Thursday, September 1, 2011

TTouch and Reiki at BARC: Light as a Feather with Quinn

Quinn is a big grey and white cat who has been at BARC for a while. He seems to crave contact, as he will often come to the front of his cage to say hello, but he easily gets frightened and will let you know he has had enough with a swat and a meow. I have been working with him very slowly, and also have given him a few Bach flower remedies, and I do see a change in him little by little. Just a little more trust, and a more relaxed look on his face more of the time. BARC staff member Vince, who takes care of the cat loft, recently told me that when he gives Quinn wet food, he can pet Quinn's whole body, which is so interesting, because at other times, that much contact seems too much.

I have tried using several tools with Quinn, which enable me to make contact with him from a short distance, so that gives both him and me a feeling of increased safety. I have found that Quinn responds best with me to TTouch circles and strokes using a long feather, as shown in these pictures. I purchase these at a stationery store which carries a lot of arts and crafts materials.

I also have been working with with my body oriented sideways to his cage, and I am on the side of his cage rather than the front, all of which makes the contact less threatening.

I start out by speaking to Quinn quietly, then let him sniff the feather, and usually start by doing gentle circles and strokes under his chin. He also responds to little circles and strokes around the outside of his mouth, around the top of his head and ears, and sometimes behind his neck. Occasionally I can touch him on his back with my hand, but this often seems to feel too intense to him, and will prompt a loud MEOW.

On the day pictured here, I decided to see if I could approach him from the front of his cage, which is more challenging to him than working from the side. Again I let him smell the feather first, then began to do some gentle strokes and circles under his chin. In the pic below he looks a bit skeptical, but once he realized that everything was still ok, he relaxed into it.

As I am working, I will work with him for short bursts of time, usually a few seconds up to a minute, depending on how he reacts, then stop and see how he is doing, then either give him more of a break, or continue. With a cat like him who can easily get overstimulated, it is important to watch the body language: tail twitching, stiffening of the ears, pulling back of the head, etc.

As you can see in the pic above, he eased into the touch as I went along. Much love to you, Quinn, look forward to seeing you soon!

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