Saturday, February 25, 2012

Update on Peanut Butter and Jolly

Yesterday I was please to receive an update on two cats I worked with well over a year ago, Peanut Butter and Jolly.
Jolly (the one-eyed black kitty above), who we knew as Baby in the shelter (Social Tees), had been through so much. She was one of a bunch of cats who came from a hoarder, was extremely shy and in a very weakened condition. She had gotten very sick and got such a bad eye infection that an eye needed to be removed. I worked with her a lot at the shelter, and she had gotten quite comfortable with me. Meanwhile, at one point she was put in the window enclosure along with a bunch of kittens, and Peanut Butter was among the kittens. Jolly was so sweet and loving with the kittens, it was beautiful to see.
Dana and Anthony are the lovely couple who adopted Peanut Butter and Jolly. They had seen Jolly in the window enclosure, and knew that she had had a very rough go of it, and they were interested in adopting her along with another cat, possibly Peanut Butter. I told them that I thought these two would bond really well. I knew how loving Jolly was to Peanut Butter and the others already, and Peanut Butter was SO social and friendly, I thought she would help Jolly to feel more at ease, as I knew that Jolly was so shy. I also gave them some tips on ways to connect with Jolly through TTouch.
Baby was re-named Jolly, which makes sense as Peanut Butter and Jolly go so well together:)
So here is what I heard from Dana:
"Everything is going well with us and Jolly and Peanut Butter are just the best! They are the dearest kitties and the best of friends. I attached some recent shots so you can see how big they look (esp PB:)) and how much they love to be together. Jolly still doesn't let us pick her up but we can both pet her more and more all of the time and she comes up on the bed with us too. It's a constant work in progress but she has come so far and whenever she's rolling on her back and playing with her toys so happily we're grateful she got her chance - thanks to you and ST."
It is so heartwarming to hear how well these two are doing, and Dana and Anthony are giving these girls the most patient, sweet, loving home that these kitties could possibly have. Thank you for taking these sweet girls in and for being so patient and understanding with Jolly.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Connecting with Krishna, February 2012: Day 4

I've been cat sitting for Krishna, who is quite a shy guy, but I feel we get a little closer every time I see him. Today was the last day cat sitting for him.

When I entered the apartment, he was sitting on the windowsill, looking out the window. He surprised me so much when he looked at me, then jumped off the windowsill and came running right up to me. He actually seemed to want to play first, and then eat, so we played our game where he chases the light from the flashlight around on the living room rug.

After that, he ate some, and I told him his people would be back later in the day.

We then played some more, and he then settled quite close to where I was sitting.

I took out the soft brush which I used yesterday - a soft paintbrush that looks like a makeup brush with a long handle - and this time instead of directly touching him with it, I let him come to the brush, and he rubbed his nose against it, then rolled on the ground rubbing his face against the brush.

He was OK being stroked under the chin with the brush, but what made him most comfortable was if I just put the brush on the ground and let him rub his face against the brush.

Doing this helped him to be extremely comfortable being right next to where I was sitting. Below you see him looking up at me as though to say, "I can't believe I'm right next to you!" During the whole time, I was sending him Reiki energy - he is so receptive to it, it helps him to feel very at ease. Sometimes with him I am completely silent, and other times I speak to him in a soft voice, telling him he is very loved and very safe.

Even though it is hard for him when his people are away, and he still gets frightened once in a while, I feel that we got closer to each other over the past few days, and it feels like a big step for him to be able to be just hanging out right next to where I am without being afraid. I think the combination of interactive play and the very quiet TTouch and Reiki work is a good combination for him. Hope to see you soon, little guy! xo

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Connecting with Krishna, Feb. 2012: Day 3: The Comfort of a Soft Brush

Today was my third day cat sitting for Krishna, who is fearful of people other than his guardians, Rebecca and Tim, so when they are away, it is especially hard for him. We have been doing well though, and I have found that a combination of play and relaxation techniques have helped me to feel a stronger connection with Krishna. One of the most important things for me is to respect his space and what is is ready and comfortable to do. It is OK to nudge those boundaries a bit in order to move to the next level, but a very gentle nudge.

Today when I entered the apartment, he was irritated at first, greeting me with a loud meow and hiss. I'm sure he is missing his people, and he was also hungry. As in the past he has pounced on other cat sitters' feet, my approach when this happens is to stand very still sending Reiki, as he gets in a bit of a stalking mode and is more apt to pounce if I move at that point.

As I continued to send the energy he calmed down, actually pretty quickly, and laid down to wait for me to fix his food.

He ate a little, then looked at me as though he was ready to play. So for a while we played his favorite game to play with me, which is chasing the light from the flashlight as I move it around. He can really get going!!

After he was done, he ate a little more and was in a more relaxed mode.

Then I took out a very soft paintbrush - it looks like a makeup brush but with a longer handle, which works well with him as it is good to have more distance, at least in the beginning. He was very curious about the brush, sniffing it a lot and began to rub himself against it a bit. Perhaps it was something about the texture of the brush, but at this point he got very cozy and he began to roll around and rub himself all over rug. I have seen this reaction sometimes with shelter cats who are initially very frozen but there is something about the paintbrush (or other tool that I use with them) that helps them to feel a LOT more at ease, and they begin to roll around on their back and stretch out etc.

I stroked Krishna a bit under his chin with the brush, and then a little on the side of his face, but I found he was more comfortable if I put the brush on the floor and he rubbed himself against it. At one point he was on his back and touched his nose right to my hand. I just stayed still, not wanting to startle him. At that point he was stretched out right next to me.

I feel so honored when a very shy cat lets his guard down that and is able to trust me enough to be so close to me.

I felt such a strong connection to Krishna today - I think the brush helped us to make a wonderful breakthrough.

Shortly before I left I was speaking to a friend on the phone and, instead of going back into the bedroom for some private time, as he often does when he has had enough socialization with me, he actually followed me back into the living room, sitting near me and blinking! xo

Connecting with Krishna, February 2012: Day 2

Today when I went to cat sit Krishna, he started out with a hiss - I'm sure he is missing his people. So I just stood still, sending him Reiki energy, and he quickly settled, sitting hear his food dishes, waiting for me to feed him. He ate a little and then we played the game he loves to play, chasing the light from a flashlight. This seems to be a good way for him to get pent-up tension out, and generally after that he is more open to receiving TTouch and/or Reiki. He really can tear around! and if I stop and put down the flashlight before he is ready to stop, he comes up to the flashlight, nudging it, as though to prompt me to continue :)

After he took a break from playing, he ate some more, then came back on the rug, where I was sitting. I did a few TTouches on him, using a long-handled paintbrush, but thought it better to just get him comfortable being near me without him being scared of being touched. He is very comfortable with his people touching him, but very fearful of others. So we sat quite close to each other and I began to send him Reiki. He got more and more at ease, and eventually he stretched out, extremely comforable, looking at me. I felt such a peaceful vibration in the room. It is such an honor when a shy cat feels enough trust to really start to let his guard down.
I know his eyes look pretty big in the picture below, but this is actually a much more relaxed gaze than we started out with :)
Thank you Krishna, see you tomorrow!!!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Connecting with Krishna, February 2012: Day One

Hi folks! Krishna is a wonderful kitty I have worked with for a while, and occasionally I have the opportunity to cat sit for him. He is very shy, and it is hard for him when his people are away. I approach him very quietly and gently.

Today when I went, it was the first day of cat sitting him, and I wasn't sure whether he would be a bit miffed to see me. I began to send him Reiki energy as I was on the subway traveling to his apartment. For those unfamiliar with Reiki, it can be done remotely or hands-on. When I arrived, he was actually pretty calm, given the situation. He sat down near his food bowls and waited as I prepared his food for him. I was sending him Reiki energy as I got his food ready, cleaned his box etc. He ate a bit, then was ready to play.

He loves to chase the light from a flashlight, so this was a great way to get any pent-up energy out and get him more relaxed. He really got going chasing the light around, and when I stopped for a minute, he did something he usually does, went up to the flashlight to sniff it, as if to prompt me to continue.

He appears to know that the light comes from the flashlight, but that doesn't diminish his enjoyment of the game!

After he had enough, he seemed much more relaxed. He was very cute, started rubbing his face against the legs of an easel that was near where we were playing.

He then went to eat some of his food with gusto, unconcerned that I was sitting nearby. After he was done, he sat off to the side of his bowls, and I did some Reiki from a short distance away. I could see him relaxing as I did this. I tried something which I recently did with a feral at the shelter - I used a paintbrush and just gently made a stroking motion a few inches in front of where his whiskers are.

The feral cat had found this relaxing, and he responded to it as well. He is so sensitive that it was as if I was actually touching him.

He then went to eat some more, and I got ready to go. I had explained to him how many times it would get dark before his people returned, reassured him that they would return, and told him that I would be there every day to give him food, play with him etc. Thanks a lot Krishna, it was such a pleasure to spend time with you once again.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Listening to Harry

Harry (above) is a new arrival at the boarding facility where I work with rescue cats through Tavi and Friends & the Mayor's Alliance. He was hunched in the back of his cage when I arrived. I opened the cage very quietly, speaking to him a little bit in a soft voice. He meowed, but it seemed like a frightened meow, so I decided to try to first make contact using the back of the hand part of a long-handled back scratcher. The tool seemed to frighten him, so I gave him a break for a few minutes, and decided to try with a softer surface.

I took out a long-handled flat paintbrush that is 2-3 inches wide, and began to gently stroke him under his chin. This immediately really clicked with him, and he began to rub himself against the brush, and against the surfaces of his cage, eventually stretching and rolling around. It was very sweet to see! I would stop for a few seconds to give him a break, sometimes closing the cage, then started again. Little by little he became more and more comfortable, venturing forward in his cage, and I was able to do some TTouches directly with my hand as well as with the tool. I did chimp TTouches with him, which use the back surface of the middle digit of the fingers (see my youtube channel for a demo,, as back surfaces of the hand are less intense than the front surfaces. I mostly used the paintbrush though, as I wanted to make sure that he felt very safe. It is important, too, to realize and be sensitive to the fact that a tool or technique that works for one cat may not work for another cat, and that even working with the same cat in multiple sessions, their tastes and preferences can change.

By the end of the session, he was so much more comfortable than in the beginning, and I feel that it will not take him long for him to come more completely out of his shell. Most cats are very terrified when they are first rescued - and some have their true personality buried very deep, but others just need to shake of the initial fear and then rather quickly become friendly and quite comfortable. But it is essential to be very sensitive to what they are ready to do, and not push to achieve a pre-conceived agenda. What animals remind me of every day is the importance of truly being in the moment.

Much love to you Harry!! see you soon! xo

Sunday, February 12, 2012

TTouch and Reiki with Jinx (and Sammi)

Above: Offering Reiki to Jinx (grey and white cat) with one hand and Sammi (black cat) with the other

Today I went to work with my friend Jordyn's ( cat Jinx, who has been losing mobility in his back legs, due either to a disk problem or tumor. It's been a couple of weeks since I saw him, and he did seem weaker in his back end when we started out today. Sometimes he will walk on his feet knuckled-over, drag one or both back legs, or collapse. This has been ongoing to some degree but did seem to be worse initially today.

First I worked with him with a TTouch half-wrap on, which seemed to help his awareness right away. He began to use his back feet more and was falling less. As he moved, I was doing connected TTouches going down either side of his back, as well as some TTouches on his hind feet and legs. These also helped him to get some more connection. The above pic is from a previous session, but is to show you basically what the wrap looks like. Please visit this link at my youtube channel for a demo of the wrap, plus demos of many other TTouches:

When he was tired, he curled up on one of his cat beds and I began to offer Reiki energy to him, first from a short distance, and then hands-on. His eyes closed and he began to stretch out. I also did little raccoon TTouches on his hind feet, in between the toes, on the toes and feet and up and down the legs a bit. Sometimes I used my thumb to do the TTouches, stabilizing my hand with my index finger. Below, he nudged my hand with his paw, as though to connect further.

While I did this, Sammi, another of Jordyn's cats, was on the other side of where I was sitting, rubbing against me as she is in heat (she will be spayed soon!). She was craving the energy as well, and calmed as I put one hand on her back, and then her belly. Both of them calmed as I did this.

After a while, Jinx got up, walked around some more, then settled on a cat bed again. Again, Sammi settled on the other side of me, so I offered her Reiki as well part of the time (with one hand on Jinx and the other on her). I started out with one of my hands on either side of Jinx, close to where he was, and ended up with my hands around his shoulder area, or the brachial chakras. I felt a very strong connection and the energy being pulled into his body, and I visualized it traveling down his body to his hind legs. Later on, he shifted so that one of my hands was over his lower back around the base of his tail, and so I sent the energy to first his sacral chakra and then his base chakra, again feeling and visualizing the energy going into his body and down his legs. I literally felt it pulled there as well. We spent quite a good amount of time there. The energy in the whole apartment felt very peaceful.

When I felt he had enough, I ended the session. When he got up to walk again, Jordyn said that he was doing much better than he had been before.

Much love to you Jinx, Jordyn, Sammi and the rest of the Jordyn's furry ones. Look forward to seeing you all soon.

Friday, February 10, 2012

TTouch and Reiki at BARC Shelter: Update on Dr. Teeth

Dr. Teeth, who we now call Dr. T (seems to fit her more to a T!), is a very shy cat at BARC shelter. She has been making steady progress though, and though she may initially run away, she usually comes back for attention. I have showed some of the volunteers how to TTouch her using a paintbrush, which is a great way to initiate contact with her, until she becomes more familiar with you and is ready for direct contact. A few days ago, when I took these pictures, she was brave enough to remain in the front of the cage as I did TTouch with her.
She used to be very frightened of being touched on her head, and has been getting increasingly comfortable with that as well. I have found that doing some gentle TTouches on her forehead, using my thumb (with the rest of my fingers stabilizing my hand on the other side of her head, as shown here), is very comforting to her.
In case you're wondering, her tongue sticks out at times, probably because she has few, if any, teeth.

On her body, I find that the abalone TTouch is comforting to her. It is a circular TTouch which uses the surface of the whole hand. This can often be a great TTouch for shy animals, but every animal is different so you may have to experiment with a few TTouches to find what your animal is most receptive to. Please visit my youtube site for demos of these TTouches,
As I began to do the abalone TTouches on her, she began to relax further, stretching her body out and relaxing her muscles on her back further. I was also sending Reiki energy to her at the same time. You can see that my hand is rather red, and that is beause it was emanating quite a bit of heat.
I also found that she is very receptive to being stroked under the chin, and she often will lean into your hand when you do that, which is a big step for her.
And her friend Ice Cream is still providing a lot of comfort to her, so I am sure that is affecting her mood and level of relaxation to a great degree as well. They most often sit next to each other on either side of the bars of their cages, and he still will reach through to touch her.
Best wishes, Dr. T., see you soon!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Light as a Feather with a Feral Kitten

I have been working with two feral kittens at BARC Shelter to help them to feel more at ease. Little by little they are becoming more comfortable. In this post I am writing about the more scared of the two. The other kitten not shown here is still quite shy but is becoming more comfortable being TTouched every day.
I have found that this kitten is quite comfortable being touched with a very long feather. Sometimes I stroke her whiskers or stroke the air slightly in front of her whiskers, and this helps her to start to relax. In my last post about her, I had found that she responded to having her front legs stroked, and she was starting to become playful as well. In the pictures above and below, you can see she still starts out with a rather startled face, but then will pretty quickly relax into having her front legs stroked with the feather.

Yesterday when I was at the shelter, I started out doing TTouches with her with the feather again, and as I felt her relax, I worked my hand down the feather and began to do some little circular raccoon TTouches on the top of her head.

I kept the feather in my hand, in case she got scared and I needed to take a step back and TTouch her with the feather again, but she began to relax with the TTouches with my hand after a bit. Today I didn't hear any hissing from her when I opened her cage or approached her, which is really great progress for her. I didn't TTouch her for too long as I didn't want to overwhelm her, but I did repeat TTouching her with the feather and then progressing to my hand. Particularly when I am working with a very frightened cat, I remind myself often to breeeeattthe, and to keep my mind and thoughts very very quiet. It makes such a huge difference to do this. These animals really feel your vibration and respond to it.

Love you, little one!