Tuco is a beautiful black kitten who the police brought to BARC shelter (http://barcshelter.org) several weeks ago. She had been abused, apparently hit in the face, and the skin on her jaw was completely scraped off, and teeth knocked out as well. She has received medical attention from the wonderful vets BARC uses and a lot of TLC from everyone. She was understandably terrified of people at first, but she has been feeling more and more confident and comfortable each time I see her. I noticed that she often gets frightened when a hand is coming towards her, especially towards her head or face area, so sometimes I will touch her on her back first. But most recently what I have tried is just very gently touching the top of her head with the back of my fingers, doing the lightest strokes and circular TTouches. This seems to help her to be more receptive to the approaching hand, instead of swatting at it or moving away.
And, what has been wonderful to see is that often after doing some of these gentle touches with her, she will move forward on her own for more contact. Sometimes she moves forward, then retreats again initially, but then I touch her again very lightly, first on the head, then some gentle strokes down the body using the back of my hand (which is less intense than the front surface, and she will start to come forward again. The other day, when I took these pictures, she surprised me by leaning completely into my hand and arm, and pushing into me, then rolling on her back.
As you can see below, I am only using the back of my index finger (actually my fingernail) to do some gentle circular TTouches on her. I am just touching with enough pressure to move the skin around in a circle and a quarter, and I make the circles slower and slower, for a more relaxing effect. It is so important, too, to slow your own mind down before beginning to work with a frightened animal. Sometimes it is as if I hear my thoughts slow down like a record going at a slower speed.
Another thing I do with her if she starts to get into a mode where she wants to swat at me rather than have my hand make contact, is to stop for a few minutes, just sending her Reiki energy from a couple of feet away. When I do this, I see her body start to relax. She usually will lie down and her eyes get very sleepy. And then I will try again with some gentle TTouches.
The picture below was right after she had pushed her head up into my hand and was looking a bit surprised about doing that, I think! But you can see that her body posture is stretched out and relaxed in these pictures, not hunched up and tense.
Over the past couple of weeks, Tuco has realized she loves to play. Sometimes, as in the picture below, her facial expression looks as if the act of playing is a new discovery to her. It is so lovely to see her fear melting away and her true sweet, whimsical personality come forth. Many thanks to all those at BARC who have been so kind and understanding to her, as they are to all the animals at BARC. See you soon! xo