Monday, March 3, 2014

TTouch at Bideawee with Calvin, a Shy Kitten: Closer Every Day

Calvin is a very shy kitten who I have been working with at Bideawee.  He is not aggressive in the least, just frightened - he will run away from you if he does not want to be touched.  But I have been working with him slowly and quietly, and he is getting more and more used to contact.

In my post with him a while back, I found that he was comfortable with little TTouches done with a soft kitty toy, and then I was able to transition to using my hand.  Now he seems to want to use the toy as a toy, so I tried doing TTouches on his forehead using a paintbrush. 

Before I even get to the TTouch part though, I do give him some time to settle in a comfortable place, usually underneath something.  He seems to feel more protected that way.  Sometimes he is comfortable sitting next to a scratching post.  I will let him settle and sit next to him for a bit before I begin, speaking to him quietly sometimes. 

Once he seems comfortable, I start to do a few circular TTouches on his forehead.  I do a few at a time, then pause to see how he's doing.  Usually when I pause, he will get in a little more comfortable position.  After doing this for a while, if he seems like he's ok with me going on, I will slowly work my hand down the handle of the paintbrush and begin to do some circular TTouches with the back of my fingers. 

In the video above, you will see me doing Chimp and Llama TTouches, which use the back surfaces of my fingers, which are less intense-feeling than the front surfaces.  There is less heat coming from these surfaces. 

In these moments with him, I really quiet my mind and am just feeling and being with him in the moment.  I feel my breath getting into the same rhythm as his breath, and our energies merge.  I can feel how he is responding, and can usually feel when it is time to stop and give him a break.  It is truly an amazing and exhilarating feeling, being together in those moments.

And as one of the TTouch sayings goes, "it is moments, not minutes" that matter - it is important to try to stop before it is too much.  This can be a challenge to try to feel when that is, but it starts to come with practice.  Of course, we get excited and want for progress to happen, but it is really in letting go of our expectations and being in the moment that the most amazing things can happen.

Above is a short video of me doing abalone TTouches with Calvin.  Keep in mind that this happened at the end of quite a long session, with many pauses in between.  If Calvin seems like he needs more than a short pause, I will work with or play with one of the other cats in the room with him to give him more of a break. 

Anyway, the abalone TTouches happened after a while of TTouches on the head with the brush, then TTouches on the head with my hand, and then little by little I began to do a TTouch or two on the body, then went back to the head, then tried again on the body, etc.  It is a very gradual process.

As I continue to work with him, it is such a joy to see his face, his body, his whole self begin to relax and feel comfortable with me.  It will still take some time for him to learn to trust, but he is on a path moving forward every time I work with him.

Thanks as always for all the kind Bideawee people, it is a very special place to be.  Can't wait to see you again Calvin!  xoxo

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