This is Alison, a beautiful calico kitty who I have been working with at BARC Shelter. She was brought in by one of the long-time volunteers. Apparently she had been outside, but was quite friendly with her rescuer.
However, the shelter environment is tough for Alison. She does not like other cats, so being surrounded by other cats makes her extremely tense. And she is very wary with people as well in this environment, becoming overstimulated easily and swatting and hissing at people who approach her too quickly.
I have been working with her very slowly and gradually, using a back scratcher (there is a wonderful one at BARC now that has an end that is like a plastic spoon that she particularly likes, also one with a shoe-horn type end which she also responds to), or sometimes a paintbrush to start with, and then transitioning to touching her with my hand if she seems comfortable enough to do that.
I have found that she is extremely responsive to Reiki, done a short distance away from her. She has grown to recognize the energy and settles right into it now. She starts to close her eyes and get a cozy look on her face, and her body begins to relax. And that has really been key in establishing trust. She associates the relaxing energy with me, and knows that I may not necessarily even try to touch her, so she doesn't go on guard when she sees me coming.
About a week ago I went to work with her, and I had not worked with her in a while so I was not sure how it was going to go. But I could tell immediately she felt the Reiki energy. And it seemed a connection to the energy that was stronger than I had seen before. Like she was absorbing the concept that this felt really GOOD, and I was seeing her bask in it. She paused her movement, and her eyes got that squinty look like she was taking it in. I was standing with my hands outside the cage, palms up, and the cage door open.
And then, she did something she had never done with me before. She came right to the front of the cage, and extended her paw to me.
Not a gesture that was going to turn into a swat, a gesture with a soft paw that gently touched my hand. I praised her, and asked if she would like to do it again, and she did. She did the same thing three or four times, just reached her paw to my hand to gently touch it.
I told some of the regular volunteers what had happened and the sequence I used, and encouraged them to use the back scratcher with her, and not push the touching but to just follow her lead with that, to let her come to them.
Much love to you Alison!! Look forward to seeing you soon (unless, of course, the perfect person or people take you home)! xoxox