Tuesday, June 8, 2010

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.

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