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 :)