Sunday, December 19, 2010

Mayor's Alliance Cats: Dec. 13

When I went to see the Mayor’s Alliance cats today, I saw that Cheeks had either been adopted or fostered, and there were several new cats.

Above is Bree, who has been there for a while. She s a very playful cat, so I generally will just do a few TTouches at a time with her, as she can get over-stimulated pretty quickly. I tend to use the back of my hand to do the TTouches with her, as this is a less-stimulating way to touch her. I think part of this too is that when I let her out of her cage, she is often more interested in letting off steam than being TTouched :)

Charles is such a super-friendly little guy, and he loves attention of any kind. He's a pretty active youngster, so I will do some little chimp TTouches down his back, let him go, then try a few more TTouches, let him go, etc. He is generally purring the entire time you have contact with him.

There was a new little gray kitten Cleo, who was very sweet, purring the entire time, as I did ear slides, abalone on body and a few mouth TTouches.

Pattie, who has always been shy but not hesitant about being touched, flinched every time I moved my hand towards him today. Each time I would start to reach in, he would get ready to swat. I got in a few TTouches and left him alone. I did talk to him quietly and offered him Reiki. He seemed to crave touch, as he would start to come towards the front of the cage or stretch out on his side as I did this, but again, if I started to reach in, he was very startled. So I had to take a step back and offer Reiki from a dhort distance away, speaking in a soft, reassuring voice.

Max II (below), Andy and Jack (one of them is pictured above, not sure from the sign indications which is which) are three young cats who are in the same large cage. They had recently arrived, and seemed a bit traumatized, so I went slowly, trying to gauge how much contact they were ready for. Max II was lying in the back of his cage, stretched out with one of his paws sticking down through the hole into the lower level of the cage. He was shy, but gentle, and I spoke to him softly, telling him he was in a safe place and doing some little raccoon TTouches on his forehead and around other parts of his head. The forehead can be a very calming area to work on an animal who seems emotionally traumatized. I also did a few TTouches down his body, keeping the first session with him short so as not to overwhelm him. Andy and Jack are two little tabby and white cats, it wasn’t clear which name went to which cat. The smaller of them is more shy, and was huddled in the back of the cage. I tried some raccoon TTouches on his head, and noticed that he started to breathe more fully. Gradually I worked in some TTouches on his body, then went to his pal, who looked a bit skeptical. I started with him using the back surface of my finger (my fingernail actually) to do some circular TTouches on his head, and saw him slowly start to let go and get very sleepy. After a few TTouches on his body, I let them be.

Johnny (above and below), who was a bit shy the first time I saw him as he had just been neutered, is totally friendly and sweet. I let him out of his cage and did abalone and clouded leopard TTouches, as well as ear slides. I also did Tarantula pulling the plough (I will have to get a video of this up, it’s hard to describe but it is a touch where you are walking your fingers down the back, sliding your thumbs along, which are at right angles to the fingers.

Max is a sweet cat, who is very eager for attention but can get over-stimulated sometimes. I imagine especially for the younger cats it can be so hard to be contained in a cage, that when he gets let out of the cage he needs to run around and let off some steam first. I do TTouch on him a little bit at a time, doing a few clouded leopard TTouches down his body, giving him a break, etc.

Serena is a shy cat I have been working with for a few weeks. She still prefers being touched with long-handled things like a paintbrush, but she is getting more at ease each time. Today she hissed at me at first when I opened the cage but the minute I started to do some circular touches on her with the flat paintbrush, she began rubbing against it, purring and drooling, very comfortable. Little by little I started working my hand down the handle of the brush and was able to get in some TTouches with my hand – some clouded leopard and abalone TTouches on the body and a few raccoon touches on the head. I would just do a few touches with my hand, then go back to using the brush, as that is what she is still most comfortable with. But it is great to see her really coming along. Afterwards, she always goes to her food bowl and starts munching away.

Tiger is a very affectionate, sweet cat with a gentle, quiet energy. She especially responds to slow abalone TTouches down her back. Abalone TTouches are circular TTouches which use the whole hand, so they are warm and comforting, whereas the TTouches which use less of the hand are more focused and can be more intense.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

TTouch with the Mayor's Alliance Rescue Cats: Dec 6

When I went to see the Mayor's Alliance cats today thru Tavi & Friends' TTouch in Rescue program, it was especially nice to see the shyer ones really coming along.

Pattie seems much more comfortable today. I did a little energy work with her, and she soon started rubbing herself against me and purring. She then came to the front of the cage, where I did abalone, zigzag and clouded leopard TTouches. It is great to see her feeling so much more comfortable, especially as she had been so frightened a couple of weeks ago, her body sometimes shaking.

Charles was really craving attention, pawing against his cage. He was really pleased to get out. He is very affectionate and I did zigzag TTouch, abalone, and octopus TTouch. He rubbed against me and purred. When I put him back in his cage he went to his food bowl and ate with gusto.

Johnny (above and below) is completely friendly. He came out of his cage, purring and rubbing against me. I did abalone, zigzag and Tarantula Pulling the Plough. TTouch.

He is such an elegant little being, when he sits up straight, he looks like a little sculpture!

Serena still will hiss when you first open her cage, but once you touch her with the paintbrush (using the tip, side, or side of the handle of the brush to do circles and strokes), she becomes comfortable and starts purring and rubbing against the side of the cage and coming to the front of the cage. I got in some TTouches with my hand, but am being careful to only do a couple of these at a time and then go back to using the brush, as she is not too sure about these touches yet.

Max is very gentle and sweet. He is very sensitive to noises. I did ear TTouch, abalone and zigzag TTouches with him, which he found to be very calming.

Tiger is a very gentle soul, and responds best to TTouches using the whole hand, which are warm and comforting.

Bree can get ver overstimulated, so with her I just TTouch her a few touches at a time, then give her a break. I mostly did the chimp TTouch with her today, which uses the back of my fingers.

TTouch and Reiki with Bonsai and Nilo

A couple of months ago, I did a TTouch/tabling event at Whiskers Holistic Pet Store in NYC, and I raffled off a free TTouch session. Kristin came by my table, entered the raffle and said she was lucky at these things and sure enough, she ended up winning the free session. Since then, I have had four sessions with her and her two cats, Bonsai and Nilo. Bonsai is a sweet 15 year old Burmese cat who has had problems with seizures (he's taking medication for this) and Nilo is a 5 year old Bengal cat with a lot of wild in him. Nilo is a very one-person cat and only likes Kristin. He also often pees outside of the litter box. Kristin has been feeling that Bonsai has become more low-energy and more removed from her lately, perhaps a side effect of the medications he is taking. Both these cats are absolutely stunning-looking, and so appealing each in their different ways: Bonsai has a lovely gentle, sweet energy and Nilo is very inquisitive and hyper-aware of all around him, like a little wild cat.
In my first meeting with them, Bonsai settled very easily into the TTouches. I showed Kristin how to do some of the TTouches so that she could do them on both Bonsai and Nilo. I wasn't able to touch Nilo, but I did engage him using two of the long TTouch wands, and did some of the TTouch circles on the floor near him. While I worked on Bonsai, he sat a little ways away and was very interested, but just not ready to be touched by me.
After this first session, Kristin told me that Bonsai had been extremely calmed by the TTouch, and that he slept in the bed with her, something he had not done for a long time, which was great to hear. (below is Bonsai)

The next meeting, I showed Kristin a few more of the Ttouches on Bonsai, and how to do some circles and strokes on him with a jelly scrubber (here's a link to how to use the jelly scrubber) and soft brush, which he responded to also. Then I did some TTouch and Reiki with Bonsai. His lower back and tail felt tight, so I did some TTouches around that area, and when I offered him Reiki, this area of his body also was emitting the most heat, so thought I put my hand in several positions, I spent more time with my hands in that area. I felt a very strong connection, almost like my hands were glued there. He got extremely and laid on his side, very relaxed.

After the session with him, he ate some treats which I had put out for him previously, and went to curl up on his cat bed, something he apparently had not done for a while. Again, Nilo had been observing all of this from a short distance away. Right as I was about to leave, I leaned down to say goodbye to Nilo and he came and touched me with his nose. I felt that with patience, I would make more contact with him soon.

The next session, I did seem to be slowly making more contact with Nilo. He came up to me several times, touching my hand with his nose, and I was able to engage him a bit using the TTouch wands, doing a few circular TTouches on him. I also connected with him with Reiki, sending him Reiki energy from a couple of feet away. I crouched down with my body sideways to him while we were both in the kitchen area. He stayed quite still, then relaxed as I did this. Though this was just for a matter of a few minutes, this seemed like a lot for him, as he is a very sensitive cat.

With Bonsai, I offered him Reiki for quite a long time. Again, I felt a lot of heat coming from his back end, so I focused my attention there. I felt him become deeply relaxed. When this happens, I also feel my own energy change, like it drops down a level and even the thoughts in my head feel like a record being played at a slower speed. Then I did some abalone TTouches and clouded leopard TTouches down his body and even down his legs a bit, as well as some mouth work.

In our most recent session, a few days ago, at first I felt the energy with both cats to be a bit restless, and so I began by doing a few circular TTouches at a time on Nilo, who still was keeping his distance from me, hiding under furniture. So I would do a few TTouches with him, then do a few TTouches on Bonsai, who was nearby.

Then I gave Nilo a break and began to focus on Bonsai. First I did some TTouches on his body and head, and offered him Reiki for a short time. Then I tried a technique which I learned in Margrit Coates' hands-on-healing workshop where one gently and slowly follows the energy down one side of the back (a few inches from the spine, parallel to the spine) and then the other side of the back, not pressing down on the back but, using such a light touch, following the energy. Hard to describe in words -- will have to put video up sometime soon. At any rate, all of a sudden felt the energy s h i f t down to the lower, slower level I was talking about earlier in this post. Very interesting. All of a sudden Bonsai and I were completely focused and connected with each other at the same time. I did energy healing on his brachial chakra (over the shoulder area), heart and base chakras. Bonsai because VERY settled at this point, so extremely comfortable.

I did the energy healing going down the sides of his back again, then Reiki with hand positions starting at his head, then slowly moving down his back. I was feeling a very strong connection and a lot of heat - and waves of energy going back and forth between us. After we finished this, I did a bit of TTouch around his mouth area, and felt we were done. It was a bit hard to move my hands away from him though, we felt so connected. Bonsai followed me into the next room as I went to see what Nilo was up to.

I began to work with Nilo with a wand again - but this this time I wrapped a piece of Ace bandage around the narrow end of the wand (contrary to the end we were taught to use but had to follow my intuition). When I touched Nilo with this and began to do the TTouch circles, all of a sudden I saw him react like "hey, this is different - hm, I think I like this". And I felt a real connection to him and saw him start to respond to the circular touches. He became really comfortable and began to rub his head against any surfaces that were nearby. I gave frequent breaks - would do the circles for a couple of minutes then stop for a few minutes, then start again. Bonsai was nearby so I did a few TTouches on him while I gave Nilo breaks.

THEN - I actually was able to work my way down the wand and did a few brief ttouches on Nilo with my hand - hooray! I just got in a few touches before he was on the move again, but I tried the same procedure a few times. He became extremely comfortable with the wand/ace bandage TTouches and was ok with a few hand TTouches after that. I feel that gradually he is beginning to trust and that I will be able to get closer and closer as our sessions progress. I love how much cats can teach us about patience.

After this, I was speaking with Kristin about what had happened, and asked if it was all right to take some pictures of the cats and to post about them on the blog. After I took apictures of Bonsai we began to look underneath the furniture for Nilo, as that is where we were used to finding him. He wasn't there.

All of a sudden I noticed that Nilo was on top of a bookcase (see below) and he was staring at me - probably had been doing so the whole time we were talking! Very funny.

Below you will see Nilo making a "cozy face" to me. What a nice holiday gift to me it was to feel such lovely connection with both these cats, and I felt I had particularly made a real breakthrough with Nilo.

TTouch and Reiki are not presto-chango fixes for helping animals, but the shifts that can happen as a result of these modalities can be deep and lasting. Wth time, I believe these modalities will give Bonsai a lot more relaxation, body awareness and comfort and will give Nilo more trust and less stress, which hopefully will help lessen the peeing outside the box and make it more possible for him to connect with people other than Kristin.
Happy holidays Kristin, Bonsai and Nilo, look forward to more adventures with you soon! xo

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My Journey with and Thanks to Kermit - Who Just Got Adopted :)

Hi folks! I feel a special type of connection with all of the animals who I work with. TTouch and Reiki (and other similar modalities) help you to connect with an animal in a way that feels not only physical but mental and spiritual. It is as though there are permanent invisible lines of connection that go from the animal right into your heart.

Certain animals, just like certain people, touch you in a particularly strong way. That is how I feel about Kermit, the sweet senior kitty pictured above and below. He was one of a bunch of cats who arrived at BARC shelter recently after his owner passed away. When I arrived at the shelter the day after the cats had been rescued and brought to the shelter, Kermit was completely hidden under his cat bed, curled up in the back corner of his cage. Of course he was the first cat for me to work on that day. I did a long TTouch session with him (giving small breaks to him in the midst of it), during which he came out from under his bed and ended up in the front of the cage. After several TTouch sessions with him, as well as a bath and combing out and love from me and other BARC staff and volunteers, Kermit was always in the front of his cage, ready to come out and sit on someone's lap for a cuddle. When we gave him a bath and were combing him out, it was as if he knew we were trying to help him, he was so trusting and cooperative.

You could feel so much love pouring out from him, it was incredible to see and experience. If you look into his big eyes you can feel love and gratitude that touches you so much in your heart.

It was a truly moving experience to see him turn around so quickly from being so terrified to being so willing to trust all these new people around him. I felt he had probably been through some tough experiences before his previous owner had rescued him. Yet once he came around, he was so open and ready to greet even someone completely unfamiliar.

While he sat on my lap, sometimes I would do TTouches on his head and ears, and then all the way down his body, and he would really stretch out and relax. Other times, if he seemed like he wanted to receive something gentler and to be very still and cozy in my lap, I would offer him Reiki energy healing. Kermit also received so much love from all the BARC staff and the many wonderful volunteers who come to the cat loft. He was always so happy to come out and connect with a person in such a loving way.

One day recently, I was happy to hear the news that Kermit was soon going to a loving forever home. I am always particularly moved and thankful when someone adopts an older cat, as they are much harder to adopt, even when they are very friendly cats like Kermit. I know that Kermit must have charmed his new people as much as he did everyone else at the shelter.
Here I am giving him a kiss. All the best to you Kermit! I'll miss seeing you at the shelter but am so happy for you and you are forever in my heart. Thank you for all you have taught me about gratitude, love, and true appreciation of the moment.

TTouch and Reiki at BARC Shelter: Update on Statler

Statler is one of a bunch of cats who arrived at BARC shelter in Brooklyn after their owner passed away. Statler was extremely shy at first, remaining frozen in the back of his cage, but after some weeks of TTouch and Reiki, plus much love from other BARC staff and volunteers, he is really coming around.

Statler still likes to hang out at the back of his cage, but once you open the cage, he starts to come to the front and now he even will come and bump his head against my head, which is so sweet.

I found that the place where he still holds tension is in the back half of the body, so if I do some circular touches around this area, plus some zigzag TTouches connecting the front of the body to the back (usually going all the way to the tail and then stroking down the tail very gently), he instantly becomes more comfortable, and will begin to roll on his side or back or start walking to the front of the cage, rubbing his head against the cage as he goes. I even hear or feel him purring quite often. He also responds to ear slides, and to little raccoon touches around his head and mouth area.

He is an absolutely gorgeous cat, and it is such a pleasure to even see the expression on his face open up, which you can especially see in the closeup above. His gaze goes right to your heart! Hoping for a furrrever home soon for this kitty..... xo

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Hands-On Healing Class with Margrit Coates

Hi folks, this past weekend I had the beautiful experience of taking an advanced class in hands-on healing for animals with Margrit Coates. I had taken another class with her in March, which I found to be so helpful, and for me added another way of helping the animals I work with in the shelters and privately (in addition to TTouch and Reiki). In this class she showed us other ways of working which gave another level of connecting with the animals to help balance their energy. Hearing her speak and watching her work was such an inspiration. She has such a kind, gentle energy, and we saw each and every animal respond to her as she worked with them. Above, you see her working with a lovely dog named Spirit. Her hands truly are magic.

Not only did we work on connecting with animals in the class, Margrit also showed us how to do remote healing, using a photograph of the animal we wanted to connect with. It is very easy for people to be skeptical of this process but I can tell you that it is very powerful, and I did feel a shift in the animal (actually the sweet BARC kitty Animal) who I connected with when I next saw her in the shelter. Once I tuned into her energy as I looked at her photograph, I felt like I was in the shelter with her. It was really quite something. My friend Eileen, who is a wonderful animal communicator and healer, was also in the class and said she noticed a real difference with her cat Duff when she got home.

Above and below you see pictures of Ryley (and Margrit working with him below). Ryley is a sweet senior Maltese, who has very serious heart disease. His loving owner Tracy found Margrit while searching on the internet for someone to help him, as he was doing very badly - panting, lethargic, his heart pounding, he wasn't eating much, and would barely even raise his head. Tracy was so afraid she was going to lose him. She emailed Margrit, sent her a picture of Ryley and she did the long distance healing on him. What happened next was so miraculous. Tracy said, "The morning after Margrit did the healing (I didn't know she had done it overnight because of the time change overseas) he bounced up, ate breakfast, played with his toy and wasn't panting anymore. It really was amazing. I'm not saying he doesn't have heart disease anymore but he certainly has his will to live back and doesn't seem to be suffering anymore. That's all I can ask for. " When we saw Ryley at the class, as you can see in the pictures, he was bright and alert, and he was interested in everything that was going on. I am sure the work Margrit did on Ryley in the class was extremely helpful as well. The healing work seems to pull everything into balance and focus, while being extremely relaxing at the same time.

Thank you so much Margrit, for all that you do with the animals, and for your generosity in sharing the lovely work that you do. Please check Margrit out on her website (click on her name in the first paragraph to go to the site). She is on Facebook as well.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

TTouch and Reiki with Mayor's Alliance cats: Nov. 29

Last week, when I went to work with the Mayor's Alliance cats (thru Tavi & Friends' TTouch-in-Rescue program), there were a bunch of cats who had just arrived and had just been neutered, so most of them were very stressed out. When I arrived this week, nearly all of these cats were quite comfortable and at the front of their cages, ready for attention and love. This was wonderful to see!

Above is actually one of the cats who has been there for a while, Brie. She is generally the most vocal and seeking of attention, but she actually becomes calmer even if I start with another cat, as the calm energy from TTouch and Reiki spreads to all the cats in the room. I worked with her somewhere in the middle of the session, letting her out of the cage to run around a bit

Brie is very playful, if I do strokes down her back, she rolls over on her side to play, so I have to be careful because she can be over-stimulated in that position!

Charles had looked under the weather after his neutering surgery last week, but today he seemed to feel good, he was very active and very sweet. I tried clouded leopard TTouches and a couple of other TTouches and he was very comfortable.

Cheeks is always at the front of his cage for attention, and will respond to just about any kind of TTouch. I did ear strokes and then clouded leopard TTouches on his body.

Johnny is very friendly now, feeling much better since he arrived, when he was a bit traumatized, probably from just having his neutering surgery. As you can see, he waits at the front of the cage now ready to make contact. He rubbed his head against my hand as I did connected clouded leopard TTouches going down his body.

Max is very gentle and sweet, right at the front of his cage for attention. With him I did clouded leopard and zigzag TTouches.

Pattie seemed a little more comfortable today. He had been shaking last time, and this time I only notice a little shaking. He is extremely sensitive to loud noises. When I used the back of my finger to do TTouches on his forehead and did some raccoon TTouches on his mouth, she really settled. I spoke slftly to him and did some Reiki and some light clouded leopard TTouches on him, speaking in a very soft voice. He stretched out and really relaxed as I did this.

With Serena, who will hiss when you first open her cage, I used a long-handled paintbrush to do light circles and strokes, moving the skin around in a circle and a quarter with the brush. She feels very comfortable with this, and quickly started purring, drooling, and rubbing against me a bit. I worked in a few circular touches with my hand as she did this, then went back to using the brush.

Tiger is such a sweet cat, with a gentle, quiet energy. She responds most to the comforting Ttouches using more of the surface of the hand, such as the abalone Ttouch and the octopus TTouch. The octopus TTouch is one that you would only want to do on an animal who is extremely comfortable, as it can be way too overwhelming for a shy animal. It is sort of like a zigzag TTouch using both hands at the same time (will have to get a clip of that online).

TTouch and Reiki with Mr. Whiskers and Friends

Sorry it has taken me a while to get this post up, as usual, I'm juggling a lot of things!

Kathy is a friend and Feldenkrais teacher, and she has also been to several TTouch trainings with me. I have worked with her animals, including some feral cats and kittens, and it is always a pleasure and a learning experience.

Presently Kathy is residing with her mother and they have in their household four cats: Scooter and Cuddles, who have been in the household a long time, and Mrs. Patches (pictured below) and Mr. Whiskers (pictured above), who were feral cats she trapped and spayed/neutered (Mrs. Patches was trapped along with her three kittens, the kittens were socialized and adopted). Mr. Whiskers had been released after neutering but then brought back inside, as he appeared to be friendly and it would be safer for him to be inside. I did a lot of work with Mrs. Patches and her kids (some of the posts are here) when they were first brought in, and a little work with Mr. Whiskers when he was initially trapped. I had worked with him while he was in a carrier with the TTouch wand, and he was quickly responsive to that, calming down quite quickly with some light circular ttouches using the wand, sticking it through the bars of the carrier. Some cats are threatened by a sticklike object coming their way inside a contained space but Mr. Whiskers was surprisingly not.

Mr. Whiskers and Patches have been living in the upper part of the house, and are extremely bonded with each other. Scooter and Cuddles live in the lower part of the house. Kathy also has a wonderful dog Mia, who I have been acquainted with for a number of years - she is having some issues as a senior dog, but she is a sweetie!
Mr. Whiskers has been exhibiting some very strange behavior lately - getting very freaked out, with ripples on his skin and generally seeming ultra-sensitive. He was diagnosed with feline hyperesthesia syndrome. It can be allergy related or a sign of a more serious problem--organ issues or cancer. Kathy has posted about it with links on her blog if you'd like to read more about it.
The vet has put him on prednisone to see if it will help the itching that he has. Kathy asked if I could come and try some Reiki and TTouch with Mr. Whiskers to see if it could be calming for him.
I hadn't seen Mr. Whiskers since he was first trapped, and he was rather shy initially. I tried to do a few circles on him using the feather end of a stick toy, and he initially ran away. He's very attached to Kathy, so while Kathy was petting him, I was able to do some TTouches on him using the back of my finger and the back of my hand on his head and body. I used back surfaces of my hand and fingers as they are less threatening and less stimulating than front surfaces. Mr. Whiskers is so ultra-sensitive that I wanted to be as gentle as possible with him. He is especially is sensitive about being touched on his back end and generally does not want to be touched there.
After this, I offered him Reiki. I found that I needed to be 6 inches to a foot away in order for him to feel comfortable, as the energy was too overwhelming for him if I was any closer. I connected with Reiki with him several short times, the longest being when I was about a foot away and he stayed very still, absorbing the energy as though absorbing warm sunlight.
I also connected with him for very short moments with TTouch, but the Reiki periods of time felt the most powerful with him, as though he wanted to soak up the energy, but could only do a little at a time.
After this, I briefly did a few strokes using the back of my hand with Mrs. Patches, but she was mostly in a mood to play. Then I did some TTouches on Mia and Cuddles. Kathy does a lot of TTouch on Mia, and Mia loves the TTouches, so she was very responsive as I did abalone TTouches, clouded leopard touches and some ear work. Cuddles I just did an extremely short bit of TTouches with. Scooter (pictured below) was not interested in being TTouched, though last year I connected with him very strongly. I respected his wishes and just quietly spoke to him for a short bit, sending him a bit of Reiki from a couple of feet away as I spoke to him.

When connection with the animals comes in small bursts like this, it is harder to get a sense of a feeling of the session as a whole, though I am actually getting a better sense of it now as I write about it! Anyway I left there knowing my intention was very focused but a bit unsure as to what had just happened there.
Later that night I was surprised (and happy) to hear that Mr. Whiskers had not had any episodes that evening, and that Scooter was very peaceful. Since the session, Mr. Whiskers had one bad episode (which Kathy thinks was related to something he ate), but she said, other than that incident, that there was a calming effect on all the animals in the household that lasted a week, maybe more. Kathy would like me to come and work with Mr. W again soon, so I'm looking very forward to doing that. Many thanks to Kathy and your sweet animals, for reminding me of how true the TTouch saying that it is "moments, not minutes" that matter.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

TTouch and Reiki at BARC: Jan

Jan is one of a bunch of cats who arrived at BARC recently after his owner passed away. He is a gorgeous boy with one blue eye and one green eye. When he first arrived, he was quite frozen in the back of his cage, and it took some coaxing to even get him to eat at first.

Now he is feeling much more comfortable and, though he still prefers to hang out in the back of his cage, he comes to the front for his food, water and treats, and after receiving TTouch for a bit, will start to come to the front as well.

I found that he, like another scaredy cat from the same household, Statler, holds a lot of tension in his lower back near the base of his tail. And, if I begin to do raccoon TTouches all around this area, it seems to be the key to unlock his whole feeling and way of being. After some TTouches in this area, he will start to roll over on his side or start rubbing his head against my hand or his cage, and he starts to come a bit forward to me. Another area which is starting to be a great area to TTouch is around the outside of his mouth, as well as doing some strokes underneath his chin. He is now responding to touch in this area in a similar way, rubbing his head against my hand, flopping over on his side sometimes.

He is a very endearing boy and it is such a pleasure to feel his personality emerging, the more he gets comfortable like this. Recently he has been a bit more comfortable with other volunteers and staff touching him as well. He has never made an aggressive move whatsoever, but would just be frightened, glued to the back of the cage, unresponsive to touch. but I think this is little by little starting to change. These frightened beings have so much to teach us about patience and compassion, and I thank you Jan for that.

A side note: I also have to give a little plug for Halo's Liv-a-Little chicken treats, and big thanks to my friend Cookie from the Homeless Cat Network in the SF Bay Area, who told me about these treats. These treats are simple, just freeze-dried chicken, and they have been so helpful in addition to TTouch and Reiki in breaking the ice with a lot of scaredy cats like my buddy Jan. You can find these treats in pet stores or even cheaper online.

TTouch and Reiki at BARC: Siskel

Siskel is a young male cat who arrived recently at BARC shelter along with another cat thought to be his brother. The brother was extremely friendly and was adopted right away. Siskel arrived at the shelter completely terrified, hiding in the back of his cage and hissing when people came anywhere near his cage. I think it really scares him to have hands come in and out of his cage, as he seems to especially feel threatened when his cage is cleaned.

I have been working with him quite a lot, wearing thick gloves in case he gets over-stimulated, as sometimes in the beginning he would go from comfortable to suddenly terrified, and then could swat or try to bite. He has been getting SO much more comfortable lately, it is a pleasure to see.
I have been working with him primarily using a long-handled plastic back scratcher, doing circular touches and strokes on him with the back of the hand of the back scratcher, as well as with the handle. Once he got accustomed to this tool, he quickly grew to really like it, starting to roll on his back or side to be stroked with it. I have now started incorporating some touches and strokes with my gloved hand as well as with the tool. I am trying to be careful to keep the sessions fairly short, so he doesn't have the chance to get over-stimulated. I have shown a few people how to work with him with the back scratcher, so he can get used to other people having contact with him.
He was initially in the back of the room, but is now in a cage next to gentle, sweet Camilla, who I think is a reassuring, calm influence for him. He often rubs himself against the side of the cage which is next to her, and has never hissed or done any unfriendly behavior towards her. When I do TTouch and Reiki with Camilla, he watches and seems to be very calmed by this work as well.
He seems more comfortable in the shelter in general, now hanging out in the front of his cage a good deal of the time, watching what is going on. And if I am working on another cat, he looks at me as if to say, when are you coming to visit me?? I know that many people who saw his initial behavior would brand him as a "bad cat" (which I always take to mean one that is not capable of change) but I am so happy to continue to work with him to show that he is not a "bad" or "mean" cat, but is a very scared cat who needs time and patience in order to build trust :)

TTouch and Reiki at BARC: Camilla

Camilla is one of the sweet cats at BARC who recently arrived in the shelter after their owner passed away. Camilla has had ongoing digestive issues, so I have been working with her quite a lot, offering Reiki and TTouch to her to help her system to be as balanced as it can be.

She has been receiving medication, and I was so happy to see last week that she really seems to be starting to feel better. Previously, I had often seen her hunched in her litter box, trying to pass a stool, and even when she was out of the litter box she was often in the hunched position of a cat who doesn't feel well. When I work on her, I can always feel her spine relaxing and stretching out. Now that it seems the medication is kicking in, it is such a pleasure to see her body mostly in a much more relaxed state, and her face looks more relaxed as well.

She now comes right to the front of the cage to greet me when I open the door, often stepping onto my lap to give me a kiss. The amount of love and gratitude flowing from her really is so touching. It is evident in her expression even in these snapshots.

I am continuing to do Reiki with her as well as the TTouch. When she was not feeling so well, she fairly quickly settled into my hands for Reiki. Now she seems to want me to move my hands more, so I have Reiki flowing from my hands as I do circular TTouches down her body, as well as some zigzag touches and belly lifts. Camilla is an extremely petite kitty, really the size of an average 5-6 month old cat, and she is very delicate. so when I do a belly lift with her, I hardly move my hand at all. I put my hand on her belly and just "think" of moving my hand up, barely moving, then think of releasing it back down.

Below, you see Camilla in a towel. This was a picture I took before she started really feeling better. She seemed to crave warmth so much that I really felt bad when I took my hands away from her after doing Reiki with her (my hands get very warm when offering Reiki energy), so I gave her a towel for some extra warmth.

After doing combined TTouch and Reiki with Camilla, she usually settles into a resting position, putting her body so that my hands will be resting where she wants them to be, then I offer Reiki to her from that position. Sometimes I keep my hands in one position if she remains still. If she shifts while I am there, I go with where she is showing me she wants my hands to be. Much love to this little kitty and I'm so glad she's starting to feel better.