hold a lot of stress, and connected clouded leopard TTouches down his body - first one side and then the other. He really stretched out and relaxed.
Above is Angel. She is also a very sweet cat, and just waits at the front of the cage for me to open the door and give her attention. She almost gets too excited, so I'm careful not to do too much on her at once. She rubs her head against my hand and rolls on her side as I do TTouch on her head and on her body as well.
Smoky and Oreo are pictured above - Smoky is on the top shelf and Oreo is on the bottom shelf. Smoky is initially a tiny bit shy but once you touch him, he is so receptive to TTouch. The only problem with these two being in the same cage is that Oreo is very dominant and moves in front of Smoky when I am trying to touch him. On both cats, I did ear strokes, followed by small raccoon touches outside the mouth, working along the outside of the mouth back to the jaw area, and then clouded leopard TTouches down the body.
Above is a little kitten whose name I think is also Smoky, and below is his kitten friend Sunnie. These two are both extremely playful and well-socialized. I held these little ones, one at a time, and did ear strokes on them with a fairly firm touch, then clouded leopard ttouches on their body. They were both purrring all the while.
Next is Vaska (pictured below). Vaska is super-friendly but can get almost TOO excited by being TTouched as well, so I do a little bit with him, then stop, give a break and come back. He will stretch out on his back or side. On his body I will often do abalone TTouches at a slow speed as these can be generally more soothing than stimulating. The slow speed is important too as the tempo of the TTouches can help determine whether they are relaxing or stimulating.
Ziggy (pictured below) is quite a character, and very sweet. He also really loves attention. I did TTouches around his head, ears, and then strokes and circles with the back of my hand down his body.
Zorro (below) is also a very sweet cat, and soothing, slow abalone TTouches down one side of his body and then the next are what he responds most too, and can be very relaxing for him. I held him against my leg as I did abalone TTouches down one side and then stabilized him with my hand on the other side as I did the TTouches on the opposide side of him which was facing my leg.
Today I went to do TTouch on the rescue cats in the window of Whiskers Holistic Pet Supply store. As previously mentioned, the little tabby Lorraine had been adopted, so from the previous session, only Doc remained, and there were two new cats who did not have names yet as they had only very recently arrived, so I have given them the temporary names of Lily and Lil Fred.
Doc (pictured above) can easily get over-stimulated so I am careful to work with him in very short bursts and primarily with the back of my hand. Today, Doc greeted me and rubbed his face against my hand. I did TTouch on him, primarily on his forehead, base of ears, back of neck, and then a few strokes down the body here and there. He mostly sat in his favorite perch in the sun, though when I was doing TTouch on the others, he did come over to investigate and see what I was doing. I worked on him several times during the session, giving him breaks. He is getting more comfortable with TTouch, though I am still only doing a few strokes on the body, and mostly working on the head area.
Above and below you see Lil Fred, he appears to be a young little cat. He is a gentle, sweet guy, and he was sitting on one of the cat condos off to the side, a little out of the way . He was a tiny bit shy at first but was extremely receptive once I began to touch him. I did TTouches on his head with back of finger and hand, including TTouches around the outside of the mouth area. Then I began to gradually work in TTouches on his body starting out with back surfaces of my hand, using the chimp and llama TTouches, and then turned my hand over and did some clouded leopard touches on his body. I noticed that at the base of his tail there was a tightness, probably due to him being generally a bit nervous in a new situation. As he grew more comfortable, he was rubbing himself against me a bit so I felt comfortable enough to do some raccoon TTouches down his tail. I use extremely light pressure when doing these little circular TTouches on the tail, just barely pushing the skin around in a circle. These TTouches were done in several stages.
When working on cats, I will most often work on one cat a bit, give them a break and work on the next one, etc, so as not to be too overwhelming. Cats are so extremely sensitive that it is most often more productive to do a short bit, give a break and then do a bit more. Sometimes though, they just really get into a groove with it and you can do a longer session. You have to use your intuition and really stay in the moment with the animal to see what they are most comfortable with. It is a tricky balance.
As I was working on Lil Fred, I saw the other little kitty, a small, young-looking little tabby who I am calling Lily (pictured below), come down from an upper perch. She looked curious as to what was happening.
She seemed shy at first, but still seemed up to try some contact. To provide a safe distance between her and me, I first used a long feather to do TTouch circles and strokes on her head and body. Then I gradually began to touch her with my hand, a little at first and using back surfaces of my hands and fingers, as these surfaces are less threatening than front surfaces. These sensations seemed as though they were a bit new to her but she was responsive so I continued, first doing TTouches on her head and then on her body. Again, I gave her a couple of breaks as I was doing all this, working on one or another of the cats in between. By the end, she seemed quite comfortable - though she was not coming down from the perch where she was, she appeared to be extremely comfortable with the TTouches.
All the best to these three and I look forward to seeing them soon unless they are adopted :)
Sunday, August 29, 2010
When I walked into the second room, I saw on my right two semi-feral young black kitties in a cage together - Mittens and Muffin. One sits on the right hand shelf and one sits on the left hand shelf. They are very playful but are not eager to be touched, so I decided to work on them with the long-handled brushes that I have been using for some cats who do not want to be directly touched by hand at first. For these little ones, I used two brushes so if one of them was playing with one brush then I would stroke it or do circular touches on its back with the other brush. Sometimes in the midst of this the other cat would get involved but I started to get a rhythm of working on one cat and then the other. The one which likes to sit on the left hand side seems the most ready to be touched - the other one is more skittish.
I worked on them several times each day when I was there (Fri and Sat) and on Saturday after a bit, both cats were lying down on their shelves. The one on the left was on its side and was very much relaxing into the circles with the brush which I was doing down its sides and even a little on its stomach. The other kitty would sit up when I started to work on it with the brushes but started to stay still a bit longer for some strokes and circles with the brush. Both were ok with being touched with the brushes on their body but were frightened of being touched on the head. I look forward to working with these two, they were very receptive and continued to look at me afterwards as though they wondered what I would do next. In the picture below, you see them looking pretty relaxed!
There is also a large black and white kitty loose in the shelter named Cody (sorry I didn't get a picture of him). He is a real character, he is loose in the shelter and LOVES to have attention. But he can also get over-stimulated, so though I did let him jump up into my lap and plop there, I primarily did Reiki on him there, and did a short session of slow abalone TTouches to calm his energy down. What a sweet guy!
Above is Teddy, and below is Teddy with FDR peeking from the lower left hand corner. These are two VERY shy little kittens who were huddled at the back of the cage. I did some little strokes with the back of my finger on their heads, some slow clouded leopard TTouches on their body and then tome small raccoon ttouches around the outside of the mouth area. The mouth area can be a really great area to work for stressed-out little kittens. The touch did help them relax, it will just take them some time to trust people. They are very gentle and sweet, just shy. Teddy seems to be the less shy of the two.
I also did a short session with a tortie cat, Patches, who will come to the front of the cage for contact, but can only take a short amount of contact at one time before it seems she is overwhelmed. So I am working on her in very short spurts of time, giving her breaks in between, then coming back and trying again with her later on. It will be interesting to see what can happen with her after a few sessions.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Irene is one of the lovely Mayor's Alliance cats who I am working on through Tavi & Friends' TTouch-in-Rescue Program. I have to admit I am getting so attached to this sweet little soul. I also keep wondering what her vision is like, as she is cross-eyed, and wonder if that is what causes her to have a rather shy personality.
She is really coming around though. She still will flinch a bit when you first open her cage, but she is getting more and more comfortable being touched, and this time was more at ease when I transitioned from touching her on the head to touching her on the body.
And this time, she really got to purring for me, which was so sweet to see. I did still start out with raccoon and chimp TTouches on the head and mouth area, and then began to work in llama TTouches and abalone TTouches on her body, as I thought these TTouches would be comforting to her. I worked with Irene three or four times while I was there today, giving her breaks and working on other cats in between these minisessions. Below you will see parts of an earlier minisession and a later minisession I did with her.
In this second minisession below, you will see her getting quite comfortable, kneading with her paws. At the end of the clip she has perhaps had enough and stands up, but she is purring away and so I did a little more with her on her head after she stood up.
and then, just for fun, below is a cip showing her munching away on her food, something many cats will do during or after TTouch :)
The first kitty I worked on is the lovely little grey tabby kitten pictured below, Sunnie. She is as sweet as can be and came right to the front of the cage, as you see here. I picked her up and held her to do TTouch, as I wanted to avoid her getting loose in the room and hiding somewhere that would be hard to retrieve her. She really resonded to ear strokes and immediately began to purr. I did raccoon touches on her head and then chomp touches and clouded leopard down her body. She was extremely comfortable and cuddled into my arms.
Then I went to do TTouch on Oreo (pictured below) and her friend Smoky. Oreo was waiting for me at the front of the cage and was eager to be touched. I did TTouch on her in short bursts, giving her breaks, as in the past she has easily gotten over-stimulated and sometimes will swat as a result. Today there was no swatting or even a hint of it. She rubbed her head against me as I did TTouches on her head and ears, and then touches and strokes with the back of my hand down each side of her back. Smoky was sleeping at the other end of the cage and looked so comfortable, I didn't want to wake her up :)
Diego (below) was very receptive to TTouch and very relaxed and gentle, as usual. I did slow abalone touches down his back (these are touches using the whole hand). Abalone TTouches can be extremely comforting and these seem to be what he especially responds to. I also did some chimp TTouches on his head and body.
Next I did TTouch on Angel (still picture directly below and then a video below that). You will see that I did a lot of zigzag TTouches on her, as she really responds to these TTouches. I also do TTouches around her head and mouth area, and some plain strokes with the back of my hand. She is such a sweet cat.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
This time I used a feather on both Lorraine and Doc, doing strokes down the sides of they body. When working directly with my hand, on Doc I mostly did small TTouches on the head, as he can become overstimulated quite quickly and swat or bite as a result. So I would work on him in quite short bursts, giving him frequent breaks.
With Lorraine, I sensed she was most responsive to a comforting touch, so I did slow, connected abalone TTouches down one side of the body and then the other. I would do a pause at the end of each touch, giving her time to process the work. She seemed to be really responsive to the slow, big TTouches. I also did a bit of Reiki on her as well.
As I am getting around to writing this post rather belatedly, I have to put here that this story of Lorraine and Marty actually had a happy ending. The following week, the person who adopted Marty came back to the store, as poor Marty had been so sad without his pal Lorraine. The person adopted Lorraine as well, so these two sweet cats are in their forever home together.
Lorraine (pictured below)
and Doc (pictured below).
All three were quite eager to receive attention, but were a bit over-stimulated (I think they were also near their mealtime so were anticipating food). This being the case, I alternated between using a wided, long-handled flat paintbrush, using a feather, and sometimes using my hand. Particularly Doc can get over-stimulated so I did extremely short bursts on him. I kept alternating from one cat to the next, and this worked quite well, as it is really good to give cats frequent breaks, particularly when they tend to get over-excited and can potentially swat, bite or scratch when this happens. When I used the paintbrush or feather, I did gentle but firm circular touches and strokes down their back, and occasionally did touches on their head as well.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Vaska is an extremely comfortable cat, even though he has a rather wistful-looking face above. If you look below you will see how at ease he is after just a bit of TTouch. He stretches right out on his side. I tend to do the larger TTouches like the abalone TTouch, llama TTouches and Noah's march with the back of my hand down his back especially when he is in this position, as this can be a position which be followed by over-stimulation, so I don't want to do anything too vigorous to a cat stretched out like this.
Irene s a petite, beautiful cat with medium length fur who I had my first session with a week ago at the boarding facility where I am working on Mayor's Alliance rescue cats through Tavi & Friends' TTouch-in-rescue program.
Last week Irene was shy but was receptive to Ttouch and became more comfortable as I worked with her. This week she became more and more comfortable, and now what she does is very sweet, she will go away to take a break, but then come back to me for some more TTouch. she is still hesitant about being touched much on her body but she is getting used to it little by little. The touches on her body I am generally doing using the back of my hand, so it will be a more gentle touch. I do llama touches and Noah's marches (long strokes) using the back of my hand.
In the videos below, you will see part of our session together. I look forward to working with this dear being more. I do wonder what her vision is like, as she is cross-eyed, and wonder if this has something to do with her shyness.
Oreo is in a cage with her pal Smoky. Oreo can tend to get over-stimulated quickly, so I found it best to do a few touches on her head, let her go away and then she comes back for more. This way she keeps from getting over-stimulated and apt to swat. I started out with circular touches on her head, then worked in some circles and strokes down her sides.
Smoky (shown below) came in with Oreo and is very gentle and sweet, a more passive personality than Oreo but loves to be touched. She responded most to a touch I did on her that was like the abalone touch, with my fingers flattened like the abalone touch but spread apart like in the Tiger TTouch. She really seemed comforted by these big touches which I did rather slowly.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Misty was nearby in the living room and so I did some TTouches on her for a short time, then she walked away as though it was enough and laid down and relaxed in a sunny spot in the living room. I let her be for a bit and then did a bit of energy work connecting with her brachial chakra (around the shoulder area), along with some gentle TTouch on her head and back. She has had diarrhea recently so wanted to be careful not to over-do it, to be very gentle with her. She stretched out and was very comfortable, and Eileen and I sat on the floor with her, talking and touching her from time to time.
Then something happened that I could never have imagined. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw movement and realized it was Duff walking right up to me. He came up to where I was and plopped himself right on his side, his body draped all alongside of me, which is something my cat does with me, as he is very comfortable with me. Both Eileen and I were so surprised! This is something that Duff will do with Eileen but will never do with other people. And Misty was still lying right on the other side of me. I did a little TTouch on Duff while he was laying on his side, very relaxed, then when he had enough, he stood up and just walked away.
I did some more TTouch on Misty and then, before I left, did another small session with Duff, who was now on the windowsill in the kitchen. I did a long stroke with the back of my hand along his body and he stretched out completely relaxed on his side. I could tell he was very relaxed with me touching him.
Later on, Eileen called me to tell me that Duff and Misty were actually chasing each other around the apartment, which is a big breakthrough for them. I am so thrilled to share this story and to know that these cats are feeling more comfortable with each other. I look forward to working with them more and will be so interested to see what can happen with the cats' relationships with each other and with Eileen.