Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bonsai and Nilo - Moving Forward Step by Step

Today I went to work with Bonsai and Nilo, two lovely cats who I have been working with for a few months. Bonsai is a sweet senior Burmese kitty who has had seizures from time to time, and Nilo is a young Bengal with a lot of wild in him.

Bonsai had had a short seizure the day before, so I wanted to do some very gentle work with him, and with Nilo, I am little by little getting him used to being touched by a person other than his human "mom".

Bonsai has a very gentle energy and is extremely sensitive, so it took a little bit to get him to feel comfortable enough to really settle in. So I started out by doing a little TTouch with Bonsai, then a little TTouch with Nilo, alternating back and forth, until Bonsai got to a place where he was very cozy and it felt like he was very ready to receive Reiki. He got onto the cat tree where you see him in the picture below. I began to send him some very gentle Reiki energy from about six inches away, and could see his eyes start to close. I moved my hands a little closer and he adjusted his body til my hands were where he wanted them, just about an inch or two from his body, and near his lower back. Often the animals will show you the part of the body where they would like you to send the energy. I stayed in this position with him for a very long time, feeling a lot of waves of energy and heat. After it felt like the energy was becoming more stabilized, I slowly began to move my hands a bit lower on his back, and I felt quite a bit of heat there, so I stayed there for a while. During the session I slowly moved to several locations on his lower back, then later I focused around his throat chakra and crown chakra, where I was feeling quite a bit of heat and energy. He really settled in during the session, closing his eyes and purring. He looked as though he was being very comforted, and I could feel him absorbing the energy.

When he had enough, he got up and walked away, which happened just as I was wondering if this had been enough for him. He did seem more focused and energized afterwards.

Next I went to work with Nilo. Last time I worked with the cats, Nilo began to respond to circular touches using the wand with an Ace bandage at the end, so that is how I started with him at the beginning of the session, when I was alternating between Nilo and Bonsai. He was pretty receptive to this, rubbing his body against the wand a bit and against nearby furniture, but was only ok with it for a few seconds, then he wanted to move on.

After I worked with Bonsai, Nilo was on his bed which is in a bit of a hidden place behind the couch, as you see him below. This seems to be one of his "safe places". I used my long-handled paintbrush and began to do some circular TTouches on his head, and a few strokes down his body. He really started to settle into this and become more at ease, leaning a bit into the brush. I worked my hand down the brush and began to do chimp TTouches and raccoon TTouches sometimes with the front and sometimes with the back of my finger on his head, around his forehead and around the base of his ears. He responded to that as well, looking very cozy. I did a few strokes down his back as well. I gave him a break, then did this again with him in that location. When he had enough, he got up and moved to a different place. I spoke to his owner for a bit and then he got himself in another one of his safe places, a box-like structure with a hole in it on the cat tree. I was able to do raccoon TTouches with my hand on him in that space as well. It was interesting to see that with both Bonsai and Nilo, I was able to pick up where I had left off with them about a month ago, instead of starting from scratch with them again. With Bonsai I had a longer, more focused Reiki session than I had ever had with him, and with Nilo, I had more direct contact than I had been able to have previously.

Thanks boys! You always teach me so much. I am constantly reminded of how important it is to be patient and truly stay in the moment with animals. This requires a similar type of thinking to that which happens when I am creating art, where you are thinking creatively and trying new approaches as you move along, not being attached to the way you think things should go, but exploring and keeping your eyes always open to new possibilities and ways to approach things.

Friday, January 28, 2011

TTouch with the Mayor's Alliance Cats Jan. 24: Tango, Mittens and Brie

When I went to work with the Mayor's Alliance cats through Tavi & Friends' TTouch-in-Rescue program, a bunch of the cats had been fostered or adopted, so there were not too many cats there. This gave me an opportunity to do longer sessions with the cats, which was great. In a separate blog post, I discussed my work with Pattie, who is really coming around. Below are posts about the other cats.
Tango is a new young kitty who is extremely friendly. Right away he started leaning his head against me, leaning his whole body into me, purring the whole time. As he is quite energetic, I wanted to use touches that were on the more calming side, meaning touches using more of the surface of the hand and/or the back of the hand, so I did a lot of chimp TTouches (circular touches using the back of the fingers), llama TTouches (which use the back of the hand) and abalone TTouches (which use the front of the whole hand). I also started out at a rather medium tempo but then slowed down the tempo of the TTouches as I went, for a calming effect.

When I let him out of the cage to walk around a bit, I noticed that he has something going on with his back legs. He can get around fine, but he sort of swivels his hips to move his hind legs forward, rather than flexing and using the legs in a usual cat way. After the session, I found out that this may be due to a neurological issue.

Mittens is a young, small kitty, looks to be about five months old. She seemed slightly hesitant at first but quickly got extremely friendly and comfortable. I did raccoon TTouches on her forehead, clouded leopard TTouches and chimp TTouches on her body, as well as Noah's marches (strokes which go straight down the body) with the back surface of my hand. She was comfortable and rubbing her head and body into my hand within a very short time. Again, I was trying to slow the TTouches down a bit as I went, for a more soothing effect on the cat.

Brie is a sweet cat but can tend to get over-stimulated. I think that part of that is because she gets so excited to be let out of her cage, that she is more in a mood to run around and play than she is to be touched.

So with Brie I let her run around and play for a bit, then did some TTouches using the back of my hand (llama TTouches), and also did some circular TTouches using a back scratcher, which is a great tool to use if you have a cat who can get over-stimulated, as it provides some distance between you and the cat and lessens the chance of you being scratched if they suddenly get over-stimulated and swat or decide the scratcher is a toy.

TTouch and Reiki at BARC Shelter: Introducing O'Reilly

O'Reilly is a lovely black cat who recently arrived at BARC shelter. He had been in a home, but the owners were moving to a place where they could not bring a cat. He appears to be traumatized being at the shelter and is in an ultra-sensitive state. He is very startled by new people entering the room and by sudden sounds. This is common for many cats when they first arrive at a shelter. Fortunately, gentle TTouch and Reiki can help these cats to feel safe, which ultimately leads them to becoming friendly and more adoptable, which is great for all concerned!

I have been working with O'Reilly very slowly, giving him the gradual pace that he needs, as he seems like a friendly cat but is just hesitant to make contact right away. I often think of working with these animals with a similar approach to that of the Feldenkrais method (after all, TTouch grew out of Feldenkrais) in that I try to find the smallest way of contact that is possible with the animal, then slowly build from there. I feel this is especially important with cats, as they are SO sensitive.

I have been starting out our sessions by sending him Reiki energy from about a foot away. To those unfamiliar with Reiki, it can sound strange that the energy can travel like that but you really can see its effects, particularly with animals, as they are so in tune with energy. When I start to feel the energy flowing to him, he settles down with his paws tucked underneath his body, and his eyes get sleepy-looking. Initially I tried to see if he was comfortable with my hands being closer to him, but it made him jump to feel the energy that close.

After a while, I end the Reiki session and speak to him softly, seeing what he is ready to do. He has been slowly approaching me, rubbing his nose against my hand. I then do a few TTouches on his head using the back of my hand or fingers, and sometimes a stroke down his body with the back of my hand. He has become more and more receptive to this, and now I notice him coming to the front of his cage more, even though he still is startled at sudden sounds. I also notice him coming to the front of his cage to eat after I work with him, which is great! So often what might appear to be small steps are really big steps indeed :)

TTouch and Reiki at BARC Shelter: Boychick

Boychick is a big, gorgeous kitty who arrived recently at BARC shelter in Brooklyn, after his owner had to go into hospice. He is frightened to be in the shelter but gentle and not aggressive. He stays in the back of his cage for the most part and often seems very pulled in.

I have worked with him several times, doing mostly Reiki, as I feel he really is soaking in the energy. I have been doing TTouch with him as well to help his circulation and his connection to his body.

I have felt quite a lot of heat coming from the area of his heart chakra, which makes a lot of sense, so I have focused a lot of attention there. It has felt like my hand is pulled there like a magnet. He does seem calmed by the warm energy. I have also felt my hands gravitate to his back end, or his root chakra. This energy center is important for grounding, so that makes a lot of sense as well. Sometimes with a frightened cat, it is better to keep your hands a distance away, as the energy is too strong for them to handle in an ultra-sensitive state, but Boychik appears to be very comforted by having my hands directly in contact with him. It is so sweet to see him settle into a cozy nap after working with him.

This past Saturday I felt the strongest connection yet with him. I alternated between sending healing energy to his chakras and doing TTouch. This time, in addition to working with the heart chakra, I also spent a lot of time sending energy to the root chakra, which is the area near the base of the spine, and has a lot to do with feeling grounded and feeling safe in the world. This seemed to make a real difference with him. When I was finishing working with him, he opened his eyes and sat straight up in his cage - which was different for him because usually he is lying down at the back of his cage, keeping his head down. He seemed as though he had woken up from a long nap. His eyes were wide-open, alert but not frightened-alert, just focused and open. This was great to see. Later, when other people were petting him, he seemed more responsive than I have seen before. I need to get a new picture of him to put up, the one at the top of this post is a "before" picture :)

Thank you, sweet boy, so glad to see you feeling more comfortable.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

TTouch with the Mayor's Alliance Cats: Pattie, 1-24-11

When I went to do TTouch on the Mayor's Alliance cats through Tavi & Friends' TTouch-in-Rescue program, a bunch of the cats had been adopted or fostered, so there was only a small group left that particular day. That gave me plenty of time for individual attention, which was great. I spent a LOT of time with Pattie, who has little by little been coming out of his shell. I had a great session with him today. This blog post will be dedicated to him, then I will discuss the other cats in a separate post.

As I was able to let the cats out of the cages once again, I did so with Pattie, and he came bounding out. He seemed very eager for contact. He had been watching me as I had been working with the others, sitting in the front of the cage, pressing his paw up against the window of the cage as though he was reaching out to me.

As he has been more comfortable with TTouch from a distance, I continued contact with him in this way (with a long-handled paintbrush), and let him come to me for more direct contact. We began to play a little game where he was weaving in and out between my legs, rubbing up against me, and I began to do circular TTouches on his body as he did this. He responded well to this and began pushing himself into the brush. He also would occasionally play with the paintbrush, so I kept a second paintbrush handy so that if he did this, I could touch him with the other brush. Please click on this youtube video which will show what I did with him. By the end, I was able to touch him on his head and his body with the brush.

Occasionally he would settle a bit and at that point I would do some abalone TTouches and chimp touches on his body, as well as Noah's march (straight strokes down the body). I only did a little at a time with the direct touch, so as not to overwhelm him. He seemed to be both focused and calm when I put him back in his cage. Go Pattie! It is great to see him feeling so much more confident and comfortable.

Monday, January 17, 2011

TTouch and Reiki with the Mayor's Alliance Cats: 1-17-11

When I went to work with the Mayor's Alliance cats through Tavi & Friends' TTouch-in-Rescue program today, the cats still needed to stay in their cages. I did hands-on work with a few of the cats who I knew I could keep in their cages, and I offered Reiki outside of the cages to all of the cats after that.

Johnny (below) is an extremely sociable cat, and was right at the front of his cage, asking for attention. I worked on him in his cage for a short time, doing slow abalone TTouches and llama TTouches, which both use the whole hand and are very comforting. I also picked him up and held him for a bit. Then I returned him to his cage.

Next, I worked with Jack, Andy, and Max II (the cats in the three pix below), who are all in the same cage. I opened the cage just a little bit, so as to not let them out, and would do little circular TTouches on whoever came near me. They were very excited to have contact, so I used touches with the back of my hand (which are less stimulating) like the llama TTouch and the chimp TTouch, as well as TTouches using my whole hand, like the llama and abalone TTouch, as these are generally more calming than stimulating. All three were more relaxed afterwards, and began to groom themselves.

Above: Jack, Below: Andy

Below: Max II
Pattie (below), who started out VERY shy a few weeks back, has been getting more and more comfortable. He still can tend to swat if you approach her directly with your hand, but it seems that he is craving touch, as he always comes to the front of his cage to watch when I am working on the other cats (see photo below), and when I open the cage and simply talk to him, he approaches me and/or starts rolling on his back or stretching out on his back, stretching his paw to me. I did some circular TTouches on him using a paintbrush, as he still seems to be more comfortable with a little distance in between me and him.

Brie always comes bounding out of her cage when I open it, so I only worked on her from outside the cage, sending Reiki. It took a while for her to settle, but once I moved further away from her to send the Reiki, she was more calmed by that position, and settled eventually into a sleepy mode.

At the end of the session, I stood in the middle of the room to send Reiki energy to all the cats, imagining Reiki coming out of my whole body. I felt my hands pulsing very strongly, and also began to feel light and energy coming from my whole body. I very calm feeling spread throughout the room, and by the end, all the cats were either napping, stretched out, or grooming themselves.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

TTouch and Reiki at BARC: Roberta

Roberta is a lovely young kitty at BARC shelter. She arrived at the shelter some time ago and gave birth to kittens. The kittens have since been weaned and adopted. I just recently started working with her as it appeared that she could be a bit moody -- not aggressive, she would just tell you when she had enough attention -- and seemed to only want to be touched a little bit at a time. The first couple of times I worked with her, I just did a little TTouch with her, mostly touching her on the head as it seemed she was very sensitive, and I would close her cage after just a few minutes, as I didn't want to over-do it.
It had been a week or so since I had said hello to her, so one day last week I again pulled up a chair next to her cage. I put the chair sideways to the cage, as it is much less threatening to approach an animal who might be a bit shy from a sideways position than from a straight-on position. When I opened her cage, she surprised me by coming right out of her cage and onto my lap, purring. I offered her Reiki, placing my hands on the brachial chakras (or energy centers), which are two points near each shoulder. She settled in this position for a few minutes, still purring, and I did some TTouch on her head as well. Not wanting to push my luck, I didn't keep her out too long, so I put her back into her cage after a few minutes.
I'm not sure what accounted for the change in her energy and attitude towards me, but it felt like she was seeking out the energy healing. I have been doing a lot of very quiet but intense energy work especially on a couple of cats whose cages are pretty much directly across from her, so it could be that she was picking up on this energy.
I have worked with her several times since then, and each time I go near her cage now, she comes right to the front, seeking attention. And when I open the cage she comes right out onto my lap, purring. Each time I work with her, she settles in my lap for a longer and longer time, and she is really responding to Reiki, especially in the brachial chakra area. It often feels like my hands are glued there, she is absorbing the energy so much.
It is wonderful to see her feeling so much more relaxed and at ease - here's to a forever home for this lovely cat very soon!

TTouch and Reiki at BARC Shelter: Waldorf

Waldorf is such an appealing cat, he reminds me of a little teddy bear. He has such a sweet, gentle energy. He arrived along with a bunch of other cats a ways back after his owner passed away.

When he first arrived, he was quite shy, staying to the back of his cage. He was never aggressive, he would just sometimes move away from you when you wanted to touch him. Little by little, he grew more comfortable being touched, and would come forward a bit as I did TTouches on him. I would still approach him with a very quiet energy though, as he could become easily startled. I also would do just a few TTouches on him at a time, then give him a break, then try again.

One day I brought in some Liv-a-Littles chicken treats, which were suggested to me a ways back by my friend from the Homeless Cat Network, Cookie. These treats can often break the ice with the shyest of cats. He went crazy for these treats and began coming to the front of his cage for the treats. I would give a treat, then do some TTouch on him, then offer him another treat. It was not long before he began to hang in the front of his cage more and more. For one thing, he was getting used to associating people approaching him with something he liked.

Then, a few days ago, he was moved from a cage on the bottom level to a cage on the top level. This move seemed to provide another level of comfort for him, as now he is constantly coming to the very front of his cage, rubbing himself against the bars and asking for attention. And, when you approach him with your hand, he will lean into it, instead of sometimes being hesitant or moving away.

In addition, ut seems he has made the cat in the cage right next to him much more comfortable as a result of his comfort level. His neighbor is a young cat who came in very terrified and now she is also coming to the front of the cage and rubbing against the bars, just like him.

Thank you Waldorf, and thank you also to the kind staff and volunteers at BARC shelter who have helped to socialize Waldorf. Here's hoping for a forever home for you very soon!

TTouch and Reiki at BARC Shelter: Lexington

Lexington is a big, regal-looking cat who recently arrived at BARC shelter in Brooklyn. At first he seemed quite at ease, but then we realized he can get over-stimulated and suddenly get very irritated. My sense is that it is hard for him to be in the shelter, and he appears to not be comfortable around other cats. I wanted to see what I could do to calm him.

I have a pair of gloves that are a mixture of rubber and cloth - I still have a lot of mobility with them, but they do protect me from a cat who may scratch, so I have been using them with him lately, just in case. I decided to try doing some circular TTouches on him using a back scratcher that I have that is a little different in that the hand at the end of the scratcher looks more like a small hand (the fingers are spread out instead of all being straight in a line). I did the touches on him using the back of the small hand. This provides some distance between me and the cat, so that we both can feel safe. I started out with doing some small circular touches on the top of his head. Almost immediately, I felt an energy shift with him, and I felt myself calm down as I felt his energy change. He went from an irritated energy to a smooth, sleepy energy. I continued, and did some strokes with the back of the hand of the scratcher down his back, then did circles and strokes on his back with the scratcher. Over the past week, we have done several sessions in this way and it really does change his energy. I think that after a while, it will get him used to reacting to touch in this way, instead of the irritated/overstimulated response.
Thank you for trusting me, Lexington, and I look forward to working with you more!

Friday, January 14, 2011

TTouch and Reiki at BARC Shelter: Update on Animal

Animal is a very petite tortie kitty at BARC Shelter. She arrived at the shelter a few months ago after her owner passed away. She has had ongoing digestive issues, and has been receiving medication and a special diet for that as well as other health issues. She is also blind in one eye, and quite a shy girl. I think the blindness makes her more fearful, and it seems to be scary when she sees a hand come towards her. For a long time, due to the shyness and probably also due to not feeling so well, one would often see her in the back of the cage and in a rather hunched up position.

I have been working very intensively with her since she arrived at BARC, using both TTouch and Reiki, so I have been able to observe emotional as well as physical changes as they have happened along the way. I have also quite often sent her distant healing. I am so happy to say that recently she appears to feel so much better physically and emotionally. The medication and diet has been helping her to feel better, which took a while, but she recently seems to be really turning the corner, which is such a pleasure to see.

I have done a lot of Reiki work with her, helping to balance her chakras (energy centers). Until recently, I mostly found heat around the areas dealing with digestion, so I would mostly concentrate there. The past few times, though, the heat shifted to her throat and crown area, so I have been focusing my work there. The throat chakra has to do with expression, the crown chakra has to do with our spiritual nature and connection to the universe. These areas can be hard for a shy cat to tolerate someone's hands, but as I placed my hands near these chakras, slightly away from the body, she settled right in and began to stretch her body out, stretching her paw out towards me as well. This was a very new body posture for her.

The first day I did this, shortly after my session with her, I was working with a cat across the room from her and suddenly I heard a little meow and cat-chirpy sound (that brring! sound that cats can make). I looked around, and discovered it was coming from Animal. This was the first time I ever heard her utter a sound. I looked at her to make sure she was not in distress, and she looked at me as though she was fine, she was just surprised at herself. This same thing has happened the two days following that when I have focused on these chakras. It is very interesting to see. In general, she appears to be coming out of her closed-up state. When I do TTouch on her, she more quickly becomes relaxed and begins to rub her head against the bars of the cage and against my hand. She is also hanging out in the front of the cage more often. Though she is still afraid of a hand suddenly coming towards her, once she realizes it is a gentle, friendly person who is touching her, she quickly becomes responsive.

I especially noticed heat from the crown chakra yesterday when I was working with her, so I stayed there for a while. This feels like it makes so much sense, that she is ready to connect more fully with the universe. Thank you to all the BARC staff and volunteers for all the extra help and love they have given to this cat, and I hope for her to have a connection with the perfect person or people who will give this special being a forever home when the moment is right. Much love to you, Animal!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

TTouch and Reiki at BARC Shelter: Adele B

Adele B is a beautiful senior cat at BARC Shelter in Brooklyn. I have to get better pictures of this beautiful cat, but hopefully these blurry pics will capture this gentle cat's essence. She has hyperthyroidism so is on medication for that. She has a gentle, quiet energy so I approached her very slowly and gently so as not to overwhelm her.

I started out by doing a few circular TTouches on her head, then a few gentle strokes down her body. I stopped and started a few times, giving her breaks, and spoke to her in a soft voice.

I then began to offer her Reiki, and could feel the energy pouring from my hands into her body. She grew extremely comfortable and stretched out, relaxing her body right into my hands. Sometimes if an animal is extremely comfortable in one Reiki hand position, I will keep my hands there for the whole time, as it can sometimes feel too jolting to move. I felt like my hands were pulled to her body, and I could feel the quiet energy going to her and back to me in waves. When it felt like it had been enough, I thanked her and gently moved my hands away, still feeling the quiet.

Since that session, I did another session with her, the same thing happening, where she relaxed right into my hands. Some of the cats in the shelter especially seem to crave the comfort of the warm energy and stillness. Thank you Adele B - and I hope a kind person will come soon to offer you a forever home :)

Shows of Understanding and Trust: Walina and Camilla at BARC Shelter

Sometimes when I am at the shelter, I want to help the cats in ways that may, in the moment, not be so comfortable, but will ultimately bring them relief. Often, I sense that the animals understand that I am trying to help them, and instead of resisting and pulling away, they relax and cooperate. Following are two recent examples of this.

Walina (above) is a sweet kitten, perhaps about 5-6 months old, who recently arrived at BARC shelter after being retrieved from within the walls of Assemblyman Joe Lentol's office (story at She has a very gentle, sweet personality, and came right onto my lap after I opened her cage. I did some gentle strokes and TTouch on her, and in the process of that, I discovered she had a giant mat in her fur, which must have been pulling at her, as it was very close to the skin. I really didn't want to startle her, but I did want to remove the mat. I was given a pair of scissors, and, speaking very gently to her, put two fingers around the matt, in between her skin and where the scissors were, so I had no chance of cutting her. I was surprised that at this point she didn't flinch at all, as this was definitely starting to pull on her skin. She remained curled up, completely relaxed in my lap. In a few cuts, I had cut the biggest part of the mat completely off. A few small tangled matted areas remained, and so with my fingers I began to separate and untangle these small matted places. This took a while to accomplish, and all the while, she remained relaxed and still for me. After about ten minutes, the whole area was completely tangle-free. I thanked her for being such a great sport, and kept her for a while on my lap, and she took a little nap there. Especially after what this small being had been through, I was really touched by her trust as I did this.

Another sweet cat who has shown this cooperation and trust is Camilla. Recently I had to comb out her tail, as her fur had become tangled there. I have worked with Camilla a lot, so she is very comfortable with me, but can be sensitive about things such as having nails clipped etc. However, she seemed to know that I was going to help her feel better as I gently brushed and combed her tail, then cleaned it with a wipe. This process took about ten minutes, which can seem like a long time. At first I wasn't sure how she was going to react, but I think she must have sensed that this would make her more comfortable, so she curled up and relaxed on my lap as I did this. After I finished, I thanked her and did some TTouch and Reiki with her so she could end up on a very relaxed note.
Many thanks to these sweet cats and to the other animals who teach me so much every day.

Monday, January 10, 2011

TTouch and Reiki with Mayor's Alliance Cats: Jan. 3 and Jan. 10

When I went to work with the Mayor's Alliance cats Jan 3 and 10 through Tavi & Friends' TTouch-in-Rescue program, I was told not to let the cats out of their cages, as some of them were on medication, etc and they didn't want to risk spreading germs.
Most of these cats are used to coming out into the middle of the room when I open their cages, so this was a bit of a challenge.

Johnny is a super-friendly, sweet cat and loves to have attention. I tried working with him, keeping him inside of his cage, doing slower, more comforting TTouches like the abalone TTouch, which uses the whole hand. He was frustrated that he couldn't come out of his cage though, so I decided after a bit to close his cage and offer him Reiki from outside his cage, standing a couple of feet away.

I felt Reiki pouring out of my hands, and within a short amount of time, Johnny became quite relaxed, and started doing the relaxed, goofy poses which you see in these pictures. He looked so comfortable! I did the same thing with him on Jan. 10 as well, first working on him in his cage for a brief bit, then offering Reiki outside of the cage.

Pattie (below) is still acting shy, and didn't try to come out of his cage on Jan 3, so I offerened him Reiki from about a foot away with his cage open, speaking to him in a soft voice. He stretched out toward me and was looking right at me, so I was sensing that he was craving contact, just wary of it.

It is interesting that he looks right at me when I am working with other cats in the room, as though he is craving contact, and picking up on energy I am sending to the other cats as well. After sending Reiki to Pattie with the cage open, later on I sent Reiki to him outside of the cage, and he got quite sleepy and relaxed.
On Jan. 10, I tried working with him a bit using two long feathers. If he played with one feather, I did a few circles and strokes on him with the other. He was mostly interested in playing, but that was good in itself, to have him comfortable engaging with me in that way. After I did this, then I offered him Reiki, which made him very relaxed, and he stretched out and closed his eyes.

Max (below) is a playful little guy, so I decided to only work with him outside of the cage, sending him Reiki from there. These cats sense the energy so quickly, and I could sense his relaxation, plus the growing trend of relaxation in the room as I sent him Reiki, as the other cats in the room were picking up on the energy. On Jan. 10, he was no longer there as he had been fostered or adopted.

Andy, Jack and Max II - two tabby and white cats and a black cat, pictured in the several pix below, are in the same cage, near max, and they began to pick up on the Reiki energy as well. I moved closer to where their cages were and sent them Reiki as well. All three of them are quite playful and love to come out of the cage for contact, so it took a while for their energy to calm,

but after a bit you could see that their energy was slowing down, and they began to groom themselves and stretch out. Jan. 10, I did the same thing with them, with the same result.

Both days ended up with them looking quite cozy indeed.

Even Brie (pictured below), who loves to play and waits at the front of her cage, as pictured below, began to respond to Reiki after a while. I told her, as well as the other cats, that I was sorry I couldn't let them out today, and they did seem to understand. I stayed further away from Brie than from the other cats, as I thought if I got too near to her cage, she would expect that I was going to open it up to let her out, so I didn't want to lead her on. It was the same story with Charles, who is a very affectionate cat (sorry I didn't get a pic of him). At first he was pawing at his page to get out but by the end of my session with the cats, he had settled down along with the rest of them. I did the same thing with Brie and Charles on both of these days.

I ended up the session on both days pretty much in the middle of the room, feeling Reiki energy coming out of my whole body, sending it to all of the cats, sending light and healing energy to them.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Reiki with the Bison in San Francisco

Hi folks, recently I was out in San Francisco, and we had a chance to go visit the bison in Golden Gate Park. It was a very windy day, but the sun was out, and as I stood near the bison enclosure, I sent Reiki to the bison, and felt the energy travel from my hands to them, and I was able to get a sense of their energy as well. They seemed to be so peaceful there, enjoying the sun and munching away on the grass, and I was able to feel their quiet, gentle energy, and as I did this I felt my own energy slow down. It is so important to remember this calm, especially while living in New York City!

I know the above picture looks a bit humorous. These three looked like they had found the perfect warm, soft place in the grass and they didn't want to move.

Below is a little video of them. I wish I could have gotten in closer to shoot this, but you can still get a sense of their calm. I am always reminded of how much we can learn from animals about enjoying the moment.

TTouch and Reiki at BARC: Statler Comes to the Front of the Cage

Statler is a beautiful, long-haired cat at BARC Shelter in Brooklyn. He arrived at the shelter after his owner passed away. Doesn't he look like a very wise being?

He is quite a shy cat -- never aggressive, never even a hint of biting or scratching -- but until recently he has always liked to stay in the back of his cage, though he is comfortable with you reaching back to work with him. I have done a lot of TTouch and Reiki with him, and other staff and volunteers at BARC pet him to make him feel more at ease. It is such a pleasure to see him becoming more comfortable every day that I see him. Very often, I focus on TTouches which connect the front of his body with the back of his body, or little raccoon TTouches on his lower back. Usually, when the back part of his body feels more relaxed and released, his whole body and personality is ready to come forward for more contact.

This week, almost immediately after opening Statler's cage and beginning to touch him, he came right to the front of his cage to give me a nuzzle and a kiss. What a great thing this is to see!
In addition to his greater comfort being a wonderful thing, it also improves his chances for going to a home if he is comfortable enough to come to the front of his cage.

You can see a clip of me working with Statler at the following youtube link:

I do a lot of zigzag ttouches with him. Please keep in mind that I am not pushing hard into his body, but using a light touch going over his body, which helps to activate his nervous system and to increase his body awareness.
Above and below you see photos of him right at the front of his cage to receive attention. Go Statler!! Hoping for a forever home soon for this gentle soul.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

TTouch and Reiki with Mayor's Alliance Cats: December 20

Today when I worked on the Mayor’s Alliance cats thru Tavi and Friends TTouch-in-rescue program, I decided to try a new tool with shy kitty Serena. As she has been extremely responsive to the long-handled paintbrush, I decided to try something with a shorter handle, so I brought a soft hairbrush with me. I started out by doing circles and strokes with the paintbrush (using the tip of the brush, the side of the brush, and even the side of the handle of the brush), and, as usual, she started purring, rubbing herself against the brush, against her cage, and walking toward me. I tried the soft brush as well, and she responded to that well also, pushing her body into the brush, and even at times pushing her body into my hand, so I was able to get in some circular TTouches on her body using my hand as well. It really is a pleasure to see her feeling more comfortable.

Charles is a young little tabby who always can’t wait to come out of his cage for contact, he’s always purring away, rubbing himself against me. On him I did connected clouded leopard TTouches going down his body and then a few very small circles with the tail when my hand reached the end of his body. I will have to get a video up of the tail circles, as it is important to stress that the movement is very small, and I am either barely holding his tail or making a circle with my index finger and thumb around the tail, gently moving the tail in a circle and a quarter, pausing, then doing a circle and a quarter.

Pattie still seems traumatized and will flinch if you try to touch him, so I simply offered Reiki to him from a short distance away. As I did this, he became very comfortable, laying on his back and coming to the front of the cage after a while. I tried a couple of times to see if he would be more comfortable being touched after receiving Reiki, but he still was frightened, so, as the TTouch saying goes, “Meet them where they are”. You have to always remain in the moment and be sensitive to what the animal is ready for.

Brie was actually more friendly and seeking of attention than usual. Most often, when I open her cage, she is more interested in running around, playing with the scratching post and toys rather than being touched, and she can often get over-stimulated easily. But today she came towards me, so I did some clouded leopard and chimp TTouches along the sides of her back, and also tried a few tail circles with her. I kept the session short, not wanting to push the issue with her too much.

Johnny is a totally love and wanted to be held a bit, so I did some TTouches on him while holding him, then let him onto the floor, where I sat with him and did some more TTouches – abalone, clouded leopard TTouches and then ear slides. Some cats do not like to have their ears touched but he is very comfortable with this.

Max II is SO much more comfortable this week, and surprised me by putting his face directly in my face, rubbing his head against my face. He also wanted to be held, so I sat on the couch with him in my lap and did TTouches with him there. He went from being a bit reticent last week to being literally right in my face this week, and so full of love to give.
Above: Max II with Jack

As for Jack and Andy (not sure which is which, but for now I'll call the smaller one Andy), Jack (above) again was more friendly than Andy, and this time he wasn’t hesitant at all, really responded to abalone touches and Tarantula pulling the Plough – he laid right on his side and his back, very at ease. Andy (below) is still shy but gentle and sweet. I went very slowly with him and did touches and strokes using the back of my hand.
I look forward to working with these kitties more in the new year!