Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tatiana, a Timid Kitten

Recently several very frightened kittens have arrived at Social Tees shelter, and I always welcome the challenging opportunity of working with them -- it is always a big learning experience for me, and it is such a pleasure to have the possibility of helping these animals to feel more comfortable in their bodies.
Above you see Tatiana, a gorgeous tortoise-shell kitten. She was scared out of her mind on arrival -- she was hissing and thrashing, we could barely transfer her to a cage, and then she escaped from the cage a while after that. When I started working with her, she was cowering in the back of her cage or in the back of her litter box, as you see here. I soon realized it was ok to touch her -- she was not biting or hissing, simply scared and frozen in place. For a few days I did TTouch on her head and body -- starting out with little raccoon touches around her ears and on her forehead and around the outside of her mouth and jaw, and slowly working up to connected touches down the body. As I worked, I felt her relax and start to let her breath go. But still, she was still remaining pretty much in the same place in her cage while I worked on her, though her body position did relax somewhat.
I did notice, though, that when I was working on other animals in the room, she started to come towards the front of her cage and watch what was going on.
Yesterday, as I begain to do connected clouded leopard touches down her body, all of a sudden I started to hear a PURRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR coming out of her. What a welcome sound! The purr continued, and she began to free her body and move, starting to push her head against my hand at times, stretching out her body, etc. I worked on her in a bunch of very short sessions of a few minutes each while I was there. She still would start out by seeming scared and at the back of the cage, but quickly resumed the purring and friendly behavior, so she seems like she is on her way to coming out of her shell.
At the end of the day, a very socialized kitten arrived, so we put it in the same cage with her, thinking it could help encourage her progression to become a more socialized kitten. I still feel the texture of her fluffy, soft kitten fur as I write -- she is a lovely kitten and I am so glad to feel she is on her way to becoming a more comfortable creature and more adoptable kitty.

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