Saturday, February 6, 2010

Update on Tatiana, and a couple of more Scaredy Cats

Tatiana, pictured above, has been getting more comfortable every day. She still is initially scared of people, but once you touch her gently, soon she becomes more at ease and begins to purrrrrr. I had some assistance in socializing her by my little baby siamese kitten pictured below.

Please excuse the red-eye, I had to use a flash as there was not enough light. This very social little dude was adopted but his new owner could not take him for a couple of days, so we put him with Tatiana to keep her company. Sometimes we find that putting a very socialized kitten in with a very scared one can help the scared kitty to feel more at ease, and that definitely was the case with these two. As soon as I opened the cage, he would begin to purr and seek attention, and this would encourage her to start her purring as well. This little guy also was able to help a REALLY scared little black kitten, who I will discuss in another post. I was a little nervous about putting him in with that kitten, not sure what would happen, but several times I saw him and the black kitten cuddled up right next to each other.

So, yesterday a very sweet couple came in the shelter and the woman absolutely fell in love with Tatiana. When she first started to pet her in the cage, Tatiana seemed scared, but the woman's gentle demeanor soon won her over and she began her purring. The couple ended up adopting both Tatiana and her sister (who had been in a separate cage temporarily as she has a bit of a cold). I wish them all the best.

I knew that I had truly made progress with Tatiana when I went to take her out of the cage and put into a box to go to her new home. When she first came into the shelter, we were barely able to transfer her from the box to the cage, as she was so agitated and bouncing off the walls. But now Tatiana was so comfortable that when I went to pick her up, she was very trusting and did not try to get away from me at all. I think she must have known she was going to a good place!

Another couple of challenging cats I have been working with are Nika and Mika, pictured below. Over the past week, I have inch by inch been gaining their trust. I know that they look rather skeptical in the photo, but this is actually progress for them, as before, they would have either hissed at me or hid if I tried to take a picture.

Nearly all of the time they huddle and cuddle in the litter box, though this has been changing slowly as well. With them, as they were very hissy and frightened, I started out doing little circles with a feather around the top of the head and ears, around their cheek area, etc.. The feather provides some distance between you and them and can be a good way to transition to touching them with your hand. When they grew comfortable with being touched on their head, every once in a while I would do a gentle stroke with the feather on their body, then go back to the head. The mostly-grey kitten, Nika, was more comfortable from the beginning, so I spent more time with him, as making progress with the more comfortable kitten and make the other one more confident about being touched as well.

As they grew accustomed to being touched with the feather, I worked my way down the feather with my hand and eventually began to do raccoon touches on one cat's head, then the other. Still, Mika was hissing sometimes, so I would just go to her every once in a while, do a few very gentle raccoon touches on her head, then go back to Nika.

Over the past couple of days, these two have really been coming around. After I did TTouch on them a couple of days ago, Nika came out of the litter box and began to walk around her cage, having a little food, etc, and seemed comfortable doing that. That was a big step for her. Her sister probably will do that now, but she waits till things are quiet in the shelter and people go away. Yesterday, I finally was able to do TTouch for an extended period of time down the bodies of both these kitties, which I had been unable to do much of before, as they would get very nervous and sometimes hiss when I went from touching their head to touching their body. However, yesterday they both felt very comfortable being touched all over, including around their mouth area, which can be a key area for nervous kitties. I did TTouch in about four short sessions with them, to give them breaks in between, and each time they seemed more at ease. I look forward to more work with these sweet girls! They are teaching me so much about being very patient and respectful of what they need.

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