Saturday, December 22, 2012

Calming Feral Kitty Berry: Slow, Steady, and in the Moment




I'm calling this dear little feral kitty Berry.  She was rescued from the same backyard as my two cats (Emmylou and Natalia).  She is younger, and has medium/long fur, but has a bit of resemblance to Emmylou, I think.  She was brought into BARC shelter right before Hurricane Sandy. 
Because Hurricane Sandy left many of us, including me, without power and hot water for about a week, it took me a week to get back to BARC, but I was eager to do what I could to help calm her.
When I came back to the shelter, it was clear she was as terrified as when she had been brought in.  When I first work with a new cat, unless they come right up to the front of the cage to greet me, I most often use a long-handled tool such as a plastic back scratcher or paintbrush to touch them. 
But before I even do that, I talk quietly (or silently, inside my mind) to them, reassuring them I am there to help them, and would only do as much as they are ready to do.  I start sending Reiki energy to them from outside the cage. 

When I first opened the cage and gently stroked her head with the back scratcher, she wasn't quite ready for that and hissed and swatted at the back scratcher.  I told her that was ok, and then just continued to send her Reiki for a while.  I tried the back scratcher again, still she was too scared to accept it, so I again took it back out of the cage and sent her Reiki energy from outside the cage.


The next time I worked with her, I gently approached her with the back scratcher (standing sideways to the cage, and kind of approaching her from a diagonal instead of straight-on), stroking the sides of her cheeks and under her chin a bit.  At first she was a bit hesitant, but then she started to gently rub her face against the back scratcher a bit.  I worked with her for a while this way, giving her breaks, then starting again.  I also did some TTouch circles with the scratcher on the top of her head and the base of her ears.
Each time I continued to work with her, she was more receptive to touch and began to come forward and eat her food while I was working with her.  At this point I could do TTouch circles and zigzags on her body as well as her head. 

One day when I opened the cage and began to work with her she sat straight up and looked at me right in the eye.  I could tell we were having a breakthrough by the way we were connecting.  She was really looking at me and I felt the energy from her go right to my heart.  she began to push her head into the back scratcher and began to walk forward towards the cage door. 

I began to work my hand down the handle til I was touching her directly.  She was rubbing into my hand and kneading her paws, looking a bit like she was marching.  I thought she was going to come out the door!!  She seemed so energized and felt so good from the session, first she went to her wet food, then her dry food, then her water :)

Since that session, when I first see her I blink at her and she recognizes me, as opposed to starting with a hiss.  I showed a couple of other people in the shelter how to work with her gently and they have had good success working with her as well.  Now I am able to approach her with my hand, though I still start from a bit of a diagonal approach, first putting the back of my fingers on the back of her head and working from there, so I am not sticking my hand in her face.  It is really important, especially for frightened cats, not to just directly face them and stick your hand in their face.

She now comes right to the front of the cage, kneading and sometimes flopping on her side. Last time I worked with her, she literally jumped up to butt her head into my hand. She really is a beautiful little cat, and it is amazing to see her inner beauty coming forth as well. 
It will take her a while to be comfortable enough to be receptive to others, especially potential adopters she is meeting the first time, but she has come such a long way in a few weeks, it is beautiful to see. 
Of course I feel an extra connection with her too, being that she was rescued from the same yard as my two. 
Thank you Berry, it is such an honor to connect with you.  Look forward to seeing you soon!

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Adventures of Emmylou and Natalia: Closer and Closer















Emmylou and Natalia are my two lovely kitties who I adopted from BARC Shelter in July.  They were brought into the shelter as feral cats, so I have been going through a very gradual process of helping them to become acclimated to the apartment and to us, which has been going so well - better than I ever could have dreamed.  Every day there is visible progress. 










When I get home, they greet me at the door, waiting for me to give them attention, which is so sweet.  As soon as I can after getting back home from somewhere, I sit on the floor to do TTouches with them.  Each day they are comfortable with longer periods of contact, and with me being in closer proximity to them.  I can pick Emmylou up briefly, and sometimes can put an arm around one or the other before beginning TTouches with them.  Natalia is starting to come up to give me nose-kisses. 

They still can get startled with sudden sounds or when friends come over, but even that is becoming easier for them to handle. 














It has been very important for me to continue to use the socialization tools which I have been using all along with them:  TTouch, Reiki, play, and often just sitting on the floor and hanging out with them.  Feeding them baby food off our fingers is also a great tool, as they will come right to us and even climb up on us to get to the food.  They are coming around for attention more and more, and emjoy hanging out near where I am.  For example, as I type this, Natalia is sleeping on the floor right near the computer chair.  Yesterday when I was in my art studio, Emmylou was watching me through the glass-paned doors that separate the living room from the studio.

Calm music is also wonderful for keeping the environment very peaceful.















Play is also a very important way to connect with the cats and to let loose any tension, and these two really love to tear around.  What a pleasure it is to see them chase a toy or each other around the apartment!  They also have a cat tunnel, which is fun for them to play in, as well as a place they can hide if someone comes over and they want to hang out in there.

When friends come over, the girls may initially go up to the platform bed and watch us from there, but sometimes they come down in the living room, especially if we give them treats, which we always do.  We are starting to let others try giving them the baby food off their finger as well, which works really well, as it gets them accustomed to being in closer proximity to other people and having something nice happen (the baby food treat!).  Others are starting to be able to pet them a bit too.

I am so grateful to have these two special creatures in my life every day.  They both have such a sweet, gentle nature, and it is so lovely to see them stretch out and feel like they are truly at home. xo

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Adventures of Emmylou and Natalia: We Are Home

 
 
 
Emmylou and Natalia are the two lovely cats who I adopted in mid-July from BARC Shelter, where I volunteer.  They had been brought in as ferals, so I did a slow and very gradual process of acclimation when I brought them home, using a kitty condo, TTouch, Reiki, Bach Flower remedies, other techniques and, perhaps most importantly, a lot of love and patience and being mindful of what they were ready to do at any given time.  To read more about the process, please check out some of my previous posts about them.

They have been continuing to make progress every day, which is beautiful to see.  Hurricane Sandy presented a big challenge for them, as being in the dark for five days straight was very hard.  We had little battery-powered lights and flashlights, but still it was awfully dark!  I spent a lot of time with them, playing with them to get out the nervous feelings and to keep them warm, as it got cold in here.  I also did quite a lot of Reiki and TTouch with them, and had made Bach Flower remedies for them (they each need a different blend) before the storm hit, so all of these things did help.  I'm sure they also picked up on our energy while we were in the dark, so we did the best we could to keep on an even keel, which was a challenge for us as well. Still, they were clearly delighted when the lights and heat came back on!

And since Friday (it is now Thursday), when the lights came back on, it took a little bit to get back to the comfort level where they were before the storm, but I think they're there now, and perhaps even a bit past it.  They are now fully out in the apartment (they have been for some time).  We keep the cage around, with the doors open, so they can go in there if something like a noise in the hall scares them.  And when we feed them, Emmylou seems to like being fed in the cage, whereas Natalia will eat just outside the cage.  There are two litter boxes, one in the cage and oue in the bathtub.  Both boxes are being used. 

What I want to get to, though, is to try to communicate to you what I feel from them, which is that I feel them more and more to be truly at ease in the apartment, as though they realize for real that this is their home - that it is a safe and comfortable place, a place where they are loved, a place where they can play and rest and eat and enjoy, that this is their place.  One of the many great things about doing the very gradual acclimation using the condo is that they really don't hide except perhaps temporarily if someone new comes in the apartment, and that even is beginning to change.  Most often if someone new comes in, they may go up on the platform bed and peer down.  Sometimes Emmylou will go underneath her cat bed temporarily, til she feels comfortable.  But with us they are completely at ease, and love to follow me around and see what I'm up to, sometimes waiting outside the bathroom for me :)  Emmylou is getting more used to me picking her up, and I think soon Natalia will be ready to try that as well.  They both are more and more affectionate with me each day, coming to the door when I get back home and waiting for me to sit on the floor with them for some TTouch, Reiki, or play.














They love to sit in their cat tree by the window and watch the birds, squirrels, leaves, everything moving.  They love playing with us and with each other, chasing and wresting around.  They are very bonded with each other and will most often lie either side by side or curled up with each other. 

It is such a beautiful thing to see and feel them comfortable and at ease here.  I often tell them how happy we are to have them here, and do feel that it was just meant to be that they came to live in our apartment.  And every day I look forward to a new little adventure with them as we all learn from each other.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Balance and Change in a Multi-Cat Household: Peanut, Rocky and Mushroom











Above:  Peanut
Most cats find changes in the household difficult, so it often will take some strategizing, and sometimes approaching from a few different directions to help deal with the stresses of a new situation.  TTouch., Reiki and Bach Flower remedies can often be of great help in creating a more harmonious atmosphere.
Dominque called me because one of her cats, Peanut, is very stressed.  In the past months, a new cat and a new human baby have come into the household, so that is quite a lot of change.  The new kitty is a playful little youngster (about 4-5 months old) named Rocky.  Peanut had been attacking Rocky often, sometimes quite aggressively.  Peanut pretty much ignores the baby, but I'm sure there are many changes in the routine, etc. of the household as a result of the baby's presence that Peanut is feeling. 
Peanut has also had an ongoing issue that has gone on for years with peeing and sometimes pooping outside of the box.  Dominque has had Peanut checked out regularly by the vet and it has been determined that there is not a medical issue causing this.  The vet had recently prescribed Prozac and when I first met with the gang, she said that so far the Prozac didn't seem to be having any effect on Peanut.
There is a third cat in the household, Mushroom. who has been in the household for some time (Peanut was the first, then Mushroom, then Rocky).  Mushroom and Peanut do tussle sometimes, but Dominique was not so worried about these fights, as they did not seem so serious or scary.
Dominique has been doing her best to try to help, and had tried a variety of things to try to calm the atmosphere and help the situation before she calle me, but nothing was working as well as she would like it to.  She was especially concerned about the ongoing attacks on Rocky by Peanut.  They had been keeping Rocky separate from Peanut for quite a while but were finding it harder and harder to do.  They do keep an eye on the cats so they can separate them if they start to fight.
I spent the first appointment doing TTouches with Peanut and showing Dominique how to do the TTouches so she would be able to do them as well.  Peanut was very receptive to the TTouches and Dominique picked them up very well.   Usually Reiki is flowing through my TTouches but sometimes I will stop the TTouches to just let the Reiki flow on its own, as I did during part of this appointment, and I felt that Peanut was able to reach an even deeper level of calm while doing this.  Peanut is a very intense cat, and as I felt the Reiki flowing, I felt her letting go in a very deep way, as though she had been holding some of this tension for quite a while.  It was lovely to see her stretch out and really relax.
We also tried the Thundershirt with Peanut.  I don't suggest the Thundershirt for every cat, as some cats are so stressed by having the shirt put on that it is not worth it.  Cats are not used to having clothing put on their bodies.  But Peanut was very cooperative, and was calmed by the Thundershirt.  She did temporarily seem to lose control of her back legs, probably because this was such a new feeling for her.  It is good to get the cat moving by offering treats, etc, so it doesn't feel frozen when the Thundershirt is on, especially for the first time.  And it is also good to introduce the shirt in steps, if possible - first you can offer a treat to the cat on the shirt, then drape it over the back of the cat, then wrap it part way around them, then all the way around.  Dominique decided to keep the Thundershirt and continue to use it with Peanut.
For subsequent sessions, we decided to focus on Reiki, and Dominique could work with Peanut and the gang with TTouches on her own.  I suggested that she and her husband simultaneously work on two cats at a time, especially Peanut and Rocky.  I also made Bach Flower Remedies for all three cats, to help to encourage more harmony in the dynamics between the three cats.
After the first Reiki appointment, Dominique said things were getting better, Peanut was fighting with Rocky less, peeing somewhat less too.  But the peeing has been going on for a very long time, so I would expect a long-time pattern of behavior to take longer to subside. 
In addition to what we were already doing, I explained to Dominique the importance of positive visualization.  When our pets get into an unwanted pattern of behavior, we most often keep picturing that behavior, instead of the preferred behavior.  In this case, some positive images could be seeing Peanut and Rocky playing or sleeping near each other peacefully, or Peanut peeing in the litter box .
During the second Reiki session, I began to send Reiki to Peanut when she was on the floor, then Dominique brought Peanut up on the couch.  Peanut then began to really settle into the Reiki.  At one point Dominique left the room with the baby.  I was not sure how Peanut would react to this, but she continued to settle even further into the Reiki energy, stretching out on her side.  She fell asleep, then turned over on other side, placing body in my hands.  Initially she had been hesitant for me to have my hands directly on her, as the energy can be very intense, but once she began to relax, she was completely comfortable with my hands resting on her body lightly.  Peanut is a very intense cat, so it was so sweet to see her really let go.  Almost exactly an hour later, Peanut just stood up and very gracefully walked away, as if to say she was done with the session. 
 









Above:  Rocky
While I was offering Reiki to Peanut, I didn't see what was going on behind my back.  After Peanut got up, I realized that Rocky was asleep on the other side of me, and Mushroom was also napping.

 









Above:  Mushroom
At some point while I was working with Peanut, Mushroom had started to meow to ask to go out in the back yard, but then had quieted down as the Reiki session continued.  And it was lovely to see that Rocky was sleeping peacefully in such close proximity to Peanut.
The following week, Dominique said that things were getting better in general.  Peanut was being nicer to Rocky. She said she was no longer afraid was that Peanut was going to hurt Rocky, and that Rocky wasn't terrified of Peanut any more.  I was so glad to hear this, as this was a substantial positive shift in a short time.  What she said to me also helped confirm to me that the Bach Flower remedies were most likely helping the shift in this dynamic, as I had taken into consideration Rocky's fear of Peanut as well as Peanut's reactive behavior towards Rocky when making the remedies (and, of course, Mushroom's issues as well when making her remedy). 
There was a time while I was working with the cats in this session when Peanut briefly went after Rocky, but this time Rocky had started it, swatting at Peanut’s switching tail.
During this session, Peanut settled into hands-on reiki for about 25 minutes.  Then she got up to wander around a bit.  Then she settled into the Reiki just for a short bit, then would walk away, then settle for a bit more, then walk away.  This time Dominique had left the room but, unlike the other time, I think Peanut may have been wondering what she was up to in the other room. I thought perhaps she needed a break, and needed to feel that I wasn't forcing the energy on her, so I decided at that point to let her wander where she chose to go and work with Rocky for a while.  Peanut went downstairs, and Rocky settled right into the Reiki and curled up for a nap.  Suddenly I noticed Peanut had come back into the room, so I just started sending her Reiki from where I was.  Cats are very sensitive, so it is often most beneficial to start sending the Reiki energy from a distance. 

After a while, Peanut began to settle several feet from where I was sitting.  As I continued to send her Reiki, always telling her she could take as much or as little as she wanted, she settled down more and more, stretched out and laid her head down.  By  the time I finished the session, again all three cats and the human baby were all relaxed and very quiet.
Reiki can really affect the whole atmosphere, even when you are focusing on sending it to one being.  And that is always a good thing!!  And it is very important to remember to be patient and sensitive to what an animal is ready to do, as that can so often change from moment to moment or session to session.
All in all, I think wonderful progress is being made in the household so thank you Peanut, Dominique and the rest of the gang for your love, trust and cooperation in the adventure of trying new things.  I look forward to seeing you soon.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Adventures of Emmylou and Natalia: More at Ease Each Day














Emmylou and Natalia are two cats I recently adopted from BARC Shelter.  They were brought in as ferals some months ago, and were socialized to a certain degree while at the shelter, but getting acclimated to an apartment has been a whole other journey, as has been feeling comfortable with contact with people when outside the cage.  We have been going through a very gradual, slow process of acclimation with them -- starting out by using a Kitty Condo (multi-level cage with wheels), eventually wheeling it to different parts of the apartment, then getting the girls used to being out of the cage.  That's a very quick summary of what has been quite a journey!
Now they are out of the cage nearly all the time, just being put in the cage (lured back into the condo with food or treats) for meals.  They are getting more and more comfortable with us TTouching and petting them when they are out of the cage, and are so connected with each other - playing together, cuddling together, cleaning each other - so sweet!














Our most recent changes have been to give them access to the whole apartment even when we are out, and having them out of the condo at night.  We introduced them to the larger space of the living room/kitchen/bathroom very slowly, first within the condo, then letting them explore for short periods of time, then longer periods of time, etc.  So by the time we felt they were ready for unsupervised access to the area, they were quire acclimated to it, so it didn't feel like a big change.
Before giving them unsupervised access to any area, we did what we could to "cat-proof" it, which is a bit like baby-proofing - putting anything dangerous to cats away, getting most fragile items out of acccess, and we bought plastic boxes called "Mommy's Little Helper Power Strip Safety Covers", because since the cats walk all over the place, this would keep them from stepping on the switch on these strips, etc.  Luckily we haven't seen them chew on electric cords, but that is something to keep an eye out for, especially with feral cats.  I also placed night lights in a few places, so the night environment would not be completely dark.  I think that having a little light has helped them to feel more safe, as everything looks different in the dark, which can be a bit scary for them at first.
The first night with them out of the cage was a little scary for us, as well as for them, but they did very well. They managed to hunt down a water bug, also got in plenty of playtime as well as some rest.  They didn't go crazy knocking things over - they seem to be very polite in that way so far:)  The first few nights we kept them enclosed in the bedroom, so they would get used to the night in a smaller space, then we began to let them out into the rest of the space at night.  It has been a week of that now, and they are getting more comfortable each night.  Last night they realized that the couch is very comfortable, and were resting there part of the night.  They had been avoiding the couch before that.  A similar progression happened quite a ways back with the bed/ When we first started letting them out of the cage, they were very hesitant to go up to the platform bed.  Then one day they began running up and down the stairs over and over.  The next day they spent a good while up on the bed relaxing. Once again, I can't tell you how interesting this whole process is!

We are still very careful to walk quietly past them, as they are still a little scared of feet walking close to them.  Emmylou is pretty comfortable with it now, but Natalia will sometimes scurry away, though we have made some wonderful breakthroughs with Natalia in the past few days.  Sometimes when I first let the girls out of the condo, or return home from being out, Natalia will come out to greet me and, when I slowly crouch down to pet and TTouch her, sometimes she will relax into the touch intead of running away. 













Also, when she is in her cozy place up on the platform bed, she will really relax into TTouch and Reiki (Natalia, right above, receiving TTouch.











Emmylou (above left) has been very comfortable with me TTouching her outside of the cage for a while now, and is starting to be more comfortable with that with my partner as well.  For some reason, she can get a bit more skittish about receiving touch when she is up on the bed, but little by little she has been getting used to that as well, as you can see by the above photo. 













Yesterday I actually ended up taking a nap with the two girls up on the bed, which was so sweet.  When I first got up on the bed, both cats were up there and Emmylou scurried off the bed, running down the stairs and lying down by the cage.  I continued with a relaxed attitude, curling up towards the head of the bed (Natalia was at the foot) and moving away from the stairs up to the bed.  Eventually Emmylou came up the stairs again, peeked, and couldn't resist the coziness.  After a few minutes, she jumped back up on the bed and settled down right next to Natalia.  It wasn't long before all three of us were asleep :)
Much love, Natalia and Emmylou, we are so happy to have you with us in our home, and you are teaching us so much every day.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Adventures of Emmylou and Natalia: Discovering the Comfort of the Bed












Emmylou and Natalia are two feral cats who we adopted from BARC shelter recently.  They are doing great and getting used to the apartment in a very gradual, gentle way.  We had them in a cage for a couple of weeks, began to let them out gradually into the smallest room, the bedroom, and now they are in the process of getting used to the larger section of the apartment, the living room/kitchen/bathroom.
It is wonderful to see their progress, and to observe that it really makes a difference to take everything with them in small steps.  In the bedroom, they were very comfortable quickly with the area they had seen a lot in the cage, which is on the floor of the bedroom, but they were not so comfortable at first going up the stairs to the platform bed in there. Every once in a while they would slowly go up the stairs and peek at the bed and then run back down.  Little by little, they discovered that they could see out the window if they sat on the stairs, so that was appealing.  Then one day they started running up and down the stairs to the bed over and over.  Soon after that, I noticed that after they finished a play session, or if I left the apartment, they would go up to the bed and stretch out for a nap.  They often groom each other as well, which is so sweet!










At first they would run back down if I started to climb the stairs to the bed, but little by little they have gotten used to that.  I want them to know that it is fine for them to be up there, so I tell them that in a very calming voice.  I wanted to start to connect with them when they are up there, so what I have started to do is to have most of myself on the stairs, just rest my head and arms on the bed, talking to them in a calm voice, and sending Reiki to them as I do this.  They have started to relax into this process. 
Natalia is most often near the edge of the bed, so it is tempting to want to reach out and touch her, but I don't want to scare her away, so I have been resisting this impulse for now.  Intead, I send Reiki to both of them from where I am, and sometimes do air TTouches (do the circular TTouches in the air), speaking to them in a soft, comforting voice.











These girls are teaching me so much every day, and I am so happy to have them in my home :)  It is truly a humbling and beautiful experience getting closer to them every day.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Emmylou's New Adventure: A Gentle Way to Introduce a Cat to Being Picked Up



















Emmylou is one of the two wonderful feral cats who I adopted from BARC shelter in mid-July.  We have been getting them acclimated to the apartment, and to us, very gently and gradually, and they are doing great!
We started them out in a large kitty condo (multilevel cage on wheels) and now they are mostly out of the condo.  Emmylou is more comfortable being touched out of the cage than Natalia, so we are respecting where they each are and nudging each one along at their own pace. 
I wanted to share what I have been doing with Emmylou, which is a very gradual sequence in which eventually you can pick the cat up.
With both cats, we are using baby food to help with socialization.  You let the cat lick baby food off your finger, which is a great way to get the cat used to coming to you and being touched.  After a while you can pet or TTouch the cat while she is licking the food off your finger.  With Emmylou I found that after a while, I could do little TTouch belly lifts while she was licking the food off.  Actually it was sort of a modified belly lift, combining little circular TTouches, strokes and a little bit of a lift, all done fairly quickly as she licked the food off my finger.
Now for the next part of the process.  When I come into the bedroom, Emmylou most often comes up to me, rubbing against me, and I do little abalone, lying llama or llama TTouches on her sides.  To add to this, I would at times put both hands under her stomach and just lift up a bit, not lifting her off the ground at first.  Little by little, I would just put both hands under her stomach and lift her maybe an inch off the ground, once or twice and then just let her go.  This way, the lifting just becomes part of a TTouch or petting ritual and doesn't seem like a big deal.  Gradually I have been able to lift her further and further up off the ground. 
I'm not at the point of lifting her all the way up to my body yet, but at this point I am able to lift her a couple of feet off the ground at least, which is great progress, and the only time she has had a reaction of any kind is if I try to do it too many times, and even then, she just sort of turns her head around to me as if to tell me that's enough!
Thank you Emmylou, you are doing great! and I'm sure your sister Natalia will be along with this in due course.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Emmylou and Natalia: Slow and Steady Does It!



Above:  Natalia (below) and Emmylou's leg is visible upper right
Emmylou and Natalia are two wonderful cats who were brought into BARC last December as ferals - and I brought them into my home around mid-July.  An apartment is a completely new environment for them, so we are letting them become acclimated in a very slow and gradual way.  For the first 2-3 weeks, we had them in a Kitty Condo - a large, multi-level cage on wheels.  This is convenient because it can be wheeled around to different places in the apartment and they can still feel safe in the smaller environment of the cage.  Then we gradually started opening the cage and letting them into the bedroom.  Now we leave the cage open all day in the bedroom for them to come and go as they please (except at night, when they sleep in the cage - once they are completely loose in the apt, we will leave the door open at night too), and they have been spending more and more time outside the cage.  In another week or so we will start letting them into the larger space of the living room/kitchen, so by that time they will be quite comfortable outside the cage and not be so intimidated by the larger space.  The larger space is visible from the bedroom cause there is only a big screen door separating the spaces.  We have also been taking them into the living room in the cage from time to time so they can see more of that space before we get ready to let them loose into the space.








 
Above:  Emmylou resting after a vigorous play session
Right now, I am typing this and the girls are in their condo which is right next to me in the living room.  Initially they were still scared when I first wheeled them in here, but after some TTouch, and speaking to them in a calm voice, explaining to them that everything was all right, that I was bringing them in here so they can see the space first and be safe in the cage, that soon they would be able to come in here and play, etc, they began to calm down.  They respond so much to the tone of my voice.  I also have very calm music playing throughout the day.... sometimes it is jazz, sometimes classical, sometimes new-age music.  So all of that combined with TTouch, Reiki, interactive play, good food, treats, and lots of love, has been having such a profound affect on these kitties.  At thie moment, they have both fallen asleep in the cage. 
They also respond so much to whatever is going on with us, so it is important for me to handle my own stress as best I can :)
Above:  Emmylou playing with a feather toy
Interactive play is so important with these two, it can help them to get out of a scared mode very quickly.  It is also a non-threatening way to connect with a cat who may be too scared to be touched right away.  Natalia is still more skittish when she is out of the cage, so I will often play with her initially, and possibly later on when she is relaxing, I can make contact with her.  If not, then I do connect with her in the cage.  Emmylou is generally very eager for contact with me outside the cage.  When I enter the bedroom, she comes right up to me and I start out with llama TTouches (circular TTouches with the back of the hand), then work into other TTouches as she walks back and forth, rubbing against me.  Natalia often comes to the door as well, but is not quite ready for immediate contact.  I do make a point to talk to both of them when I am doing this so that Natalia does not feel left out.






Above:  Reiki with Natalia
 Reiki is an especially lovely way to connect with Natalia, as she is very shy and sensitive. I can start out with hands off and then start to move closer, watching her response.  It is lovely to see her with such a peaceful expression, as in this photo. 
I learn so much from these cats every day.  I am constantly reminded to slow down and feel where they are, what they are ready to do.  Of course, I do nudge them with new challenges as well, so it is a delicate balance between nudging them forward, and being sensitive about what they are ready to handle.
Something that has worked so well with this slow acclimation process is that they are not hiding when they come out.  They are so used to us sitting in close proximity to them when they are within the cage, that they are very comfortable with us sitting just inches away. 
These girls are progressing every single day, and it is such a joy to have them in my life.  Each day is a new learning adventure for all of us, and I feel us bonding more with each passing day. xo

 
 






Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Connecting with Krishna: Making Contact











Yesterday I went to work with Krishna.  He is a beautiful, very smart cat who I have been working with off and on for quite a while.  He is fearful of people other than his guardians Rebecca and Tim, but over time my connection with him has gotten closer and closer.  I have worked with him with a combination of Reiki, TTouch, and Bach Flower remedies, and have also found that interacting with him through play is another non-threatening way to connect with him. 
I hadn't seen him in a couple of months.  When I entered the apartment, he was in another room at first but Rebecca coaxed him out.  I lowered myself into a squatting type of position.  He slowly came up to me to sniff me.  I stayed very still, and if he tried to engage me in a stare, I softened my eyes and turned away a bit, so he wouldn't feel that I'm a threat.  He settled a short distance from me.
First I did some TTouches, just very gentle little circles and strokes, just a couple at a time, using a very soft paintbrush, similar to a long-handled makeup brush, that he had responded to well in the past few sessions.
Again, as he has before, he rolled around as though he had just had some catnip.  I have seen one or two other cats do this when they rub their face on the soft brush.  I'm not sure whether it is something about the smell, the texture, or what, but it seems to be comforting.  While he was rolling around, he seemed very unconcerned that he was within inches of me.  At a couple of points he stopped, his eyes getting very big and looking at me - and again, I softened my eyes and turned away so as not to lock into a stare.  This generally helps to avert him getting scared and meowing or swatting.
At that point, I began to offer him Reiki energy (of course, telling him silently that he need only take as much or as little energy as he would like) .  I was about a foot away, sitting on the floor.  As the energy began to flow, I felt him begin to pull it in, very strongly, as though he were pulling it into his body.  He relaxed, laying down with one of his rear legs stretched out, eventually laying his head down and going to sleep for a while.
After a long while, he got up, went to his bed, and curled up there.  I began to offer him Reiki again, and he was very calm, resting with his head down and his eyes closed.  I moved closer to him slowly and quietly. and began to do circular TTouches and strokes all around his head with the soft paintbrush.  He completely settled into the TTouches.
Just having this much contact with him really was a lot, but after a bit, I decided to nudge a bit further in a very gentle way, to see what could happen.  Little by little I moved my pinky finger next to where the brush was touching his skin, incorporating it into the TTouches, giving breaks every so often to allow him to process the work, and to observe what his reaction was. 
He continued to be completely at ease, just as at ease as he was with the brush.  Then, little by little, I began to TTouch him directly with my hand without the paintbrush at all. 
He remained completely relaxed, still with his head down, completely relaxing into it.  I had to continue to check in on myself too, to make sure I continued to be relaxed.  This is the most direct contact I have had with Krishna.  We felt completely in synch with each other.  I would pause every so often and take my hands off him, to see what his reaction was, and then start again.  It is really important to give breaks to the animal, and to give yourself a chance to feel what's happening and decide whether to stop or continue.  When I felt it was enough, I slowly moved my hands away and gently moved away from him.  At that point, he lifted his head up and looked at me, but not with a frozen, frightened stare - with a much softer, more relaxed look.
I was reminded once again that it is so important to let go of our expectations when we are working with an animal - to simply be in the moment with the animal ... and it is in that moment of connection that the most amazing things can happen...
Thank you Krishna - and I look forward to seeing you again this weekend :)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Emmylou and Natalia Start to Explore the Apartment


 



 



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
(Above, TTouching Emmylou outside the cage)
Emmylou and Natalia are two sweet kitties who I adopted from BARC Shelter (where I volunteer). They came into the shelter as ferals in December. They are getting more confident every day, but I am acclimating them to my apartment very gradually. I am using a kitty condo, which is a large multi-level cage on wheels. Lately I have started to let the girls out of the cage for play and socialization - at first for just about an hour, and now for longer periods, and sometimes a couple of periods during the day. I am keeping the door to the bedroom closed, but the door is a large screen door so they are able to see what it going on in other parts of the apartment.
They were both excited and scared to be out at first, but the excitement is increasing and the scaredness is decreasing as they get used to being out of the cage. 
It is a joy to see them tear back and forth in the apartment and leap and jump without restriction.  I have set up a little playground for them in the bedroom, with scratching post and pads, toys, a long kitty tunnel, etc.  They especially love playing in the tunnel, which has a crinkly sound to it (which scared them at first but now they are used to it) and a hole on the side in the middle of it so they can play with each other while in the tunnel.
These two love each other and it is very sweet to see them tumble and play with each other.
Below you see them on the stairs which go up to our platform bed.  They have only ventured up to the bed briefly, but I'm sure that will be explored more as they are out more.
 
After they wear each other out playing, they will stretch out on the floor, in the tunnel or in a little space under the staircase.  When they do this, I will feed them some baby food off my finger, petting and TTouching them as they lick it off.  At times they are comfortable with me TTouching them without the food, but other times they will initially move away.  The more they get used to being out of the cage, the more they are getting used to being touched outside the cage as well.  The good thing is that when they are feeling like they want to run for cover, they simply go back into the cage instead of burrowing into some tiny place in the apartment. 







 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Emmylou is pictured below, stretching out near the chest of drawers, a little bit wondering what is going on, but curious too!
Natalia is caught in midair below as she plays.  In the background you can see the bottom of the kitty condo.
 

 
Below, I am TTouching Natalia, who is partially underneath a wavy scratching toy, which they use as a tunnel.  When she is out of the cage, often she is more comfortable being touched if she is partly in a more closed space, like this.
 
A few times I have brought them into the living room/kitchen within the condo, so they can start to get a feel for that space too, which is larger and has a lot more nooks, crannies and general busy feeling to it.  Once they are very comfortable with being out in the bedroom, I will start letting them out into this space as well, but that is a ways down the road. 
It is interesting, most often after they are back in the cage for a while again, they are very affectionate and comfortable with me and in general.  The slow, gradual approach seems to agree with them.  It is an interesting balance.  Each day I am trying to challenge them in new ways, but also want to reinforce their feeling of well-being and safety, which are of such ultimate importance.  They are teaching me so much every day!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A New Adventure Begins: Emmylou and Natalia



I haven't posted for quite a while, it has been an intense time, to say the least!  First was the adjustment to Garbanzo being gone, which has been huge, and of course I continue to miss him greatly.  I do feel him still with me in spirit, of course, and he is definitely guiding me in my next cat adventure, which began a few weeks ago.
This began sooner than I had expected, but sometimes life's twists and turns and momentum just have a pace all their own, and this adoption felt like it was just meant to be. 
Emmylou (above) and Natalia (below), formerly known as Griffin and Samantha, arrived in December 2011 at BARC shelter as feral cats.  Emmylou could not be touched at first, and Natalia was frightened but would allow petting fairly soon.  They were both quite fearful. 

I have done some earlier blog posts about these kitties, particularly Emmylou, which you can find if you search my blog for feral.  I began with a feather with Emmylou, first stroking parallel to her whiskers and down her front legs, then eventually on her head and body, then working up to touching her directly with my hands.  I started with a feather with Natalia at first as well, but soon found she was comfortable being touched directly. 
Over the past months, I worked a lot with these two, especially Emmylou, as she was more hesitant to be touched.   As they grew more comfortable, quite a few other volunteers were able to touch and pet them as well.  They are both quite gentle in nature, not aggressive at all, just timid.
When I brought these two home, I soon realized I would need to give these kitties a chance to acclimate to the apartment in a safe and gentle way.  I spoke to a couple of my friends who work a lot with feral cats and they kindly offered to lend me a kitty condo, which is a large cage with several levels, on wheels, so it can be moved around in the apartment.
This has turned out to be perfect, as the cats can be in an enclosed space larger than what they had at the shelter, with shelves that they can jump up and down on so they can get exercise.  And we can move the cage to different parts of thr apartment so that they can see them before going out to explore them.
I'm doing TTouch and Reiki with both cats every day, sometimes a very little bit at a time, other times in longer sessions.  I am also getting them to come to me by putting baby food on my finger, which they come and lick off.  As they got more comfortable with the baby food, I can pet or TTouch them as they are eating. 
Often my partner and I just sit outside of the cage, speaking to them or to each other, so they get used to having us close to them.
I began playing with them in the cage more and more, using string toys and feather toys and the like, and as they have gotten more comfortable, they now play with each other very often as well.  It has been so lovely to see them become more active and engaged, as well as more friendly.  They often will play and tumble with each other on their own, looking like kittens! 
And, the past week, we have done longer and longer play sessions with the cats outside of the cage, with the large screen door to the bedroom closed.  It is an absolute joy to see them tear around in the room and tumble and play.  And every day we are able to have more and more contact with them outside of the cage, though it will take a while to gain the same truat that they have when they are inside of the cage.  We also are using baby food to get them to come to us when they are outside of the cage, having them lick it off our fingers.  And each time I have them out of the cage, I am able to do a little more TTouch with them without them running away.
One of the lovely things about this slow and gradual acclimation is that now when they are out of the cage, they are not burrowing underneath or behind furniture, but stay out to play or rest, and go back into the cage when they want to.
Now that I've given you a hugely condensed version of what's been happening, I will try to do some more detailed ongoing blog posts to let you know what's going on as these sweet cats continue to become more acclimated...... It is such a pleasure to have them in my home,  and I feel that Garbanzo must be happy that I have taken in two ferals, being that he was feral himself :)

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Garbanzo: R.I.P.













18 years ago, shortly after July 4th, I adopted Garbanzo. We started an amazing journey together. He was my companion and teacher, and helped lead me to learning about TTouch and Reiki and how to help other animals.  Garbanzo and I had a connection unlike any that I have had.  We went through so much together and, together with my partner Jeffrey, we had such a beautiful life together.
It was with such great difficulty that we finally came to the decision a few days ago that it was time to say goodbye, but he had been on a roller coaster with hyperthyroidism and pancreatitis, and last weekend took a sharp turn for the worse.  He gave us clear signs that he had had enough, that his body was shutting down and that he would have been suffering a great deal if we did not let him go.
It has been a terrible loss, but our beautiful connection lives on, and will forever.  Following is a letter I am sending to him with my heart.








Dear Garbanzo:
It feels strange to write a eulogy for you because I know that, though you are no longer with me on the physical plane, you will be with me in spirit forever. When I close my eyes I can feel you near me, as though I'm holding you close to me, and other times I feel you literally inside my heart.  I know you are with me as I work with the animals, guiding me.
I thank you so much for all that you have taught me, and all the love that you have given to me.  I am so blessed that we were able to find each other, so honored that you trusted me enough to connect to me. 

I know you had a rough start on the streets of Brooklyn and that it was tough to trust any person.
You taught me how quiet I need to be in order to connect with a fearful animal -- how quiet and how truly in the moment, so that we can both find that beautiful moment of pure connection, where everything else in the world disappears. 
You taught me how to respect where an animal is, rather than coming to them with a pre-conceived notion of what should or shouldn't happen. 
You taught me to open my heart and feel what can happen when you truly let go of expectations - that when you can do that, more is possible than you ever dreamed of.
You taught me to be sensitive of how much time was enough contact, and how precious even those small moments can be.
You taught me to be patient and forgiving with both you and with myself.
You confirmed to me that love and understanding and flexibility of mind, along with use of many tools within this mindset, can help an animal to be able to change even very challenging behavior.
You guided me to my path of working with animals, and taught me so much about how to help them.
You brought me so much laughter, too - you are so intelligent, you always were surprising me with something new you would do, or a sign you would give me that you felt and observed every little change that would happen in our environment. 
It was so beautiful to feel how our connection developed during our life together - as you began to trust and know my touch, and then to experience how completely connected we became over time.  Though you retained your wild spirit (which I wouldn't have had you give up for the world), you were able to let your guard down with me more and more.  As I began training in TTouch and Reiki, we felt an even deeper connection, eventually feeling our energies merge in a connection of such pure love.  You knew I was coming home before I got there, and I would often feel when something was happening with you. 











I am grateful that we were able to spend so many years together, and that we were able to spend most of your last two days on earth together, sharing Reiki energy, TTouch and love, giving me a real chance to tell you how much love I have for you, and how I treasure our connection.
I love you forever, dear Garbanzo.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Connecting with Krishna, Closer and Closer

When I am working with animals, I always try to be sensitive to what they are comfortable with, and work from there.  There are times when it is good to give a little nudge so that they can try something new, but it is good to first find what makes them feel safe and at ease, rather than having a pre-conceived notion of what you would like to have happen.  What happened today may seem rather subtle to the reader, but for this cat I believe it was a huge step.
Today I went to work with Krishna, a stunning black kitty who is generally fearful of those other than his human caretakers, particularly his human "mommy" Rebecca.  However, over the time I have worked with him, we have developed a lovely connection.  He is still very shy though, so I have to be very sensitive to what he is comfortable with at any given moment.
I hadn't seen him in a while, and, as I always try to do, I began sending him Reiki energy as I was on my way there, feeling the connection with him and picturing him responding in a positive way. 
When I arrived, he came right up to me.  I slowly went down on a knee to be closer to his level, and he put his nose right on my hand.  The least movement can startle him, so I stayed very still, speaking to him in a very calm, soft voice, telling him I had missed him so much and was so happy to see him. This was the boldest greeting that I have ever received from him.  I feel so especially honored when such a shy kitty feels comfortable enough to let down their guard to connect with me.
Since our last appointment, Rebecca and Krishna had a session with my friend and colleague, Eileen Garfinkel (http://dreamsofamelia.com), who is a fantastic animal communicator.  One of the things Eileen had picked up from Krishna was that he would like Rebecca to let go of what her expectations of him were.  And it had seemed that often I have been able to achieve a closer connection with Krishna when she is not present - possibly he felt some pressure from her or maybe just was more interested in connecting with her than with me.  So we decided it would be beneficial for her to leave the apartment for at least half the session.
After she left, I sat down a few feet away from Krishna, sending him Reiki all the while.  I brought out a very soft paintbrush that he had responded to in the past, and, as he had done previously, he immediately sniffed it and then began rolling around, rubbing himself against it.  I was not even holding on to the handle of the brush, just letting him experience the brush.  In doing this, he was practically touching me, and suddenly he got scared and and hissed and swatted me and ran way from me for a minute. 
But it was just a moment for him of being scared.  He didn't run in the bedroom to hide, which is where he will go if he is very afraid.  Instead he remained in the living room, and got in his cat bed, which feels like a safe place.  I went and sat on the couch near where he was, and continued to send him Reiki energy.  I could see him start to relax, his eyes getting a bit droopy.  After a while, I sat down on the floor near him and got a bit closer.  He relaxed more and more, came out of the bed and began getting closer.  When I put out the soft brush again, he rubbed against it and rolled on his back, very comfortable and looking right at me.  So sweet!  I resisted the temptation to try to hold the other end of the brush and touch him, I just wanted him to be cozy being near me.  After this, he laid down near me and, as I continued to send Reiki, he started to lay down and put his head down.
Just a few moments after this, Rebecca returned and sat on the floor near where we were.  Krishna wanted to interact with her, so they did for a little bit, then she stopped and he came over near where I was again.  I was continually sending Reiki during this time, so again, he began to get comfortable.  I did try touching him with a couple of different paintbrushes, but I could see by his reaction that the best thing to do for this session was to continue with the Reiki energy and see what could happen.  I tried to very much keep in mind what Eileen had said about allowing Krishna to be who he was and not push him too much.  He got more and more calm and ended up laying down just inches away from me, actually facing away from me.
This felt like wonderful progress - first of all, it was amazing how close he was to me and had his guard completely down.  Also, when he is nervous, he faces me direectly and stares with huge open eyes at me, so the fact that he was comfortable facing away from me was interesting as well.  We stayed this way for quite a while, and I continued to send Reiki to him, imagining the energy relaxing him, filling him with light, releasing any worries from the past or present.  I could feel him pulling the energy from my hands. 
Sometimes when we can really let go of our expectations are when these breakthrough moments are truly able to happen.
After I ended our Reiki session and slowly stood up, Krishna was looking at me, but not with a wide-eyed fearful look - much more of a centered, grounded, relaxed presence.  It was lovely to see him feeling so at ease.
Thank you so much Krishna - you teach me every time I work with you.  Look forward to seeing you soon...

Friday, June 1, 2012

Yankee, RIP

I am constantly reminded of how special BARC shelter in Brooklyn really is.  The people who run it have huge hearts and open their hearts and doors to so many animals who would not have a chance otherwise.
Yankee was a sweet dog who arrived at BARC Shelter around last July. He stayed up in the Cat Loft (the place where I volunteer at BARC) at BARC along with the cats, a few other smaller dogs, two pigeons and Marsha the chicken.  So I had the honor and pleasure of getting to know him.
He was unable to use his front legs, apparently because he had been left for a long time with the legs tied together.  He also had a problem with his heart. 
Yet, though he had been through so much, he had such an amazing and sweet spirit that he touched all who knew him.  The staff and volunteers at the shelter spent a lot of time with him and gave him so much love.  Donations made it possible to get him a special wheelchair so it was easier for him to get around.  He could really speed around on the wheelchair, and it took pressure off the rest of his body which was trying to compensate for the front legs not working.  He generally seemed very chipper when he was in the wheelchair.
Below: Yankee in his wheelchair












Several months after he arrived, a little white poodle named Rain arrived at the shelter.  Rain is unable to use her back legs, as she was bred too many times.  Yet Rain has a sweet and spunky spirit and manages to get around very well despite her condition. 
It didn't take too long before these two animals became inextricably connected with each other, and they were near each other all the time. 


Below: Rain with Yankee

















Recently, Yankee's health began to decline.  He seemed to start having more stomach upsets, and not long after that, he got kennel cough, which was very hard for him on top of his other issues.
Rain was right at his side the whole time. And Marsha the chicken, who often hung out near Yankee and Rain, often also would sat next to them at this point too, as if she knew that Yankee was not well.

Below, Yankee in the middle, Rain upper right and Marsha lower left.

And of course, the BARC staff and volunteers, who always gave much love and care to Yankee, spent time with him. During most of Yankee's time there, Colin was the Cat Loft person and did so much to help Yankee feel comfortable and happy, as well as loved.  And when Jayne took over his position recently, she did all she could as well.  And of course BARC gave him the medical care he needed, but finally there was not much more that they could do. 
During Yankee's time at the shelter, I had done quite a few TTouch or Reiki sessions with Yankee, during which time I would usually have Rain on my lap.  And when his health began to take a nose dive, I did a couple of extra-long Reiki sessions with him at that time.  I could feel he was having a very rough time of it.  His breathing was getting labored and I could feel his life force was diminishing.  But I did feel that in the moment the Reiki energy relaxed his body so that I could feel him breathing more deeply than he had before, and I could feel him really absorbing the energy.  Last Friday, when I left, though I knew he was in rough condition, he did seem more peaceful to me.  Of course, my wishful thinking was hoping somehow he could get through this.....
Saturday when I arrived at the shelter, I heard that Tony and Vinny, the shelter owners, had taken Yankee and Rain to their apartment.  And at about 2:30, sadly we were informed that Yankee had passed on. 
Everyone was so so sad, this was a huge loss.This small dog was such a huge presence in the shelter and in everyone's hearts.  And of course for Rain and some of the other animals who were close to him, it will be a huge adjustment and certainly a grieving period. 
However, of course, there was relief as well, knowing that he was no longer in pain and discomfort.  I picture him running effortlessly, with all four legs going and his ears flying in the wind. 
Thank you Yankee, for teaching us all so much about love, forgiveness and strength of spirit.  You gave us all so much.  And thank you to all who did so much for this sweet creature.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Going with the Flow with Georgie

Georgie is a gorgeous 12 yr old orange tabby kitty who I had the pleasure to meet last Sunday.  Her caretaker, Rachel, had contacted me Georgie has been vomiting just about every day for about four years.  Rachel has taken Georgie to two vets and had weeks of tests done, but nothing conclusive had been found, though she is being given a special diet because there was a possibility of her having IBD.
Apparently she is retaining some nutrition, as she maintains a healthy weight, but of course it is still worrisome to see her do this, to say the least.
Rachel consulted an animal communicator, who told her that Georgie is manifesting her issues.  Rachel has been working on her own issues as well as doing everything she can to try to help Georgie.
I told Rachel that I thought our initial appointment would be best spent working with Georgie with TTouch and showing Rachel how to do some of the TTouches, so that she would be able to do the TTouches with Georgie every day.  That way, at the very least, both their stress levels could be brought down.  Of course, what would be wonderful to see over time would be a shift in Georgie's behavior.
There are two other cats in the household, Ginger, who is Georgie's sister (also an orange tabby, and is is rather rare for orange cats to be female), and Newie, who is a 6 year old male kitty.  Ginger is the shyest of the three, and Georgie is generally very friendly with people.
Rachel had come to meet me at the bus stop, and when we entered the apartment, we discovered that both Georgie and Newie were hiding under the bed, and Ginger, who is usually shy, came out to say hello to me!  Rachel thought it could be that Georgie was resistant to letting go of her behavior, and that Newie was there to support her.  We tried to encourage her to come out from underneath the bed, but she just went further under the bed.
Going with the flow of the moment, the next thing we tried was to have Rachel leave the room, and I sat on the floor next to the bed, sending Reiki energy to Georgie (and to Newie as well, as they were right next to each other).  I could feel a very strong flow of energy coming from my hands, feeling that she was accepting the energy.  Yet at that moment she wished to remain under the bed.
After a while,  I ended the Reiki session and we decided it would be best for Rachel and me to go into the other room, where I could teach her some of the basic TTouches using the stuffed cat I had brought as a model.  I showed her a variety of the TTouches, including ones which will especially benefit her digestive system.
Rachel has a very natural feel for the TTouches, and without knowing it, had already been doing modified versions of a number of the TTouches.  So I know she will do a wonderful job with them. 
All of a sudden out of the corner of my eye I saw an orange blur go by the doorway. 
I quietly went to look, and Georgie had come out from underneath the bed!
I made sure to consciously quiet my own energy, and sat on the floor near her, first approaching her by doing a few TTouches and strokes using the back of my hand.  She started to be quite receptive to what I was doing, so I continued, but made sure to give her frequent breaks.  I found that one of the TTouches she was especially receptive to is the Abalone TTouch, which is a circular TTouch which uses the whole hand.  Since it is using a bigger surface of the hand, it can be very calming and comforting.  I did the TTouches very slowly and with a very subtle circular motion, pausing at the end of each circle and a quarter.  Hair slides were also very comforting for her. 
After a bit, Georgie went to one of her places she particularly likes, the window area pictured above, which is lovely and was flooded with light on this sunny day.  Since Georgie was responsive to the Abalone TTouch, I decided to see what she would think of TTouches done using a Jelly Scrubber.  A Jelly Scrubber is actually a horse-grooming tool, but it is also a wonderful TTouch tool.  (Linda Tellington-Jones, first developed TTouch for horses, then expanded it to include all animals, including people).  The jelly scrubber has two different surfaces, and is very flexible, so I did a version of the Abalone TTouch using the jelly scrubber, as well as doing some longer brushing strokes.  She was very comforted by this, and began leaning and rubbing into my hand.  It was lovely to see her so comfortable and at ease.  I felt completely connected with her and in synch with her energy.  After a while, I took the Jelly scrubber off my hand and also did some TTouches directly with my hand.  It felt like a lovely dance between the two of us, and felt so good with the light coming in the window.
After I finished the session with her, she began to groom herself, looking very comfortable indeed!





The following day, Rachel emailed me that all three of the cats had been very relaxed after I left.  Often after a session, either in a home or at the shelter, it seems the energy of Reiki and TTouch relaxes the atmosphere in general, as well as the animal or animals who I am specifically working with.  Thanks Rachel, Georgie, Newie and Ginger, best wishes to you all and I look forward to hearing from you.  And thank you Georgie, for reminding me to be patient and go with the flow of the moment, that things will develop and flow exactly the way they are meant to :)