Tuesday, June 14, 2011

TTouch and Reiki with Mayor's Alliance Cats: June 13

When I went to work with the Mayor's Alliance cats on June 13, Blackie 2 (above) was still there but his cagemate Kitty had been adopted. He was more affectionate than ever, coming out of his cage right away, rubbing against me. Very sweet cat! I did slow abalone and llama TTouches with him, which use large surfaces of the hand, so they are very soothing and calming.

Bastet is pretty new there, VERY friendly and loving. She gets so excited for attantion that she starts drooling when I do TTouch with her. She rubbed her face against mine as I did slow llama and abalone TTouches with her. I think she is a bit reticent about coming out of the cage, so I just worked on her while she remained in her cage.

Blackie gets excited for attention but can get overstimulated pretty easily so I find that using the jelly scrubber to do TTouch with her works well. It also serves to get off some of the extra loose fur, as some of these cats really shed a lot in cages, especially in the summer. With the jelly scrubber, actually a horse-grooming tool, I use pretty light pressure, just enough to move the skin around in a clockwise circle and a quarter. I also do some strokes with it, to get the loose fur off. there are two sides to the jelly scrubber - I generally use the one which has rubbery bristles rather than the one with larger pointy thngs on it.

Honey is very sweet but very hyper-sensitive so I make sure to work in very short bursts with her, generally doing TTouches using the back of my fingers like the chimp TTouch.

Isis (or Ices, I'm not sure how they want the name spelled) is a big, very gentle kitty. Often I find that cats with more gentle personalities respond best to TTouches using larger surfaces of the hand, so I did abalone TTouch (using the whole hand) on her body). I did TTouches using the back of my finger around her forehead area. The forehead can be a very soothing place to do these TTouches, and the back surfaces of the hand and finger have a more gentle feel to them than the front surfaces.

King Kong is new. He was hiding partially under his bed at first, but he pretty quickly became more comfortable as I did gentle circular TTouches with him using the back of the hand part of a back scratcher. This can be a great tool to use to introduce yourself to a cat who is new to you - it is a much more gentle way of introducing yourself than directly touching a cat with your hand. It can also protect you from being bitten or scratched if it turns out the cat does not want to be touched at that moment!

Kobie is a super-friendly, playful little guy - as he is such a peppy guy, I generally do TTouches using the back of the hand with him, such as the chimp TTouch. I did connected chimp TTouches working down either side of his back, then did some ear strokes with him as well.

Lee is so sweet and has so much personality in his little face. He can startle easily, so I approach him especially gently. I did llama and abalone TTouches going down his body, which are very soothing to him. I also did chimp TTouches on his head. As you can see, he was feeling pretty relaxed!

Marette has come such a long way. She still is on the shy side, but is more and more confident each time I work with her. I found that she really gets into a relaxed zone when I do TTouches using the back of the top digit of my finger - my fingernail actually. It is pretty dramatic - she can go from very alert and peppy to just settling right down with these TTouches. She also really responded to TTouches with my fingernail working along the outside of the mouth area, which is connected with the limbic system, or emotions.

Milla is very sweet and friendly and seeks attention, but she can get easily over-stimulated, so I mostly did TTouches on her head, as the TTouches on the body can be a bit too much for her right now.

I didn't get a pic of Hank today - he's a lovely grey and white cat. As he is also a cat who can get over-stimulated, I just did a few TTouches at a time with him, primarily abalone TTouch and llama TTouch, which use large surfaces of the hand and are less intense than some of the other TTouches which are more focused.

If you would like to see demos of many of these TTouches, please visit my youtube channel at http://youtube.com/sarahsuricat. Thanks one and all and look forward to seeing you soon!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

TTouch and Reiki with Bonsai and Nilo

The other day I went to work with Bonsai and Nilo, two sweet cats who I have worked with for a while, but had not seen in some months. Bonsai (above and below) is a gentle senior Burmese cat, who has had seizures from time to time. He is on medication, and I have showed Kristin (the cats' owner) how to do some of the basic TTouches so that she can regularly do them on both Bonsai and Nilo to promote relaxation and balance.

Bonsai was resting in one of his cozy places, so I began with him. I started out by offering him Reiki with my hands a little distance away. I found that the most heat was emanating from his heart chakra. It felt very warm at first and began to dissipate as the session progressed. I also worked with the other major chakras. As I worked, I felt him starting to purr. It was lovely to see him so relaxed.

After the Reiki session I also did TTouch on ears, as well as circular ttouches on body and forehead. He continued purring and was just so relaxed. What a gentle, dear soul he is.

At that point Bonsai was resting very comfortably, so I then went to see what could happen with Nilo.

Nilo is a young, very active kitty who tends to run away from people other than his human mom, who he is very bonded with, though I have been able to have more and more contact with him as time has gone on. Initially I could only touch him with the wand, but little by little I have been able to do short TTouch sessions with him directly with my hands.

Today he was hiding behind furniture, as he often does to begin with. I tried to contact him using a long dowel with a piece of ace bandage wrapped around the end (we call it a "corn dog", which he was receptive to in the past. Today, he just seemed to be afraid of it, so I had to try another tactic.

I offered my hand to him and he started to sniff it. I stroked him with the back of my hand and he rubbed against it. I did some Ttouches with the back of my hand as he remained under a chair. I have been finding that he feels more secure about being touched if he is in a semi-enclosed space.

Then he moved again, and I was able to make contact with him for a much longer time after he went into a little box with a door on the cat tree. He felt extremely safe in there, and he started to purr up a storm. This is the first time I have heard him purr while I have been TTouching him, and he has a very loud PUURRRRRR! It was such a pleasure to hear this. This was the most connection I've had with yet!

While he was in this little space, I did mostly llama ttouches (circular TTouches using the back of the fingers) on his body and abalone TTouches (circular TTouches using the whole hand). Then I did Ttouches with back of a finger (often just my fingernail), around his mouth area and forehead, and around his ears. He was especially responsive when I did this around the mouth area, which makes sense as this is connected with the limbic system, which has to do with emotions. He revved up his purring again, this time even louder, and began to push himself into my hand. This was a new big step in our contact with each other.

After the session, I spoke to Kristin and her daughter about what had happened. Her daughter said that Nilo generally runs away from her when he's out in an open space, but he will let her pet him when he is in a more enclosed space. I encouraged her to continue to contact him when he is in a comfortable space. I feel that over time, he will be more comfortable with her touching him out of the space.

I gave Kristin a spritzer bottle with 10 drops of rescue remedy in it and the rest filled with water. I suggested that she spray it on places where the cats like to hang out, as this can promote even more comfort for them in those places.

The day after the session, I met with Kristin to give her bach flower remedies which I had made for the cats. When I entered the apartment, Nilo was resting on a couch, looking completely blissed out. He didn't move when I came in, which was different behavior for him. he was just stretched out and cozy. She said that she had sprayed the rescue remedy spritzer onto the sheet which was on top of the couch, and that he had cuddled right into it. Kristin also told me that when she woke up that morning, Bonsai was smiling, that it had been quite a while since she had seen him smile :)

Thank you all, it was a pleasure, as always to work with you :)

Staying in the Moment with Pip

Above: Pip in energetic mode - photo by his owner Sarah - thanks, Sarah for letting me use a couple of your
spectacular Pip pix for the blog post :)
Hi folks, thanks to a referral from my Reiki teacher Sheryl, I recently had the pleasure of working with the lively and intelligent kitty Pip and his people, Sarah and Chris.

They rescued Pip a couple of months ago from a dumpster not far from where they live. He was apparently in pretty scruffy condition when they first rescued him but they have done a great job with him, taking great care of him, getting him veterinary care, etc. He now looks healthy and in great shape.

I was contacted because, though Pip can be the most gentle, cuddly fellow you can imagine, when they are sleeping -- or, I should say, trying to sleep! -- he can turn into a little wildman, crying a lot and rampaging around, etc.

So I met with them to work with Pip, share some of the TTouches with his people, and to find out more about Pip so that I could make an appropriate Bach flower remedy for him.

Above: lovely portrait of Pip by his owner Sarah

As you can tell from his pictures, he is a very alert, inquisitive guy, so I suggested that they might want to try doing some clicker training with him or some more interactive type of play, such as a confidence course of some kind, which does not need to be made w/the orange cones I use in the link. It can be made using objects you have in your home. Or you can make a small labyrinth using rope or something similar. With a young, energetic cat, it is wonderful to stimulate both their mind and their body with interactive activities like these.

I started out with Pip sitting on the floor, letting him come to me and doing just a few TTouches at a time, giving him breaks in between. Sometimes I showed the TTouches on a stuffed cat as well, so that I could slow down and be a bit more clear to his people about what I was doing.

I first did a few TTouches which use the back surfaces of the hand, such as the chimp TTouch and the llama TTouch, as these TTouches are less intense and less apt to trigger him into being overstimulated. I then showed them some of the other TTouches such as the clouded leopard TTouch, the raccoon TTouch and the abalone TTouch. You can find videos of many of these TTouches on my youtube channel: http://youtube.com/sarahsuricat.

I also showed them the ear work, explaining that there are many acupressure points in the ear, so that can be extremely relaxing. The mouth work will also be very important for him, as that can be calming since it connects with the limbic system, which affects the emotions.

Pip started out in a bit of a squiggly mood, but became increasingly relaxed as I worked with him. By the time I got to the mouth work (doing raccoon TTouches all along the outside of his mouth are), he was quite relaxed and spread out.

Then I wanted to show them about the possibility of touching him with a tool such as a paintbrush or feather if he starts to get revved up. And that is when Pip taught me something more about himself :) The feathers prompted him to start to get more into a play mood, a more lively mood - as he wasn't so interested in being touched with them as he was in playing with them. So that was actually a chance to see what TTouches might be useful in calming him. Previously, I had mentioned the zigzag ttouch but thought it might be too stimulating for him.

However, at that moment I intuitively began to do a zigzag TTouch on him rather slowly, and he did an almost immediate shift. I realized that since the zigzag can be such a great connecting TTouch, for Pip that touch at that moment was really helpful in bringing him back into his body.

Above: I snapped this after the TTouch session
I tried the octopus TTouch on him as well (which is like a double zigzag TTouch), and that one was too overwhelming for him, but the regular zigzag TTouch worked really well.

Sarah and Chris were both really adept at picking up the TTouches - I had them try them on the stuffed cat, and they really understood how light the touches are, etc. I often find that people tend to do the TTouches with too much pressure or too quickly. I know they will do a great job with him :)

The next day, Chris told me that Pip had been really great that night, extremely relaxed, and that everyone had had a restful night. Thanks so much to all three of you, and I look forward to further reports about Pip. He is a special being, and he is so lucky to be with such caring guardians in a wonderful home.

And thank you Pip for reminding me that, as always, it is best to truly be in the moment with the animal in order to feel what is most beneficial to do with the animal in that moment in time. I think it is important, too, to be flexible with our ideas about what TTouches are most appropriate for what situation, as that can fluctuate according to the particular animal and the mood of that animal.

Friday, June 10, 2011

TTouch and Reiki at BARC: Feral Kittens

Recently, a group of 5 feral kittens arrived at BARC shelter, and I was asked to work with them to help them to be more comfortable and to be more at ease being touched by people, which in turn helps them to be more adoptable animals. And of course we want these little babies to all have homes soon :)

Initially they were terrified, squished up against the back of the cage, moving very little. They would often wait til people weren't walking by or watching to come forward to where the food and water bowls are. They hissed when you opened their cage or moved your hand towards them.

Before I began to try doing TTouch with them, I sent them Reiki from a short distance away. I could see them start to relax with the soothing Reiki energy.

To get them accustomed to being touched in a non-threatening way, I started out by using a very long feather to touch them. I did little circular TTouches and strokes with the feather, around their head area and then working in some touches going down the body. Little by little I noticed their muscles start to relax and their breathing began to slow down (they were nervous so you could see that their breathing was sped up as well).

The circular movements of TTouch are a non-habitual movement, so often when you begin to work with an animal doing these touches, you will see them stop in their tracks and look at you as if to say, "wait a minute, that feels different!". Usually they realize the touches are very gentle and do feel good, so little by little you see the behavior and body language change.

It wasn't long before I was able to work my hand down the feather to begin doing TTouches with my hands. I found that doing little raccoon Ttouches around the outside of the mouth area (which is connected with the limbic system, which has to do w/emotions) and doing ear strokes (there are many acupressure points in the ear) were particularly helpful in soothing these little creatures.

Since there are five kittens in the cage, I would work on one for a little bit, then go to another, so as not to overwhelm them. The kittens not being worked on would often watch and look at me wondering what was going to happen next.

As the kittens grew more accustomed to me, the hissing was less and less and then stopped altogether. Below are two of the little ones looking very relaxed indeed!

After a few sessions with them, I also noticed that they were starting to figure out how to play. Another kitten from a different litter was put in their cage temporarily and, I think, helped them in this process too.

In the pics above and below, you can see one of the kittens experimenting with playing with the ball. Within about a day after this or so, they all were playing with balls and other cat toys in their cage.

After some sessions with them, it was time to take the next step and get these little ones used to being picked up and held. They still were running away initially when most people were trying to pet them.

First of all, I did a few gentle belly lifts with them (see my youtube page, http://youtube.com/sarahsuricat for demo), then began to just scruff them a bit and gently lift up under their stomach. Then I took a small towel, scruffed with one hand and then held underneath with the other hand holding the towel, then brought the kitten onto my lap, gently wrapping the kitten in the towel if I thought it appropriate. I did the picking up and putting on my lap pretty much in one swift motion, so they didn't have time to get scared about it, and once the kitten was in my lap, I began to do some little TTouches either directly on the body or thru the towel, and the kitten relaxed right away, stretching out. I found that I had pretty much the same reaction, even with the two most scared of the kittens (which happen to be the two ones which have more white fur, who are seen cuddling together below, hard to tell where one ends and the other begins!).

The following Saturday I had several other volunteers holding the kittens as well, as it is good to get them used to various people holding them instead of only being comfortable with one person. Since that day, they have more and more attention from volunteers, as it is easier to pick them up and handle them.

The two shyest kittens are really coming around, too. Below is the little girl, named "Arctic Fox", who is the smallest one as well, and below that is "Pearl Harbor", her brother. Both of them really relax into my hands now.

The day before yesterday, the last time I was at BARC, I spent an especially long time with Pearl, who is the most reluctant one. Though he is comfortable once I touch him, sometimes he will run away if someone reaches towards him. I held him in my lap, offering him Reiki, and heard and felt him do a couple of big sighs, as though he was reaching a level of relaxation that he hadn't felt in a long time. He really stretched out and let go.

When we were done, I returned him to the cage and about an hour later, opened the cage to work with the kittens within the cage, to work with the ones who still may run away on initial contact to be more comfortable so that they don't do that. Pearl started to run away from me (maybe it's still a bit of a reflex?), but I did a little TTouch with him and he settled down. I then focused on a kitten who was laying on a shelf at the opposite end of the cage.

This kitten (named Normandy) had come around the quickest, and is comfortable laying on his back for belly rubs. As I was starting to rub his belly, little Pearl came running over, jumped on the shelf, and snuggled right alongside Normandy so he could have some TTouch as well.

This was such an unexpected delight, and was a real breakthrough for this kitten, as it was the first time he came to ME for attention. I felt so much pure love and affection from this little one as he snuggled alongside his brother so I could TTouch them both at the same time.

Thank you, little ones, look forward to seeing you soon unless you are adopted, which would be even better:) and thanks to all the gals and guys (volunteers and staff) at BARC who have helped these little ones!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Second Session with Krishna: Staying in the Moment

Some months ago, I got together with lovely kitty Krishna and his human mommy, Rebecca, to doTTouch with him and to show Rebecca how to do some of the TTouches. He is a really shy guy with people other than his human mom and dad, so I worked with him with tools and after a while he got much more comfortable, getting closer and closer to me.

Today I got together with them again. Rebecca told me she had been doing some of the TTouches with him, which is great, especially as he has trouble feeling his back end - he has some type of congenital issue in his hips so he has a bit of difficulty sensing everything back there. She said that doing abalone TTouches all down his hips and hind legs has been really helpful for him.

When I first entered the apartment, it seemed he recognized me from last time. I sat on the floor and he came up and sniffed me.

I started out by doing TTouches with a paintbrush, which he was used to because that is one of the tools I used last time, and I left one with Rebecca. She has been using that as well as TTouching him with her hand. He was responsive especially to TTouches around the mouth, under the chin, and around his ears. I interspersed these with a few on his body, giving him frequent breaks. I also did some TTouches on him using the wand and some feathers. He seemed to get more comfortable as I went along, and was able to get closer and closer to me.

But the real breakthrough in this session with him was when I began to do some Reiki with him from a short distance away. He nearly stopped in his tracks, and I could see him feeling the energy, he became almost mesmerized by it. He was staring as if to ask me what was going on. I looked at him with soft eyes and tried not to stare at him so I wouldn't frighten him. We stayed quite close to each other (about a couple of feet away), and he grew more relaxed as I continued to send Reiki to him.

After that, I gave him a break and he went up on the couch on a blanket, one of his favorite places. After a bit, I sent him Reiki from where I was, several feet away, and again, I saw him begin to really let go. His eyes started to close and he began to stare at me with such a wise look, I felt almost like I was looking directly into his wise, beautiful soul.

Thank you so much, Krishna. You teach me so much, and I look forward to seeing you soon!

Monday, June 6, 2011

TTouch with Mayor's Alliance Rescue Cats: June 6

Today I went to work with the Mayor's Alliance rescue cats through Tavi and Friends' TTouch-in-Rescue program.

During the posts about these cats, I refer to many of the TTouches, so if you would like to see demos of these TTouches, please visit my youtube site at http://youtube.com/sarahsuricat

Milla, a lovely tortoise-shell cat, was extremely friendly, purring up a storm. She gets so excited for attention that she can get overstimulated, so I give her frequent breaks, doing abalone TTouches and LLama TTouches, which use large surfaces of the hand, as they are less intense than other TTouches. I also did some ear strokes with her, which can be very calming.

Honey is very sensitive, so I generally use TTouches which use the back of my hand, so I did the chimp TTouch and llama TTouch with her, which she finds calming. I just do a few TTouches at a time, giving her frequent breaks.

Kitty (above) and Blackie 2 (below) are both very sweet now. They are in the same cage, and both came right out of the cage and onto the couch with me today for ear strokes, ear circles and, as they tend to be on the more gentle, timid side, I did soothing touches using larger surfaces of my hand such as the abalone TTouch (circular TTouch using my whole hand) and the llama TTouch (circular TTouch using the back of the fingers). Both were extremely responsive to these TTouches.

Blackie can be quite sensitive, so with her, I generally do mostly TTouches around her head area, then work in some of the larger TTouches going down her body, for example, doing an abalone TTouch and then a stroke going down her body, then giving her a break to see what she wants to do. The jelly scrubber is also something she really enjoys.

Bastet is very sweet. She is reticent about coming out of her cage, though, so I did TTouches on her in the cage. She really settled into them, purring and drrooooling. Drooling is something that some cats do when they are very cozy, which seems to be the case with her :) I did ear strokes, abalone TTouches and hair slides with her.

Ices (or Isis, sometimes her cage has one spelling and sometimes the other) is more brave than she was last week but still is on the shy side as far as coming out of the cage or interacting with the other cats when they are out of the cage. She preferred to remain in the cage today. She started rubbing her head against me as I did the TTouches with her. I did llama TTouches, clouded leopard TTouches going down her bac, and slow abalone TTouches. She became very relaxed and at ease as I did this.

Today I let Hank (below), Kobie (below that) and Lee (below Kobie) out at the same time. Hank and Kobie are quite comfortable and social, and Lee loves people and gets along with Hank - they were playing together, which was very cute.

I alternated between the three cats, doing TTouch on one, then the other, so they were able to have some playtime as well as some TTouch time. This worked quite well for these three, as they are active and generally extremely eager to get out of their cages.

Lee has the most amazing face, he is so expressive! his eyes can't help but touch your heart.

Last but not least was sweet Marette. What seems to be most comfortable for her is for me to sit on the floor, with my legs bent up. She likes to walk underneath my legs, and I do TTouch on her on either side. Today she really settled in when I did some TTouches on her forehead with my fingernail. The forehead can be an area which is extremely relaxing for shy cats, and it is usually best to work with a small finger surface there. I like to use my fingernail as it is a back surface of the finger, therefore more gentle.

Thanks one and all! look forward to seeing you all soon.