Bugs was his usual squirrely self, on the first day Teresa came to the house. He did that walking-away thing all over the place. We dutifully trailed along behind. Eventually he let us catch up. And when Teresa finally did lay hands on him, it didn’t take long before he keeled over in a cat-puddle on the floor – and slept for hours after.
What really seemed to make the difference was Teresa’s approach to Bugs. She took the longest time before touching him. She spoke to him a lot. I also recall that especially in that first session, she played with distance, too. I got the idea she was looking for and respecting boundaries, listening carefully to Bugs in a way that was different from what I’d tried before.
The TTouch itself is based on making circles on the animal’s body, much like on a clock-face, starting at six o’clock, making the full circle clockwise around the face and ending at nine o’clock. But that goes nowhere to portraying (in line with my enthusiasm for mystery) that TTouch can really look a lot like magic. For months now I’ve been doing my best to imitate Teresa, and I still can’t say much about what it’s like.
According to the TELLINGTON website, “TTouch helps to release tension and increase body awareness. This allows the animal to be handled without provoking typical fear responses.” That sure seems to be true with Bugs. Neither Teresa nor I have since duplicated that first dramatic session where he keeled over. But it does seem clear that relationship is everything. I’m striving to approach him with the respect and care I’ve observed in Teresa.
And things are going more smoothly. That is so wonderful. Over the months we’ve been working, he’s progressed, slowly, from utterly untouchable to very willing to accept touch from me. As of this writing, he shows every sign of turning, bit by bit, into the Cat of My Dreams. You know the kind. Curled up next to you on a cold winter night, purring.
Not that Bugs is now transformed into a clawless lap-rug — a friend’s recommendation doubtless also greatly helped, to invest in a monster scratching-post that would stand up to Bugs hurling himself at it to his full height.
Here’s where I got this picture.
Back to TTouch, have a look at a YouTube video to see Linda Tellington-Jones working with a really upset cat. It’s impressive. Mystery! Magic! Right here.