Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Leo is a very shy, gentle, sensitive kitty, he has been loose in the shelter as a "feral cat" for a number of years, though he and his best friend Charles have become much more friendly lately, due to socialization and me giving them wet food (!).

Here I am doing TTouch on sweet Leo. He is an older gentleman cat and quite fragile, so I use gentle touches on him and usually just touch him with the back of my hand or fingers. As you can see, he is not so fond of being touched under his chin, but then when I go back to touching him on the top of his head and body, he is much more at ease. I love this sweet lion-kitty very much, he is a dear old soul and recently his face has often appeared in my head when I wake up.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Update on Jerry

Jerry is an extremely timid kitty with a sweet soul who came into the shelter emaciated, shaking and terrified some time ago, as pictured above.

I have worked with him slowly and carefully, and he has continually made progress, which would seem like teeny baby steps of progess to most people but for him, each step took a lot of courage to make.

The past couple weeks, it seems like he got past a certain plateau and he has become exponentially more comfortable. Even the texture of his fur feels different. You still have to be very patient and quiet with him, as a sharp movement can frighten him, but now he purrs just about as soon as I start to touch him, and when I open his cage, he seems to look at me as though he wants me to touch him, whereas I often would feel before that he wanted me to touch him but he was still pretty afraid of that.

Yesterday really brought a tear to my eye. I had said hello to him but hadn't had a chance to work on him yet, and I looked over at him and he was laying on his back with his legs in the air, totally at ease. And when I took my camera out to take a picture, instead of being afraid and moving right away, he looked right at me, as you see here.

What a sweet boy! Every day I can't wait to see him and I keep sending good thoughts for a patient, kind person to arrive in the shelter to take him home when he is ready for that, and I feel that day is getting closer and closer.

Friday, June 25, 2010


Myron is one of the most challenging cats I have worked with at the shelter. He is SO frightened and sensitive, sometimes he will hiss and swat if anyone even comes near his cage, much less open the door and try to touch him. If I get to the shelter early enough, I offer to change his cage so that I can do it extremely quietly so as to put the least amount of stress on him possible. I have also been adding rescue remedy to his water.

Occasionally, one other volunteer and I have been able to touch him just on his head, but most of the time even that is not possible, he generally lets out a huge hiss and swat that lets you know he really means it, LEAVE HIM ALONE.

The past couple of weeks, I have been standing outside his cage, offering Reiki to him. He is so sensitive, I can see him respond to the Reiki energy quite rapidly, and he becomes more relaxed, often closing his eyes and taking a nap.

More and more often now, we will see him at the front of his cage rather than at the back of his cage. He still seems like he is afraid of being touched, but he is getting closer.

Yesterday while I was sending him Reiki he was lying on his back, legs in the air and head against the cage door. It was lovely to see him in such a relaxed position.

I know that I need to continue to be very patient with him, and that he will be ok to be touched in his own time. Meanwhile, I am very happy to send Reiki in order to help him become more and more relaxed. What is interesting, too, is that lately his coat looks cleaner and healthier, and his eyes seem more clear. This has happened with our kitty Jerry as well, who was terrified and shaking when he first came into the shelter and he has really been coming around.

Here's to you, Myron, I'll be ready to TTouch you when you're ready :)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Charles and Leo

Some of the most beautiful moments at a shelter can come in observing how sweet these animals can be to one another, and what loving friendships these animals form. The two cats above are named Charles (left) and Leo (right). Charles is a strong young boy and Leo is an older gentlemen, and these two are the best of friends. They go everywhere in the shelter together, and It is especially moving because Leo is older and extremely delicate, and Charles is very protective of him. He lets Leo eat first if I put down food, and he generally watches over him. Even in the photo above you can see Charles's expression is "don't even think of messing with my buddy," as Leo sits there with his gentle, lion-like smile.
If I do TTouch on one of them, then the other begins to rub his head against the cat I'm TTouching as well. It is so beautiful seeing them together, it really brings a tear to your eyes. Lately I have woken up with the faces of these two cats in my head.
Both of these cats were designated as "feral cats" in the shelter, meaning that they supposedly weren't friendly, but once I began to feed them and Ttouch them and a couple of the other voluteers began to pet them and sometimes feed them, they have become extremely friendly, and a few of their other "feral" friends are starting to come around as well. Many of them sit up on top of all the cages, watching everything, and I can feel that they receive some of the TTouch and Reiki energy when I am working on the animals in the cages, it is interesting to see!
Here's a big hug to these two, we humans have a lot to learn from these creatures about loyalty and true friendship.

More Kittens

We currently have many kittens at Social Tees, so I am having the fun of doing TTouch on them. It is amazing how quickly some of these kittens can some around, especially as quite a few have not known human contact before.

The sweet kitty above I call Harley, as he looks like a little harlequin. The first day he came in with his two brothers he was quite scared, but as you can see, by the second day he was purring away comfortably on my lap. I started out doing TTouches around his head and ears and worked my way down gradually to doing TTouch on his body. I did this first with him in his cage and then picked him up and held him in my lap to do this.

Yesterday we put four kittens (two sets of two from two different cages and litters) in our window enclosure along with our sweet one-eyed cat Baby and our super-sized boy Big Al. I got into the enclosure to do TTouch on everyone to make them comfortable. I started out by doing TTouch on Baby (pictured here sitting in back of the 3 kittens), as she is the shyest. She knows me well as she has been in the shelter for a while and so she grew more at ease after I TTouched her for a while. The little kittens gathered in the cat bed, as you see here, and Big Al was on an upper shelf, unconcerned with it all. Baby began to touch noses with the little ones to see who was receptive. One of the kittens was not ready yet and gave a tiny hiss but no swatting or spitting, just a "give me a little more time to be comfortable".

I began to alternate betweeen the two adults and the four little ones, doing TTouch on each, and felt a very calm atmosphere was there. The four kittens were cuddled in the bed and Baby was sitting where you see her in the picture. I had noticed that one of the kittens had very long claws so I decided to clip their claws. I was amazed at how relaxed they were with me doing this. They are so used to me TTouching them that I think they thought this was part of the TTouch. I pivoted the cat bed around to get each kitten in a good position for the claw-clipping. So, though I know this is obvious, the earlier you get these little ones used to the claw-clipping, the better! I used simple toenail clippers to do this. I find that giving medication (if we need to do this, we are generally giving liquid meds with a syringe in the mouth) is also easier on these little ones who are used to being TTouched, as I do it in a gentle way and sort of slip it in as part of the TTouch, doing a little TTouch, ear strokes etc and then put the syringe in the side of the mouth and squirt the medicine in (always make sure you don't squirt it in straight down to avoid choking them).

Getting the little ones used to being picked up, held in a lap, etc is also very good because, for one thing, these are the first things that potential adopters want to do with cats, so it is great to have them be comfortable with this.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Sparkle Gets Adopted

Some surprising adoption news: our kitty Sparkle, who arrived as a feral kitten, was adopted this past week.
Sparkle and her buddy Wally had been put into the window enclosure with our big friendly cat Big Al, and Sparkle came right up to the window a few times and made a connection with the woman who adopted her.
I spoke to the woman and explained, of course, that Sparkle is still very shy and at this point will only tolerate minimal contact, but that over time, I felt she would become more and more comfortable. The woman has six cats, all of whom are friendly and one is super-friendly, so I felt certain that there would be at least one cat who Sparkle would be able to bond with. I was a bit sad to separate her and Wally, but the woman and her husband were so kind and understanding, I felt that this would work out all right. I offered to work with them to help the socialization process as well.
A while after Sparkle left, I went to see how Wally was doing. I was surprised that he really seemed to be all right, he was super-friendly and enjoying having attention. He is such a charming cat, I'm sure he will have a home soon. I wish Sparkle all the best in her new home with all her new friends :)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Jerry Purrs

Jerry is a kitty with a very gentle, sensitive soul. He was apparently found on the street, so who knows what his life was before he landed at the shelter. Though the ACC thinks he's five, he has quite a few missing teeth. The poor boy arrived earlier this year VERY frightened (see picture above) and emaciated, you could feel his spine sticking up out of his body and he was so scared he would tremble a lot. Even after TTouch, he would sometimes have times when you could see his body shake. After examination by a vet, it was determined that the shaking was anxiety-related rather than an illness.

I have worked with Jerry very slowly and carefully. He is still quite frightened of people, so I gently open his cage and speak to him in a gentle voice. I stand sideways to his cage and begin with little circular touches with the back of my hand. Depending on what he can tolerate, I work my way down his body. The touches I use on his body are usually chimp touches, abalone touches or llama touches, done slowly with a pause at the end. I will try to do a couple of sessions on him while I am there, so I don't make each session too long and give him a break.

Over time, he has been able to trust me more, and his body has filled out to a more healthy weight. Sometimes I have done circular touches on his body using a soft hair brush.

My friend Eileen Garfinkel, who is an animal communicator, did a reading on him some time ago and one of the main things she got from him was that he feels unloved. I always make sure to tell him (either out loud or with my mind) that I have so much love for him (which I do), and that he is such a special, wonderful being.
I also often do Reiki on him, usually only placing one hand on him, because two hands seems to be too overwhelming. I do send him Reiki through the other hand as well though. Reiki makes him really relax and stretch out his body, he often closes his eyes too.
Sometimes I have heard him purr.

The other day, I was alternating between doing some soft touches on him and keeping my hands still, sending Reiki, and I heard him purr a louder and more constant purr than I have ever heard from him. I could feel it in his whole body. When I looked at his face, I think he even seemed surprised. I continued for a while, it just made me feel so happy to hear him purring away and feeling comfortable. Here he is, pictured below, feeling and looking a lot more comfortable. I wish this sweet boy well and look forward to working with him more. I keep holding thoughts that the time will come when a kind, patient person will appear who can offer him a forever home.

Mayor's Alliance Cats, Update

The other day I went again to do TTouch on cats through Tavi and Friends, through their TTouch-in-Rescue program to provide TTouch to one of TaF's Partner groups, the Mayor's Aloliance for NYC's Animals. These cats are temporarily at a boarding facility until they can be sent to various rescue groups or sent out to an adoption event, etc.

On this day people were in the midst of cleaning cages, so the animals who are generally scared were a bit more so but I did have still some lovely results with a number of cats.

Samantha (above) is very curious and LOVES attention, she now comes right to the front of the cage and begins to rub herself against it until I can open the cage and give her some attention. She began rubbing her body against my hand while walking back and forth. She responds well to all types of touches, around her head, mouth, back, etc. She just seemed like she couldn't get enough! I came back to her a couple of times, as she kept watching me and waiting for me to come back to her.

Marty (above) is still rather reserved and though he came to the front initially, when I opened his cage he seemed reticent to have me touch him. I tried touching him with a feather and was able to do some bief touches on him, as well as a few brief touches on him with my hand.
I did this in a couple of short sessions with him.

Isabel (above) is increasingly inquisitive and still prefers to have direct contact through the holes of the plexi on the front of the cage, I was able to do some touches on her face and her body this way. She seems to seek further contact but is just not quite ready for it yet, as she runs away still when you open the door to her cage. But her sweet eyes really connected with me and made me feel she is getting closer!

Porter (above) is such a love, now he comes right to the front and talks to me until I open his cage and do TTouch on him. He is now comfortable with touches all over his body and head, though occasionally he will need a break as he can get very stimulated by TTouch. He really longs for interaction and responds to it, it seems like every time I see him more and more of his personality comes out. Though of course this is a gross generalization, I have often seen with Russian blue cats a very playful, intelligent spirit and a longing for real engagement and interaction. They can also be quite vocal when they want to be!

Zorro (below) was his same handsome, friendly self - he rubbed his face and body against my hand and was ready to have as much contact as I wanted to give him.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Grandma and Alfalfa: RIP

I'd like to pay special tribute to two sweet kitties who recently crossed over into the spirit world: Grandma (pictured above) and Alfalfa (see photos below).

Grandma was a feral cat who had been at Social Tees for many years and she was in her mid-20s. Her tongue hung out because she didn't have any teeth left, but that didn't keep her from appreciating wet food, that's for sure. There is a group of maybe ten "feral" cats who are loose in the shelter (I use quotes because some of them have become tame and are totally adoptable). We always get a laugh seeing their little faces appear at unexpected moments, sometimes way up high. They love to drape themselves over the warm pipes in the winter and rest there.
Grandma was spry right up until the end, and had a stroke or attack of some kind when she was actually on a beam up high in the shelter where the loose cats often love to hang out. Her "husband" Grandpa passed on a while back, he was also quite old and went peacefully in his sleep. Though Grandma was mostly afraid to let people touch her, she brought a lot of sweetness and joy to the shelter, and I witnessed some very dear moments with her. One was when the shelter was very quiet, and she came right down into the middle of the floor to meet up with one of the other very senior loose cats who we call Leo, and she very tenderly started rubbing against him and cleaning him. Robert said he saw that a lot after-hours when the shelter is quiet. I can picture sweet Grandma leaping up, being her nimble self and reuniting with her husband Grandpa. Happy trails, Grandma, we will miss you as we miss Grandpa.

Alfalfa was on the other end of the age spectrum. He was the tiniest little fluffball of a kitten, about a third the size of the other kittens he arrived with. Several of that batch were very small and weak, and two passed away soon after we got them, with no apparent symptoms other than their smallness, but Alfalfa seemed to be a very determined little soul and we all were doing everything we could to keep his strength up. I did TTouch on him every day, and he especially responded to ear strokes, and he really settled into my hands as I worked on him. He really seemed content, his coat was good and his appetite was good, it seemed like he was going to be all right.
Unfortunately he passed away yesterday afternoon.
I was very saddened by this, as were the other shelter volunteers who had worked with him, especially my friend Jordyn, who comes to give the cats hydration and love and helps with a million other tasks around the shelter. Strangely enough, right before I went to the shelter I had a vision of him with light all around him, I think he was trying to tell me he had crossed over and that he was all right. He was a sweet angel -- he will be missed, and I will always remember him.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


It's kitten season and I'm having the opportunity to work with many kittens at Social Tees shelter. Many of the kittens arrive quite frightened, at least initially, and I'm finding that for the most part, even kittens that are pretty feral can be brought around fairly quickly with TTouch, especially the ones that are very young. So many of these little ones start out pretty squirmy when I first pick them up, but after a few sessions of TTouch they learn that I am going to touch them in a gentle way and they settle right down in my lap.

This little fluffball above was pretty unsure at first, you can see that her face looks a bit worried. I tend to use a lot of the smaller touches, such as raccoon touches and chimp touches, as kittens are so small, but sometimes I will use some abalone touches (circular touches using the entire hand) as they can be quite warm and comforting.

Little raccoon touches around the outside of the mouth and jaw can also be quite soothing. I know that the little fellow below looks un-soothed and wide-eyed, but I think he was startled by the camera :)

Another thing that I do sometimes, especially with a squirmy kitten, is to wrap the kitten up in a small cloth like a washcloth. I can do touches through the cloth and once they feel comfortable then I can loosen the cloth and do touches directly. The cloth serves as a containing device so that they don't get loose in the shelter and also as a comforting, soft feeling thing similar to a wrap (ace bandage), which we use (mostly on dogs) in a variety of configurations.

hoping for these many cutes ones to be in new homes soon!

Mayor's Alliance Cats thru Tavi & Friends

The other day I went again to do TTouch on some cats through Tavi & Friends, through their TTouch-in-Rescue™ program to provide TTouch® to the animals of one of TaF's partner groups, the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals. These cats are temporarily at a boarding facility until they can be sent to various rescue groups or sent out to an adoption event, etc. Some of them are quite friendly and others need a great deal of socialization.

One of the cats I worked on was Zorro. This was my second session with him. Last month, he had started out at the back of the cage, perhaps because his cage had just been cleaned. This time he came right to the front of the cage to receive some TTouch. I did touches on his head, Noah's marches down his back, clouded leopard touches on his body, and he rolled over and was quite relaxed. He is also a striking-looking boy, as you can see below.

Samantha is a lovely black cat (pictured below), and I think this was the first time I worked with her. Her initial reaction was to run away from me initially, but I slowed myself down and she responded well and relaxed a great deal with slow abalone touches on her body using a long pause at the end of the circle and a quarter. followed by touches around her head. I then gave her a break (during which she crunched away on her food) and came back to her after working on some other cats there. This facility is set up so that cats can be let out of the cage into the middle of the room. I let Samantha out the second time I opened her cage, and she tore around the room a couple of times, then went back to her cage. I found she was much more relaxed and responsive this time when I went to touch her. She was totally comfortable and this time was rubbing herself against my hand as I did TTouches on her head and body. She rolled over onto her side and seemed so cozy!

Samantha reminded me that with cats we need to be so sensitive to their need to take breaks, and being able to let her out of the cage to blow off steam was also very helpful. Each cat has its own tolerance levels as to touch, but for the most part it is beneficial to do a short session, take a break, then come back again. For really scared cats, the sessions can be really short, just a couple of touches. As they always tell us in TTouch, it's moments, not minutes, that matter.

Below you see Samantha in a playful pose, sticking her paw thru the hole in the plexiglass to play.

I then worked on Porter, who I have worked on a couple of times before. He is doing so well. I keep thinking of the image Marge gave me of him scared and crouched in his cage with slits for eyes and a "don't even think about touching me" look. With him, I started out doing raccoon touches all around his head, ear strokes, a few mouth touches, and then little by little began to work in touches down his body, as I still always want to be mindful that he is an especially sensitive cat and it is good to go gradually with him. He settled and relaxed so much while I was working with him.

And, when I went to work on other cats, he kept looking at me thru the hole as pictured below and kept talking to me, so of course I went back to him a second time to give him more TTouch and he was even more relaxed the second time around.

The next cat I worked on was Marty, a lovely black cat I have worked on before. He is still skittish at first, so I started out with him, using the back of the hand of the back scratcher, doing circles on his body. He found this to be relaxing, so I continued this for a bit and he then went to start crunching away on his food, which seems to be a common reaction after receiving TTouch for a while. I am always glad to see that a cat's appetite is good and that they feel comfortable enough to eat.

After giving Marty a break, when I came back to him the second time, he got out of the cage briefly and when he got back in, I was able to do TTouch on him directly with my hand on his head, and some on his body as well. Like Samantha, he seemed to jump to another whole level of comfort the second time around. And he is also curious enough to come to the front of his cage and see what I'm up to when I'm not working on him (as you see below).

The next cat I worked on was Chubby, who is a big sweet boy. The sign on his cage said he is timid but he may just be timid around other cats as he is declawed. I did TTouch on Chubby last time and he seemed to really remember me. He immediately went from sitting to lying down as I did slow abalone touches and clouded leopard touches down his body. His body got increasingly relaxed and he seemed to flatten and spread out on his side. He got SO relaxed that when I stopped, he looked at me as though to say, "where are you going?".

Again, the most challenging cat I worked on there was Isabel. She is increasingly more curious and seems to want contact, she is just afraid of direct contact. I was able to do some little circles on her with a long feather while the cage was open, but what she seemed to feel most comfortable with was having me touch her thru the holes in the cage. I did a few raccoon touches around her mouth and cheek area as she pressed these areas of her face against the hold in the plexi. Later I found out that Mary Bruce, who organizes the TTouch in Rescue, has also touched her in this way so this seems to be a way that she is used to and is comfortable with. I look forward to seeing her again and trying some different tools with her to see if she can have increased comfort with contact.
Thanks all of you, both cats and people, for making this TTouch situation possible. It is a pleasure to see the progress happening with these cats as a result of Mary, Marge and others also working to help socialize these cats.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Garbanzo Teaches Me How to Brush Him :)

My cat Garbanzo led me to TTouch and at 16 years old he still teaches me new things every day.

He gets easily stimulated when I brush him and wants to use the brush for a play toy. After a lot of expermentation, I discovered that the method I show above really works well with him and lets me brush him for a long enough period of time to really get the excess hair off. I use two different brushes, a rubber zoom groom (they make one for cats and one for dogs) and a wire brush (I use a wire brush meant for kittens as it is softer than others). First I do circle and stroke with the rubber brush, then a slow, long stroke down the body with the wire brush. As I am not doing a continual brush, brush, brush, this method is less stimulating and more relaxing. You see him watching me as I do this as I had already been brushing him for a while before I taped him :)