Hi folks! It has been very hard to keep up with the blog posts as life has been busy!
This post is a bit belated, as it is more complex, involving four cats instead of just one. It is actually about the first four cats I really focused on at Bideawee.
The end of last year, I taught several TTouch workshops to volunteers at Bideawee in Manhattan. It is a great place - very positive environment, well set up, well-run, and staffed by knowledgeable and caring people.
Bideawee has a terrific setup for the cats. A good number of cats are housed in what they call “resorts” – small rooms where the cats can roam, play, sleep, etc that are filled with toys, climbing places and cozy places. They make really good use of the vertical space with shelves and cat trees etc. The cats that are in cages have clean, cozy cages and most of these cats have opportunities to be out of the cages on a rotating basis to play or just hang out.
Teddy and Panda are two adorable young brothers who came into the shelter completely feral. They both have very gentle, sweet, playful personalities but were still quite shy when I first began to work with them. Panda was more forthcoming than Teddy when I began working with them, but apparently they had switched back and forth as to which one was less or more shy.
One thing that I found nice about being in the room with the four cats was that it was great to be able to alternate between the four cats, thus giving them the break time that they needed, especially in the beginning when they were getting to know me, but it was also important later on to really be in the moment with them and feel at any given time whether it was best to continue, or to give a break and come back in a while. Sometimes I would literally do just a few TTouches, other times it would work into a longer session, depending on how they were reacting to me.
With a cat who has a tendency to swat, less is definitely more, and the goal is to stop before they swat, so they get used to the pleasant experience which ends comfortably for them and for you.