Tiger Lily is a gorgeous grey tabby with a very distinctive face. She is one of the cats from the Picasso Veterinary Fund who I have been working with through Tavi and Friends and the Mayor's Alliance.
She arrived at the holding space extremely stressed, growling and swatting at anyone who tried to approach her. She proved to be a challenge for me, as well, as I tried tool after tool to try to calm her. Above is a picture of her fairly soon after she arrived, looking very wary indeed.
I tried a feather, various types of paintbrushes, a back scratcher, etc, and mostly she seemed irritated if I tried to touch her with the tools, even if I went slowly and quietly. After a while, I tried a variation on a technique which I used successfully with my own cat Emmylou when she arrived as a feral cat at BARC. I stroked slightly in front of her whiskers with a paintbrush, very slowly, talking to her in a very quiet voice. I could do this just a very little bit at a time with her.
I would always send her Reiki from where I was standing outside the cage, and speak to her calmly.
Sometimes when she seemed to start to get comfortable, she would start rolling on her back and rubbing against the floor of the cage, looking like she wanted to play. Which is what finally led me to what I did next with her.
As Tiger Lily is a young cat, and seemed to want to play, I tried playing with her with a string toy, and then every once in a while I would stroke her with the stick part of the string toy. This was the most successful contact I had with her so far, and it was after these sessions which you see in the videos above and below that she started to appear much more comfortable.
She would be at the front of the cage instead of at the back or up on a shelf in the cage, and when I approached the cage, she looked as though she wanted to play with me. Her whole facial expression and body posture changed, as you can see in the photos below.