Monday, April 23, 2012

From the Litter Box to My Lap: TTouch with Angela at BARC Shelter

Angela is a beautiful cat who was dumped at BARC Shelter about a week ago, left outside the shelter in a carrier.  Who knows what she went through before she arrived at the shelter? At any rate, she was terrified and hissing when she first arrived there, huddled in her box.  When I opened her cage, you can see the skeptical look she gave me.  I decided to very gradually and gently try to work with her.  I calmed myself, taking some deep breaths before I began working with her.  Standing sideways to her cage, I gently stroked her head with a paintbrush one time and then pulled it away, to see what her reaction was.  Then I tried again.  Within a short time, she had rolled onto her side in a playful way, stretching out and looking cozy.  But she still was a bit unsure, and sometimes would want to bite the brush or didn't seem completely comfortable with it.  I kept the session short - after a few times of trying this she gave a little hiss to let me know that was enough.  So I closed the cage and let her have a break.  I worked with her a couple of more short times that day, and she gradually grew more comfortable.

The next time I worked with her, though she was still in her litter box, she started out looking more comfortable to begin with than she had previously, and she quickly settled into some circular TTouches on her head, then some strokes down the body as well, but not too much so as not to frighten her.

Then, on Saturday when I went to see her, her litter box was placed closer to the front of the cage and when I opened the cage, she actually got up and came to the front of the cage to see me.  I began by doing TTouch circles with the paintbrush on the top of her head, under the chin, and then some down the body.  She was very affectionate and was rubbing her head into the paintbrush.  So I moved my hand down the paintbrush and began to do TTouches on her directly with my hand.  I was mostly doing TTouches using the back surfaces of my hand, as the back of your hand is less threatening to a fearful animal than the front of your hand.
Then she really surprised me by calmly walking out onto my lap!
I sat very quietly, mostly sending her gentle Reiki with my hands loosely on her, doing a few TTouches here and there, and she seemed quite at ease there, continuing to rub her head into my hands.  When I had first contact with her last week, I had a feeling that she wasn't feral, just frightened, but I didn't know the transition would be this fast!!
So she didn't get overstimulated and unsure, I very gently started to make the first tiny movement in the direction of standing up, and she went back into the cage. 
This was so wonderful to see this cat who had been so frightened come such a long way in the space of a week.  Looking forward to seeing you soon, Angela!  And thank you for trusting me....

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