Sunday, November 27, 2011

Feral Kittens at BARC Shelter: Belly Lifts, Ear Work and Mouth Work

I have been continuing to work with a batch of feral kittens who arrived recently at BARC shelter. First two arrived, then a third (the tabby you see on the right above), and then one more black and white kitten (sorry didn't get a pic of him).

They started out hissing and very frightened, but have been getting increasingly friendly. I have been doing a lot of TTouch and Reiki with them, and others have been working with them to help socialize them as well. As you can see from the pictures, they are getting very playful, which is a big improvement from the initial cowering in the litter box!

Recently I was working with Crazy Horse, the tabby and white kitten who is the shyest of the bunch. I noticed that when I happened to put my hand under his belly, he got very comfortable. So I began to do some gentle TTouch belly lifts with him, lifting my hand up just a very little bit, holding my hand there, then slowly releasing. This prompted him to want to eat, so I continued doing a few TTouches with him while he ate. In general, the belly lifts can help a cat to feel more comfortable, as it releases the muscles there, enabling the animal to breathe more fully, etc. It can also be helpful for digestion. At times I also held my hand still and let Reiki energy flow to him.

Most recently, I have started to get them used to being picked up, little by little. I will lift a kitten up with two hands under its belly, gently lifting it, still within the cage, then set it back down and do some circular TTouches, zigzag TTouches and octopus TTouches (like a double zigzag TTouch, using both hands at the same time. Hair slides and ear strokes are also helpful. I do the TTouches for a minute or two, then lift it up again, put it back down and do the TTouches again, helping them to associate the lifting with very gentle TTouches. The next step will be lifting them up and out of the cage, but I wanted to acclimate them to the process of being lifted up in a very gradual way so that the lifting out of the cage is not such a big deal when it happens. See you soon, little ones!

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