Thursday, October 21, 2010
New Cats at BARC Shelter: Kermit
A few days ago, a bunch of new cats arrived at BARC Shelter from a woman who recently passed away. They were initially very stressed and confused, most of them are staying in the back of their cages, sometimes hiding underneath beds or pillows in their cages or sleeping in the litter box. Most of them were not eating initially. Everyone is doing their best to make these cats feel at home, and it is great to see them gradually becoming more comfortable.
One of the first cats who I decided to work on, who quickly stole my heart, is Kermit. Kermit was completely hiding underneath his bed curled up in a corner at the back of his cage. I said hello to him, gently lifted up the bed to see how he was doing and could tell from his body language that he was frightened but did not seem aggressive at all. I started out by doing some TTouches on his head with the back of my fingers, and gradually worked my way down to his body, doing abalone ttouches, which are very comforting as they use the whole hand. Little by little I felt him warm up to me, and he began rubbing his head against my hand and slowly walking forward towards the front of his cage. I slid his food dish towards him, and he sniffed and started eating and eating. I continued doing TTouch on him as he was eating, as this seemed to be encouraging him to keep on eating. It seemed as though once he relaxed, he realized he was hungry. I gave him a break, but came back to his cage a number of times, to continue to reassure him, and because he was SO responsive and seemed to want more.
A couple of days later, we gave him a bath. It turned out that he LOVED it. I incorporated TTouches as I was washing him, as well as when I was drying him with the towel, and he was leaning and rubbing himself against my hands in a way that let me know he was really enjoying it. I kept drying him an extra-long time because he just seemed to like it so much. When we left, we put a towel over him like a blanket to make him feel extra-cozy (below he is pictured under the towel).
The day after the bath when I went to see him, initially he was sleeping in his litter box at the very back of the cage. Again I started doing some TTouches on his head and then his body, speaking very gently and reassuring him, and he soon came forward to the very front of the cage. I continued doing TTouch on him and also combed out his fur. I then gave him a break, but would come back to him every now and then for some attention as he kept looking at me with his huge eyes, wondering what was going to happen next. He stayed in the front of the cage for the rest of the day, looking very engaged and curious, like he had really come out of hiding. And he was resting there in the front of the cage when we left for the night.
Yesterday when I arrived at the shelter, he was still in the front of the cage, rubbing his head against the cage, asking for attention. This was such a pleasure to see! One of the other volunteers had been petting him and combing him, and when I opened the cage he was just about ready to come out onto my lap. It is really a delight to see, within just a few days, this cat come from underneath his bed at the back of his cage and now he spends the whole time hanging out in the front of the cage, ready for love and attention. I wish this sweet kitty the best - his huge eyes really make a direct connection with your heart!