Sunday, May 8, 2011
TTouch and Reiki at BARC: Red
Red is a gentle, shy cat who came to BARC shelter thanks to Judy, one of the wonderful volunteers at BARC. He had been found living in a cat colony where he was getting beaten up by other cats. No wonder he seemed so traumatized when he arrived at the shelter!
Initially he was very scared to be touched directly by hand, so I started out TTouching him using several tools. First I tried using a back scratcher, but then it seemed like he would be more responsive to a smaller object, so I tried a few different paintbrushes, doing little circles and strokes on him. I showed Judy, Mary, and other volunteers how to use the paintbrush, using very light pressure, just enough to push the skin around in a circle and a quarter. I also did Reiki with Red, offering him the healing energy usually from a short distance away so as not to overwhelm him.
Later I discovered that he is especially receptive to a fan-shaped paintbrush, a very soft one. I begin by doing little circular TTouches on his forehead, as well as around the outside of his mouth and under his chin. These are areas that are often good areas of the body to begin TTouch with frightened cats.
After a while of TTouching him using the paintbrush, I work my hand down the handle of the brush and am able to TTouch him using my hand. I start out by doing little circular TTouches with the back of my finger or just the tip of my finger. Gradually, I have been able to do some TTouches with the front surfaces of my fingers and hand as well, mostly on the head, but working a little onto the body.
As I have continued to work with him, and other volunteers, especially Judy (who spends a lot of time with him when she comes) have also worked with him slowly and gently, he has really been responding to the gentle touches and has been getting braver every day. Last week he came to the front of the cage for both me and Judy, which was incredible to see. I think he surprises himself when he does this! and he has been getting more and more responsive to touch, actually leaning into the paintbrush or your hand as you work with him.
As he seemed to possibly be more frightened of men, Judy brought a male friend with her last time to the shelter, and had him touch Red with very gentle energy. To my surprise and delight, when Judy quietly called to me and I turned around, her friend was petting Red and he looked very at ease, right in the front of the cage.
Many thanks to Judy and the other volunteers for working with so much sensitivity with this sweet cat. It is such a joy to see him more relaxed and to see his sweet personality coming forward. And of course, thanks to BARC for taking Red and so many animals in, and for all they do for so many animals.