Autumn is a quiet, beautiful, sweet cat at Bideawee. She was abandoned outside, so who knows what she went through before she was taken into the safety of the shelter? She is very very gentle - not an aggressive bone in her body - but she is extremely shy, and was very shut down when I first began working with her.
She is coming along, and was recently moved from a cage to a small room with two other cats. She is still getting used to being in there, but is now bravely venturing forth from her hiding place (inside a bench) sometimes while people are around. And she will still start out shy and held-in with me, but starts to relax more quickly now.
Still, I felt I wanted to take some further steps to increase Autumn's comfort, which will in turn increase her confidence.
So last week I brought in a Bach Flower remedy, which the staff will give to her. I also brought in a cat Thundershirt.
I use Thundershirts all the time with dogs, but it is a much trickier matter with cats, who are usually not accustomed to or receptive to wearing clothing of any kind.
When I opened the top of the bench to work with Autumn, she was curled up and resting, and, as she often does when I open the top of the bench, she looked up with me with rather startled eyes.
To help calm her, I spoke to her slowly and extremely softly, and spoke to her in my mind as well, telling her she is safe, that everything is all right, that we are going to go just a little at a time. And as I did this, I began to do some TTouches around her head area first - stroking her ears, doing little circular TTouches on her head and around the outside of her mouth.
She began to calm, and I did some zigzag TTouches as well, to help her feel that she was inside her body. In the video above, she was purring.
So we stayed like this for a while. I did some TTouches on her head, then on her body over the Thundershirt. Then I took it off for a bit, then repeated the draping and TTouches. After that I gave her a long break, working with some other cats.
When I came back, again I worked with her briefly with the Thundershirt draped over.
Then, after I took it off her, I decided to try doing some little TTouches on her paws. She had been purring a bit before, but the TTouches on her paws seemed to r-e-a-l-l-y relax her, as she began purring like crazy. And her eyes, which generally are quite open, began to r-e-a-l-l-y relax as well. Many, if not most, cats are very hesitant to have their paws touched, but on the other hand, the ones who do enjoy it or become accustomed to it seem to really be relaxed by it - like we do when having our feet rubbed. And it can feel such a personal and intense connection, to be touching the animal's feet. For example, my namesake at BARC Shelter (a young kitty named Sarah Hauser) is comforted by me holding her two front paws in my hands.
It was such a lovely feeling to see her so relaxed and so open, so comfortable. And to feel such connection, our spirits merging in the flowing energy.
All of this reminds me of how important it is to have our hearts and minds open when working with an animal - follow your intuition, and you can end up in places you never dreamed of.
Thank you Autumn - and thank you to all the wonderful creatures and people at Bideawee! xo