Monday, April 25, 2011

TTouch with Mayor's Alliance Cats: April 25

It is always a pleasure to go to work on the Mayor's Alliance rescue cats. Today was especially exciting because Lee (above) is getting so much more comfortable and confident in such a short time!

Lee hissed today when I first opened his cage, so I started out with him doing TTouches with a paintbrush. He quickly became VERY comfortable, coming out of his cage into the room, purring and rubbing against me as I did chimp, abalone, and clouded leopard Ttouches on him. I also did very gentle hair slides on his head and body. He came up on the couch with me briefly for TTouch, though he seemed to prefer if I sat on the floor with him and waited for him to come up to me to do TTouch for a bit, then he would walk away for a break, then come back again. He has come such a long way in such a short time! He is so filled with love, and the more he comes out of his shell, he seems to be just so eager to share it :)

Honey is a lot more comfortable now, though she is still somewhat on alert, and can get startled at times. So the best strategy with her is to open her cage, wait and let her come to me for TTouch, instead of reaching out to her. With her, I do just a little bit of TTouch, give her a break, let her walk away if she needs to, then when she comes back, try again. Hair slides, raccoon Ttouches on her forehead, and clouded leopard TTouches going down the side of her body are what she responds to most.

Blackie is an extremely sweet cat but can get over-stimulated with too much TTouch done directly with your hand, so I used the jelly scrubber with her. The jelly scrubber is a horse-grooming tool but it works very well for doing TTouch as well. You can do the circular TTouches with them, as well as plain strokes. This can be a nice way to introduce a cat to the idea of being brushed, as it is very gentle. Blackie really settled with the jelly scrubber TTouches today – I did a circle, a long stroke down the body, paused, then did it again, etc.

Buddy, who is FIV positive, is extremely gentle and sweet, he's like a fuzzy teddy bear. I discovered today that he can be very playful as well! He particularly responds to hair slides and raccoon TTouches.

Blackie 2 (above) and Kitty (below), who started out being a bit shy, have gotten so much more comfortable. Both of them came up to me and rubbed against my hand. Kitty put her pays up on my chest and came out onto my lap. I did clouded leopard TTouches and raccoon TTouches on her head, as well as some ear strokes, done very slowly, and she settled right into my arms.
Blackie 2 didn’t come out of his cage yet but he was completely at ease with me, totally settling while I did connected clouded leopard TTouches going down his body, as well as earstrokes.

Next I worked with Hank, who looks a bit like Kitty!

Hank (above) is very sweet, and is very responsive to any of the TTouches, with him, the more, the better. He is very humorous as well. Today he was doing somersaults in his cage, trying to get my attention!

Maddie is a character, she is so friendly and so excited to come out of her cage for attention that she drools, dripping as she walks along, purring. Hair slides and ear strokes were particularly calming for her, enabling her to settle a bit with me. I also did what is called a “coiled python”, meaning you do a circle, followed by a stroke.

Marette is very sweet and seeks attention, but she is still a bit afraid of it. So with her, I did TTouches using the back scratcher, which is less threatening than using the hand directly, and she was comfortable with this. Sorry about the blurry picture, she is still a bit skittish so is often on the move!

Pedro is also super-friendly and can be a bit overwhelming with his energy. Today, however, I decided to start out with Reiki instead of TTouch. I focused primarily on his heart and solar plexus chakras. This was so calming to him that he completely settled on my lap as though I was at home with him. Great to see this guy, who can get a bit worked up, completely let go.

Spock came right out of his cage and settled right on my lap, purring. He really settled there as I did slow abalone TTouches on him, as well as ear strokes. Ear strokes can be so important for calming cats, as there are many acupressure points in the ear.

Thanks, guys and gals! look forward to seeing you soon unless you are fostered or adopted, which would be great! xo

Monday, April 18, 2011

TTouch and Reiki with the Mayor's Alliance Cats: April 17

Today when I went to work with the Mayor's Alliance rescue cats through Tavi & Friends' TTouch-in-Rescue program, it was shortly before the cages were cleaned, so I worked with Lee, Kitty and Blackie 2 before she started, as she was going to let the rest of the cats out of the cages all at once, and these three cats are now a bit too shy to mingle with the others.

Kitty (above and below) and Blackie 2 (below) are both very sweet, and friendly once they get to know you, but they start out shy, at the back of the cage. As I quietly did clouded leopard TTouches and chimp Ttouches on them, they soon came forward towards the front of the cage, and began to nuzzle right into my hands. They are pretty new there, so they presently appear to be most comfortable if you work with them while they stay in their cage.

Lee is coming along so well and becoming more at ease all the time. He was sitting at the back of the cage in the litter box initially (below) but once I began to do some circular TTouches on him using a plastic back scratcher, he quickly came forward in his cage and it became clear that he was comfortable with me TTouching him directly with my hand. I first did TTouches which use the back surface of my hand (llama TTouch, chimp TTouch, Noah's march using the back of my hand), as these TTouches are less intense than those using the front surfaces of the hand and fingers.

Today Lee came out of the cage altogether and was very interested to look around at his surroundings and at the other cats, which felt like a brave step forward for him. He head-butted me for TTouch, and was very comfortable and responsive to TTouches. He also was perfectly fine with me gently picking him up to return him to his cage (though he did seem to want to stay out of the cage!). I always tell a cat if I am going to pick them up, letting them know in a very calm voice.

After this, the rest of the cats were released from their cages out into the room.

Maddie is just as sweet as can be, she comes right up to me for TTouch, and is so excited that she starts to drool. I did clouded leopard TTouches going down each side of her back, as well as ear strokes. Then I did zigzag TTouches very slowly with her, and these seemed to calm her energy as I did them. The zigzag TTouches also connect all the parts of the body, so they can bring an over-excited animal back into its body - but they need to be done slowly in that case. If an animal is over-stimulated and apt to bite or scratch, I would usually not do a zigzag TTouch initially, but Maddie is friendly and not aggressive. Her little face really steals my heart too, I have to admit!

Pedro is very sweet to people but he can be a bit overwhelming and bossy to the other cats, especially if he senses that they are a bit shy - and of course since he is such a strong character, a couple of the shyer cats like Nene and Marette are a bit afraid of him, so we had to keep our eye on him a bit when he's out with the other cats.

Pedro sat with me on the couch as I did slow abalone TTouches with him, which were very calming to him. He settled right on my lap as I did this.

Mishu is a friendly young cat but gets a little overwhelmed when he's out with all the other cats, which is why you see him underneath the furniture here! I held him briefly and did clouded leopard TTouches with him as well as earstrokes, which he found to be calming.

Nene (below) also gets intimidated by some of the other cats, but he is very comfortable with me, as I have worked with him for some weeks now. So I did slow abalone TTouches with him while he was on the couch, and he settled close to me for a while.

Spock is an extremely friendly cat, and he settled with me on the couch as I did ear TTouches, zigzag and clouded leopard TTouches on his body and raccoon TTouches on his head. He was very responsive and cuddled against me as I did this.

I worked with Buddy after the other cats were put back in their cages, as he is FIV positive. He is an extremely gentle soul, and I generally do very slow, calming abalone TTouches (which use the surface of the whole hand) on his body and chimp TTouches and ear strokes on his head.
Look forward to seeing you all soon, kitties!

TTouch and Reiki with the Mayor's Alliance Cats: April 11

When I went to work with the Mayor's Alliance cats today thru Tavi and Friends' TTouch-in-Rescue program, there were some new cats there, as well as some who I have worked with for a while. Above is Blackie 2, who was in a cage with a grey and white kitty named Kitty. They are both a little on the reticent side, so I began working with them by doing TTouch using a feather. Blackie 2 responded to the feather, and started rubbing her body into the touch. I did some Ttouch with my hand as well, and she was quite comfortable with that, but was hesitant to come out of the cage and into the room. Kitty also responded really well to the feather and then to TTouches directly with my hand. She came out of the cage, but was a bit startled once she got out, walking very low to the ground. She was more comfortable being touched inside the cage.

Hank (above) is also new, and he looks a little wistful here, but he is actually extremely friendly and outgoing. As I wasn't sure what his personality was at first, I began with him using touches with the back of my hand, such as the chimp touch and the llama TTouch, followed by Noah's March (straight stroke using the back of my hand).

Honey is very sweet, and is becoming more outgoing. She can get over-stimulated though, so with her I also used TTouches with the back of my hand - chimp TTouch, llama TTouch, then Noah's march using the back of my hand. I give her a lot of breaks, waiting for her to be ready, and this works very well with her.

Lee is a new guy, with such a sweet, endearing face. He was frozen, terrified in his litter box when I first opened the cage. You can see a clip which shows my work with him from this week and next week (yes, I'm a bit behind on my posts!) at my youtube site at

I started out with him by using the back scratcher, doing little circles and strokes on his head at a very slow tempo, on his forehead and ears. I gave him frequent breaks. As I worked with him, I felt his ears soften and his face began to look more calm. Later on, I worked with him again and he REALLY responded to the back scratcher this time, rubbing against it. Gradually I could touch both his head and his body using the back scratcher (initially his body had been frozen stiff and he had been growling and hissing), and he even came forward in the cage and out of the litter box, continuing to rub his head against the back scratcher and against the cage.

Maddie is so sweet and funny, she gets so excited about coming out of the cage for contact that she starts drooling. I did chimp TTouch and clouded leopard TTouch as she walked back and forth across my lap, purring and drooling all the while. She would bump her head up against my hand as well.

Marette is very sweet, but is still a little shy. She can get nervous easily, so I do a few TTouches on her, stop, give her a break, then try again. The Ttouch she responded to most today was the chomp TTouch on her head and a bit on her body, followed by Noah's March using the back of my hand.

Mishu is a gentle, friendly kitten. She was purring the entire time. I did chimp TTouches on her, as well as ear strokes, and she was pushing her body into the touches as I did them.

Munchie is getting more and more friendly. He still can start out a little shy, or swat a bit since he is playful, so I start out with him using a paintbrush or other tool, then do TTouch on him directly with my hand.

Nene is so gentle and sweet. As he can be a bit on the timid side, the TTouches he responds to best are the abalone TTouches, which use the whole hand and can be very comforting.

Spock is an extremely affectionate cat, also quite an inquisitive cat. He came right out of his cage and onto my lap as I sat on the couch. I did TTouch on his head, connected chimp touches down each side of his body and he stretched out and became quite relaxed.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

TTouch and Reiki at BARC Shelter: Heidi

Heidi is a very dear, petite little kitty at BARC Shelter in Brooklyn. When I first began to work with her, she was pretty much frozen, curled up in her litter box. Since she gave a little hiss initially, I first did TTouch on her using a paintbrush, then transitioned to using my hand. I also did some gentle Reiki with her.

As with many cats, she was more comfortable being touched on the head than on the body at first, so that is where I focused first.

In the picture above, I am doing little raccoon TTouches on the back of her neck area. This can be a great area to work, as it gets very tight on a nervous cat, and I think cats in cages in general can get a lot of tension back there. As always, I was using a very light pressure. Cats are so sensitive that in general I am using extremely light pressure, just enough to move the skin around in a circle and a quarter. You can get a sense of how light this can be by taking a finger and moving the skin on your hand around in a circle and a quarter.- not pushing down into the skin, just touching it and moving it around in a circular motion.

Around the mouth area and under the chin is often a great area to work with a cat as well. In the photo above, I am doing circular TTouches using the back of my finger. This is not an official TTouch, but it is one that I use often on frightened cats. I am gently moving the skin outside the mouth in a circle and a quarter, then sliding my finger a little ways towards the jaw, doing another circular touch there, etc. Back surfaces of the finger or hand are less intense than front surfaces, so this worked quite well with Heidi. She started to be responsive by rubbing her face against my finger and hand.

This is another hand position I used in order to do some circular TTouches around the outside of the mouth and jaw area. As one is a bit limited in space when working on an animal in a cage, I have to adjust myself to that situation.

Above is a photo of Heidi looking more relaxed - she was leaning her head into my touch by this point. The above photos were taken during two different sessions two days apart. During the second session, I also worked in some very lightly-done zigzag touches and other touches on the body, just a little at a time, then going back to touching the head, as that was where her comfort zone was.

Above is Heidi a couple of days after those first sessions. Here, she is comfortable enough to lay completely on her side. At one point she stretched all the way out, showing me her stomach. Her eyes are more open and relaxed here. Again, I started with TTouches on her head area and then worked in some TTouches on the body as I went along. She still sometimes gets startled or confused, sometimes making a sound that sounds like a combination growl and purr, simultaneously leaning into the touch, so I do still give her frequent breaks so as not to overwhelm her. She is still tending to stay at the back of the cage, but is definitely much more comfortable, and is more at ease having other volunteers touch her as well, which is terrific.

Thank you Heidi, look forward to seeing you soon -- and thanks to all the lovely staff and volunteers who help Heiki and the other animals to feel better every day :)

Friday, April 8, 2011

TTouch and Reiki at BARC: Update on Dr. Teeth

Dr. Teeth is an extremely shy cat who has been at BARC shelter for some time, and I have been working with her very gradually. She gets to little plateaus, then after a while breaks through to another level. This is all with baby steps, but all those steps add up!

Lately she has started to come to the front of her cage to greet me. I have found that she is still startled to have a hand reach towards her initially, so I start out doing little circles and strokes on her back using a paintbrush. I don't stick the paintbrush directly at her, I sit sideways to the cage and put the brush in at an angle to her. After she is comfortable, then I can transition to doing TTouches on her directly with my hands.

Last Saturday, I showed some of the volunteers how to use some of the TTouch tools, like back scratchers and paintbrushes, and so Dr. Teeth was touched by a bunch of different people, most of whom had been scared to try to touch her before, as she will generally hiss at an unfamiliar person if they stick their hand right in the cage toward her. But she became quite comfortable with all these different people, as they were using a gentler approach, and weren't trying to touch her directly with their hands. She is generally more comfortable being touched on her body than her head, but has been starting to be comfortable with a few touches around her forehead, ears and back of her neck.

Then Tuesday, when I went to see her, again I started with the paintbrush. When I started doing TTouches on her using my hand, first I started on her body, as usual, then transitioned to doing some TTouches around her head. Then I started to try some little TTouches around her cheek and whisker area, which is an area she is generally not comfortable (unlike many cats). But this time she actually started to respond to my touch, rubbing her face a bit against my hand. This was really a breakthrough for her, and it was so dear to see her relax enough to really enjoy and respond. If you look at her face in the photo in this post and then compare it to some of the past posts, you can see a more gentle, relaxed expression. And what is so sweet is that as you work with a fearful cat like her, the more she relaxes, the closer you can get to her and the more you feel her true personality emerging.

I look forward to seeing her soon, and to sharing more about TTouch with the wonderful volunteers at BARC.

Camilla and Animal: Reconnecting

Camilla (above) and Animal (below) both arrived at BARC shelter a few months back along with a bunch of other cats after their owner passed away. I have worked with both of them a lot, as they have both had ongoing digestive issues and Animal is also quite shy. She is blind in one eye and seems to be partially blind in the other, so her depth perception is not so good, so she can get startled very easily. They are both in a lot better shape now, and Animal has become a lot more comfortable being touched as well. The other day, they were put into a cage together. I came in a couple of days after this was done, and they still did not look at ease being in the cage together. Camilla was especially agitated. When she had been in her old cage, which was on a lower level, she would always come out onto people's laps for attention, but when I took her out of the new cage (which is on a top level) and began to put her on my lap to do TTouch, she started hissing at the other cats in the vicinity, and seemed nervous, so I put her back in her cage and gave her a bit of a break so she could settle down. When I opened the cage again, Camilla started acting as she usually does with me, rubbing against my hand as I did TTouch. I worked with her for a while, then worked with Animal. Next I decided to try working with both cats at once. Since both cats are used to me and friendly with me, I thought that perhaps if I did this, they would both calm down and maybe a connection would be established that could connect all three of us. I started doing zigzag TTouches on both cats (one hand on each cat), which is a TTouch that they both really respond to, and it is a great TTouch to help connect all the parts of the body. They both started rubbing against my hand and became very comfortable. The food bowl is towards the center of the cage, more on Camilla's side, and during this time they each came to eat from the food bowl, which was great to see that they were at ease enough to do this. After all those zigzag TTouches, my hands were very warmed up and buzzing. I decided to try something I had not tried before. I began to do Reiki simultaneously with both cats, one hand on each cat. I felt my feet very firmly in the ground, light coming through the top of my head and out my hands and into their bodies. I felt both cats really absorbing the energy, and both cats really settled. I felt the whole atmosphere in their cage become very calm and quiet, and a lot of heat was coming out of my hands. I felt such a strong connection with both cats, and it was a pleasure to feel them both becoming so quiet and calm inside. When I finished the session with them, they were each resting on their respective beds, looking very cozy indeed.

TTouch with Mr. Prince

Mr. Prince is a sweet little Maltese dog who I met, along with his human mom, Mary, when I did a TTouch demonstration for a Maltese meetup group. He is a dear little soul, and gets along great with Mary and with his dog sisters, but he is a very nervous little guy in general. A couple of the ways the nervousness manifests itself is in barking and urinating in the house. He was a rescue and previously wasn't taken out for walks, so he also had gotten used to peeing in the house. When I worked with him at the Maltese meetup, Mary could see that the TTouches were extremely calming for Mr. Prince. He is usually a bit wary with a stranger, yet he was leaning into me as I did TTouches with him. So it was wonderful to hear from Mary's friend Leslie, who wanted to give a gift of a TTouch session to Mary and Mr. Prince. Leslie was also present at the sesson, and it was great to have questions and feedback from both Mary and Leslie as the session progressed. When I arrived at Mary's place, I got such friendly greetings from the whole gang. It was clear that Mr. Prince was quite hyper, though, and was easily triggered to start barking. First of all, I put a TTouch half-wrap on him, which is done using an ace bandage (see link for demo: This started to bring down his stress level right away. With the wrap on, I began to demonstrate some of the various TTouches so that Mary will be able to do them on Mr. Prince. Connected abalone TTouches going down each side of his body were especially soothing to him. I could feel the tension in his body melting away and the expression on his face relaxing. As we went along, we kept noticing how much calmer Mr. Prince's energy was. Leslie commented that his expression on his face was as though he almost wasn't sure what to do now that he actually was calm. It seemed to be an unfamiliar state to him. I also demonstrated how to do the beginnings of a face wrap. This wrap is especially good for dogs who tend to bark a lot, as it reminds them of the mouth area, and can help them to relax there, and to feel less like barking. A complete face wrap seemed to be too overwhelming for Mr. Prince, so I simply folded the wrap and draped it a bit over his snout, then later tried draping it over his head. I just left it there for a matter of a minute or so, then took it off. Just these simple actions appeared to give him some awareness in this area. I also showed her how to do TTouches around the mouth area, while we were on that subject. Following that, I showed her more of the TTouches, strokes and lifts. I had also brought a Thundershirt, but to my surprise, it was actually a bit too small for Mr. Prince. But we were able to see how effective it would be for him by just draping it around him. I told Mary I would bring her the next size up for him. Then I had Mary show me a few TTouches to make sure that she was clear on how to do them, and showed her the wrap again. By this time, Mr. Prince's stress level had dropped SO substantially since I had entered the apartment. It really was a dramatic shift. I felt like the atmosphere of the whole apartment felt quieter and more calm. I left Mary with a Bach Flower remedy to give Mr. Prince which would be helpful for his issues in addition to the TTouch. We met another time so that I could show her how to put on the Thundershirt. The design of these shirts is wonderful. It is a very fitted shirt, and is made so that you don't have to put it over the head or put legs through. They are meant to be put on so that they hug the body, but are not tight. It wraps around the body, using velcro to secure it in several places. Again, we saw such a dramatic shift with Mr. Prince once the Thundershirt was on him, and felt his energy to be more focused and at peace. He had been running around barking just monents ago, and suddenly he just became very calm and laid down on the couch. I also did some TTouches on him with the Thundershirt on, and I had him get up from the couch a couple of times to walk around, to make sure he didn't feel "frozen", as sometimes the Thundershirts or wraps cause such an unfamiliar feeling that the dog will freeze and seem to feel he can't move. As with the wraps, the purpose of the Thundershirt is to bring the animal back into its body, and to give it a new sensation. For that reason, they are not meant to be left on all the time, just put on for periods of time to remind the dog that his energy can be calm and focused. The wraps are never to be left on an animal unsupervised, as the animal can become tangled up in it if he tries to take it off. Above and below are photos of Mr. Prince in his Thundershirt. He is quite a photogenic little guy! Thank you so much one and all. Mr. Prince did a great job, and Mary is continuing to make wonderful progress with him as she continues with the TTouch work with him.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

TTouch and Reiki with Mayor's Alliance Rescue Cats: April 4, 2011

I had a lovely time, as usual, with the Mayor's Alliance rescue cats who I work with thru Tavi & Friends' TTouch-in-Rescue program.
Spock (above) is such a sweet, friendly guy. He came out of his cage and settled on my lap while I sat on the couch and did TTouch with him. I did little raccoon TTouches on his head, connected chimp TTouches on his body, and did ear strokes and mouth work with him as well.

Pedro is quite a character. He was very excited to have attention when he got out of his cage and came right up in my face to give a kiss. I did some slower abalone TTouches with him, as he can get over-stimulated. Abalone TTouches are circular touches using the whole hand, so they have a more relaxing, calming effect, which some of the TTouches uisng less of a surface of the hand and fingers are more focused. Another touch that worked really well to calm him was doing an abalone TTouch followed by a long, slow stroke down his body.

Nene is a sweet cat and loves people but can get a bit intimidated by other cats. I do generally take these cats out of their cages one by one to work with them, but you can tell by his interaction with the cats that are still in their cages that he is a bit of a shy boy when it comes to the other cats. Today, as he seemed to be a bit keyed up, I did gentle, slow raccoon TTouches (using the tips of the fingers) on his forehead. The forehead can be a wonderful area to work to calm a nervous cat.

Munchie is a young little guy who often wants to play instead of being touched. He is still a little hesitant to be touched directly with a hand, so I started out using the back scratcher and the paintbrush to do little circles and strokes on his head and body. He became very relaxed with this, and playful as well, sometimes playing with the tool, other times relaxing into the touch.

Maddie is just too cute. She gets so excited for contact that she drools. I sat on the couch and at first she was walking back and forth across my lap, as I did some circles and strokes on her. Then I began to do some hair slides, which are a bit hard to describe, but you hold on (not hard) to a bit of fur and stroke it out to the tip of the fur, a bit like combing the fur with your hands (fingers kept together). I found that these were particularly calming for Maddie, and she settled as I did these going down her body.

Mack is a sweet little guy. When you first open his cage, sometimes he can seem a bit shy but once I bring him out onto the couch, he is extremely affectionate. I did chimp TTouches going down his back, and ear strokes are very calming to him. He was rubbing against my hand as I did this with him.

Honey can still get a little over-stimulated and swat or meow, she still seems a bit nervous. She warmed up and got quite comfortable as I did TTouch with her. Because she is still shy, I alternated between TTouching her with the back scratcher and doing chimp and llama TTouches with her. Both the chimp and llama use back surfaces of the hand and fingers, which are less intense than using the front surfaces of the hand, so these are great TTouches to do when you are just starting to get an animal used to being TTouched. As always, you can see demos of many of these touches on my youtube site, Please feel free to visit the site, and email me with any questions you may have.

Marette is a sweet cat, but is still a bit unsure, so I am still very gradual in my approach with her as well. Today I found that she was especially receptive to being TTouched with a small (one inch) foam brush. I did little circular TTouches and strokes around her head, as well as strokes going down her body.

Blackie is generally eager for attention, but can get over-stimulated with too much touch, so I was extra-quiet and slow in my approach with her. I did small circular TTouches and hair slides around her head, and a few hair slides around the top of her chest area. I also discovered that she is quite sensitive around her hind-quarters. I tried using a jelly scrubber (actually a horse-grooming tool) to do some gentle circles and strokes around the lower half of her body. Initially, she was resistant to this, but then I eased up with the pressure I was using and she settled into it.

Buddy is such a gentle soul. He is FIV positive, so will have to be adopted either as a solo cat or into a household with other FIV-positive cats. I don't know if it's just coincidence, but it seems that all the FIV positive cats who I have met seem to be the most gentle, sweet cats. I did gentle hair slides on his head, and abalone TTouches on his body, and he really spread out and let go, which was such a pleasure to see.

Thanks to all of you sweet cats, I'll see you soon, unless you get adopted :)