Monday, May 30, 2011

Mayor's Alliance Rescue Cats: May 30

It was a pleasure, as always, to go to work with the rescue cats from the Mayor's Alliance.

Munchie (above and below) is very sweet, he started weaving all around me, rubbing against my hand. I did clouded leopard circular touches combined with a stroke going down his body. Ear strokes were especially comforting for him. As you can see by the pic above, he really cuddled in and got comfortable with me today.

Hank is a very affectionate cat, but as you can see by his big eyes, he can get a bit over-excited, so I tend to do TTouches on him using the back surfaces of my hand, which are less intense.

Below is Kobie.

Kobie is a lively little young cat. He likes to walk back and forth past me, so I often do a circle and a stroke down one side of his body, then the other, as he walks by.

Blackie is sweet but can get over-stimulated, I use the jelly scrubber to do TTouches with her, which she finds comforting. Abalone TTouches, which use the whole hand, are also great to do with her as the energy is dispersed over a larger area so they are less apt to be over-stimulating.

Blackie 2 (above) and Kitty, who are both in the same cage, both jumped out of the cage immediately today, very excited for attention. When they first arrived in the shelter, they were on the shy side, not feeling comfortable coming out of their cage. I di dllama, clouded leopardand chimp TTouches connected going down their bodies. Both came up on the couch with me for attention. both at once and then they took turns.

Honey (below) always seems to crave attention but short little bursts with her are best, as she is ultra-sensitive and gets irritated if you have contact with her for too long a period of time. I generally mostly do Raccoon and chimp TTouches around her head and a few chimp TTouches or llama TTouches on her body, then either give a break or go back to working on the head.

Isis (below) is a new kitty there. I started out working with her with a paingbrush on the sides of her head, then rolled the paintbrush along the sides of her body. As I worked with her, she started to rub her face against me. She startles easily so I gave frequent breaks, letting her come to me to initiate contact. After a while I began to transition to using the back of my hand for TTouches with her, and she really relaxed into it.

Lee gets more comfortable all the time but he still gets startled easily with any sudden sound or movement. The TTouches using the larger surfaces of the hand, such as the abalone and llama TTouches, work best with him.

Marette still is very sensitive and will startle easily, but I had a breakthrough with her today. I started out by doing some llama TTouches and abalone TTouches going down her back. Then I tried doing some little TTouches around her forehead area using the back of my finger (actually my fingernail). She literally stopped in her tracks and really began to relax into the TTouch, purring. It was a great sound to hear coming from her! and wonderful to make this connection and feel her become so comfortable today.

Mila is friendly and sweet but can become over-stimulated, so I do TTouches with her which use the back of my hand. These are less intense than TTouches using the front of the hand.

Bastet is a new, lovely black cat with golden eyes (didn't get a pic of her today). She is very friendly, and came right to the front of the cage, rubbing against my hand. I did chimp TTouches on her head area, followed by circular TTouches followed by a long stroke going down her body. I didn't want to overwhelm her, since she is new, so I kept the session short.

Thanks all, look forward to seeing you soon!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

TTouch Workshop with the Homeless Cat Network

Above, left to right: Cookie, Marilynn (top center), Sue (bottom center), me

About a year ago, on a trip to the SF Bay Area, thanks to a conversation I had with Holly at the TTouch office, I connected with Cookie of the Homeless Cat Network. I went with my mother and sister out there to visit the shelter, which is so well laid-out and so well taken care of by the dedicated people who volunteer their time there, taking care of the cats in a variety of ways, as well as helping to socialize them. A number of the volunteers had learned some TTouch, and some of them practice Reiki, which is so helpful in making the cats more at ease, and more adoptable, as well.

The next time I was out there, I gave Cookie a private TTouch lesson, showing her some of the newer TTouches that she had never learned. Some time after that, Cookie and I spoke about me doing a mini-Ttouch workshop there, which would serve as a refresher course for some, and an introduction for others. I had the pleasure of doing this workshop this month, on a lovely spring day which, festively enough, was also the day of the SF Bay to Breakers race, so I also had the fun of seeing people in various costumes as I traveled to and from the workshop.

Marilynn, a long-time volunteer at the shelter, was kind enough to pick me up and drop me off at the BART station - thanks Marilynn!

I arrived at the shelter with my bag of tools, as well as some photos, before and after, of some of the shelter cats who I have worked with. The cats are housed in large condos (see below), and have the opportunity (unless they have a health issue or other factor which requires isolation), in rotating shifts, to roam in the middle section of the shelter as well. It is wonderful for the cats to have this amount of space.

I was greeted with so much warmth and hospitality by Cookie, Marilynn and the rest of the group. The group was comprised of volunteers at the shelter, plus a vet who works with the shelter, who had already taken a workshop in TTouch and has been practicing TTouch on many of her patients. It was wonderful to hear of a vet using this work in her practice.

Below: Marshmellow, who has really benefited from TTouch at the shelter

Part of the time I demonstrated on a couple of the willing cats there – Jade (below) and Hansel – and some of the time I demonstrated on a stuffed animal, which can be easier to use once I got more in-depth about how to do each TTouch.

Jade is a super-friendly black and white cat there, who seemed to particularly settle with some of the TTouches around the mouth and forehead, while Hansel responded more to the TTouches on the body. I emphasized how fluid we need to be in our thinking when we work on these animals, as each one is so individual as to what it will respond to.

Below: Me with Jade doing Abalone TTouch, a circular, calming touch using the whole surface of the hand

Two very calming TTouches for a shy animal are the abalone TTouch (above) and the llama TTouch (below). Abalone TTouch is a circular TTouch using the whole surface of the front of the hand, and llama TTouch uses the backs of the fingers. Back surfaces of the hand are less threatening than front surfaces, and the abalone TTouch is soothing as it uses a larger surface, which disperses the intensity of the touch.

Raccoon TTouches (below) are also extremely useful, especially for smaller areas of the animal, such as the forehead, the paws, the mouth, etc.

The class was very focused and engaged, and everyone had such interesting questions which helped ME to think of some new uses for the TTouches, etc. Below you see Marilynn (with the blue T-shirt) asking a question about the belly lift. She wanted to know if this would be helpful in getting a cat more comfortable being touched on the belly in a gentle way so when you go to pick the cat up, it won't be such a new or scary sensation. Great observation!

I went around to each person to see how they were doing the basic clouded leopard TTouch, to make sure the pressure wasn't too hard, that the skin was being pushed around in a circle (instead of the fingers sliding over the skin), etc.

After a break and some tasty treats (thanks to all who brought them!) we continued our discussion about TTouches, as well as some of the tools which are especially useful for shelter cats, to get them accustomed to being touched in a non-threatening way. For cats, we use tools with a variety of textures and lengths, such as dowels with an ace bandage at the end, paintbrushes, back scratchers, hair brushes, toothbrushes, makeup brushes, barbeque brushes, feathers, etc. Cats are very particular and very different from each other in their preferences of textures that they prefer, as well as where and how it is best to first make contact, so it can take some experimentation to find out what works best.
Below is a photo of Lois with her stuffed kitty, and on the table to the left you see a few of the many tools I brought for people to see and try out.

After this, we tried out some of the TTouches on the cats.

Below is Gretel, who I hear has come a long way, but she is still a shy girl with new people. I am sure that with more of the volunteers now able to do TTouch with her, it will help her continue to come out of her shell.

Here I am with Spot, a very sweet cat, who enjoyed some ear strokes, which can help a cat get very comfortable as there are many acupressure points in the ear.

Below is Stella doing TTouch with Bright Eyes. Bright Eyes came to the shelter recently, and I have heard since the workshop that TTouch has really been helping her to feel at ease.

I think everyone was pretty worn out by the end of the day, as you see by the pic of Johnny and Mr. Meow napping below :)

It was such a wonderful, enthusiastic group. We got some very lively discussions going, and everyone did a great job!

I went out to dinner after the workshop with the four women in the picture below (Cookie, Marilynn, Sue and Lynn), thanks for treating me! and we continued our discussion about TTouch, cats, and other related topics.

Thanks so much to all of you for making this a fantastic experience. And especially thanks to Cookie, who made this happen, and made it happen in such a first-class and friendly way. I look forward to working with Homeless Cat Network again soon!

Monday, May 23, 2011

TTouch and Reiki with Mayor's Alliance Rescue Cats: May 23

A very sweet day, as usual, with the Mayor's Alliance Rescue cats thru Tavi & Friends' TTouch-in-Rescue program. Lee (above), who initially was crouched in his litter box terrified, now can't wait to come out for attention, and he waits at the front of the cage meowing to me. He immediately jumped out of his cage when I opened it, and began to rub his head against my hand. With him, I feel the very comforting TTouches which use larger surfaces of my hand, such as the abalone TTouch (circular TTouch using the whole hand) and llama TTouch (circular TTouch w/the back of the fingers) seem to be the ones that fit him, as they are warm and soothing. I also did some zigzag TTouches with him, which is a great connecting TTouch, and some ear work.

Sorry Blackie, this isn't the best pic! Blackie also really responds to the abalone TTouch, and I use the jelly scrubber with her also, as she finds this soothing and since it is a tool instead of a hand, it is less apt to be over-stimulating to her. She was PURRRRRRING today, a lovely sound to hear from her :)

Kobie is a sweet little guy, who is completely relaxed and friendly, responsive to any of the Ttouches, especially the chimp TTouch. He is an active guy, so I just do a few TTouches here and there, let him go on his way, then do a few more.

Honey is very sweet, but still seems a bit hyper-sensitive, so I am careful to just do a little TTouch at a time with her. I mostly do chimp TTouches (which use the back surface of the middle section of the fingers) and raccoon ttouches (tips of fingers) on her head, and then incorporate some slides down the body with the back of my fingers and hand.

Blackie 2 (above) and Kitty (below) were both friendly from the beginning but a little daunted by the other cats. They are now both more outgoing. Kitty is more dominant than Blackie 2, and sometimes pushes Blackie 2 away. Blackie 2 is getting more brave though, and today readily came out of his cage, came up on the couch with me and started rubbing against me. With him I did hair slides, abalone TTouches and chimp TTouches, all done slowly, for a soothing effect.

Lucky (below) has a sweet personality but I am very conscious to be especially gentle with her as she can be hyper-sensitive, especially reacting to any sudden sounds. I did TTouches with the back of my finger on her forehead, which can be a very soothing place to work for frightened cats.

Marette is still a little shy, but very sweet. I feel that she really craves attention, but is just a little hesitant. I let her out of her cage and wait til she comes to me, do a few TTouches on her, then she goes away a bit, then comes back for more, etc. I started out with chimp and abalone TTouches but then found that she REALLY settled when I did ear strokes and mouth work (doing little raccoon TTouches along the outside of her mouth area). The mouth area can be connected w/the limbic system, which is connected to the emotions, so this is a great area to work for frightened cats, if you can work there safely (not be bitten!). In the photo below, she seems to be wondering what my hand will do next :)

Mila is very sweet, and gets very excited once I start to TTouch her gently on the head. She came forward in her cage, rubbing against her cage and against my hand. So her energy didn't get too over the top, I gave her frequent breaks (with her today, just a break for a few seconds, watch her body language, then if it seems ok go back to TTouching a bit). I primarily did TTouches with her using the back surfaces of my hand and fingers, which is a less intense feeling than the front surfaces.

Munchie (above and below) is really coming along. He started out a bit on the skittish side, and still often will initially be in the back of the cage. But when I opened the cage and waited for him, he came right to the front for me, as I did chimp TTouches and llama TTouches with him, and then he came out of the cage and up onto the couch w/me, rubbing against me. I could feel his energy go from a bit overwhelming to a more relaxed energy as I worked with him.

Thanks, all you kitties, look forward to seeing you soon, unless you get fostered or adopted, which would be great :)

Friday, May 20, 2011

TTouch and Reiki with Mayor's Alliance Rescue Cats: May 2

Today when I went to work with the Mayor's Alliance Rescue cats through Tavi & Friends' TTouch-in-Rescue program, there were some new cats, as well as a bunch who I have been working with for a while.

Lee was great today, he is making such progress. Today he came right to the front of the cage, purrrrring, to greet me. I was able to do TTouches on his head and his body, and he was comfortable with all of them. He also even was at ease being picked up, which I did to bring him up on the couch with me. He settled in there for a while, as I did abalone TTouches and ear strokes on him. He was purring (and sometimes meowing, a content meow) the whole time.

What a sweet boy! The woman who cleans the cages told me that now he is comfortable being let out of the cage with other cats. Previously, he had been too frightened to be out with the others and needed to be let out alone. He also had initially been referred to by some as a “mean cat”, which of course couldn’t have been more inaccurate!

Talbot and Diyala are two new kittens. Talbot (above) is completely friendly, and came right to me for TTouch. Diyala (three pictures below) is more shy, so I started out with her doing TTouches on her head using a soft toothbrush. She soon became more relaxed. I could feel her ears becoming more soft, and could see her eyes and the rest of her face relax.

As she became more relaxed, I began to incorporate TTouches using the back of my hand.

After she settled into the circular TTouches with the back of my hand, I did some using the front of my hand around the base of her neck, also occasionally incorporating a few TTouches on the body, then going back to the head. I kept the toothbrush in my hand in case she became nervous, in which case I would have gone back to TTouching with the toothbrush. I gave frequent breaks, seeing if she was ready for more or wanted to rest a bit. When I was finished, even though she was still at the back of the cage, her face and body looked much more relaxed, so that was great progress for her.

Next was Pedro (below).

Pedro is hilarious, he gets very excited to come out of his cage for attention. I did raccoon TTouches on his forehead to get his energy a bit more settled. I also did some Reiki with him, and he was absorbing the calm energy like a sponge. Today I noticed the most heat over the solar plexus and base chakras.

Mila is a new, very sweet tortie cat. She began to purr right away when I opened her cage and started to work with her. As I hadn’t worked with her before, I used the gentler TTouches, such as the llama ttouch (uses the back surface of the fingers) and the abalone TTouch (which uses the whole hand). These big TTouches are especially gentle because the pressure is dispersed over a larger area.

Lucky is also new, she was super-friendly and laid right on her side as I did abalone and clouded leopard TTouches going down her side.

Honey is getting more friendly and more brave every time I see her. The TTouch I used most with her today is the chimp TTouch, as it uses the back surface of the fingers. These types of touches can be good for a cat who gets easily startled or scared with too much contact or heat.

Hank is such a love. He laid right on his side. His ears were relaxed and soft as I worked with him. I did abalone TTouches and ear strokes with him..

Kitty (above) and Blackie 2 (below) are coming along really well too. Kitty jumped out of her cage and onto the couch, and Blackie 2 came out of the cage briefly as well, which is great for him, as he didn’t do this before. So Kitty I TTouched while she was on the couch with me and Blackie 2 got TTouch both in and out of the cage. He is definitely getting braver, he just needs time and patience.

Blackie was purring like crazy. I primarily used the jelly scrubber to TTouch her, as she can get a bit overstimulated. I also did very slow abalone TTouches and ear strokes with her, which have a very soothing effect.

Angel is a new cat there and was friendly right away. She was sweet, purring and laying on her side as I did slow abalone TTouches with her.

Marette gets more brave every time. Previously I have mostly used the tools with her, as she can be hyper-sensitive. But today I was able to do some TTouches directly with my hand, doing a circle and a stroke on her body. She began to rub herself right against my hand when I did this, to my surprise!