Saturday, January 28, 2012

Staying in the Moment with a Feral Kitten

I am so grateful for all that the animals teach me every day, and one of the most important ongoing lessons is to truly stay in the moment with them. Cats can often change their preferences too, so that a cat may be receptive to a particular approach for a while but one day may completely change their mind about it.

I have been working with a very terrified feral kitten at BARC shelter for a few weeks. Generally, she had been very receptive to little TTouches along her whiskers, under her chin, and then gradually I could stroke her along her body as well. A few times I have been able to TTouch her with my hand as well.

Yesterday when I approached her with the feather, she was really not in the mood to be touched with it as I had before, and she just swatted and hissed at it!

I pulled the feather back for a few minutes, not sure what I would do next.

Then, just following my intuition, I gently did just a few strokes and circles near where she was, very slowly. Then I stroked her front paws gently with the feather, first one paw, then the other. This is not normally something that I would try or that I would think a scared cat would necessarily respond to, but it was very sweet what happened next.

She gently betan to stroke the feather with her paw, and we began to make a bit of a game of it. I'd stroke her paw, then she stroked the feather.

As we did this, her body language became more and more at ease, and she rolled onto her side and onto her back, stretching out. You can see that her eyes still look on the wild side, but for her to be comfortable in a totally open position with me was a huge step for me. It was such a pleasure to see her start to be more at ease, and even seeming to enjoy interacting with a human. xo

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