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TTouch for Cats

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Warning - this is long, but it was a cool class!

I took a class in TTouch last night - basically massage-type therapy for cats. It is not an actual massage, but ways to touch your cat that can help both behavior and physical problems. I did a search on the forums and there are references to this technique in Health and Nutrician, Behavior, and Caring for Strays and Ferals. Here's a good link I found when I did the search:


And the woman's site who taught the class last night:


It is considered a compliment to veterinary care, not a replacement for it. It can address things from digestive and respiratory problems, injuries, fear, shyness, aggression, car sickness, and recovery from illness or injury.

There's too much to put here on the class, but will share one very compelling thing that we saw. The woman did the class mostly for rescue workers - those that foster cats and those that socialize ferals. I audited the class, but some folks brought in their cats to practice on.

One of the cats was a feral kitten, about 12 weeks old. She was trapped later than suggested (about 8 weeks old) and had a bad URI when caught so her socialization started even later. She is at the point in her socialization that she still bolts anytime someone walks into a room with her, calms down quickly for her caretaker, but takes a lot more time with strangers. When she was brought into the class, she was called the "velcro kitty" cause she just clung so tight with her claws to anyone that held her (and we did pass her around to get her used to more people).

About 1-1/2 hour into the class, it was her time to be placed on the table to demonstrate the touch techniques. The room was huge (the adoption center), the table set up in the open in the middle of the room, and strangers all around. All the ingredients for the kitten to bolt and hide in some nook in the center. Pat started working on her and within a short time, she visably relaxed, laid down on the middle of the table, started purring (happily), then fell asleep. Most cats like to have a short touch session, then run around a bit to experience the effects of the touch, then come back for more. Little Joanie wouldn't budge off the table and whenever Pat stopped, she just nudged for more.

The Humane Society is going to incorporate this for all feral kittens, and for the foster cats that are brought up to the adoption center on weekends to keep them more calm. They are also going to try it with an IBD cat.

I'm normally the skeptic on these things, but saw first hand the calming effects on a feral kitten. I will also say that she first practiced the touch on the people in the room, and her simple touch to my poor arthritic knee made it feel better than it has for a long time. Did I say that this works on any living creature?

If you want to hear more, just ask questions! I'll answer the best that I can. I plan an in-home follow session with Pat in the next few weeks so will learn more about it. I want her to help me with Shep (my 17 year old that has had a stroke), Emily (my shy cat that is comparable to Pengy the under-the-bed cat), and Spike (my year old puppy that I have trouble with his attention). And if I can get Tigger and Eightball out long enough for her to touch them, I'm going to work on their shyness.
post #2 of 14

I definitely want to hear more. It is so synchronistic that you posted this now because I spent a good part of yesterday on line reading about TTouch and trying to locate a class in my area. I have been trying to see if using what I can pick up from reading on line works on my own cats. I am hoping this is another part of the cure from some of the stresses my guys have been facing this last week since their big blow-up. I do know that the ear stroke works wonders - but mine are only able to cope with it for short periods of time. Oh, I want to know all about this!

post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Pat usually sets up 1 hour sessions with cats and within that time, she says she usually gets in about 3 touch sessions with them. In between those times, she explains the process and lets the cat run around.

The process stimulates the skin cells - the basic touch is circular, specifically a circle and a quarter (start at 6 o'clock, go around and end at 9 o'clock). The motion should move the skin, but with a light, feathery touch. She compared the level of pressure to putting your index finger on your own eyelid and pressing down. At the point that you feel pressure, you are about at level "3" of pressure. Most TTouch sessions are at levels 1-3.

Study has shown that a single circle is not enough to stimulate the cells, and too much is overload. Using a circle and a quarter triggers a response in the cells. How is this good? I would have to read a lot more on this, but it sends a charge from the nervous system to stimulate them. I can't explain it any other way than you get tingly and the area feels GOOD afterwards.

The motion is also not a hard-wired motion. For example, walking is a motion that most humans experience on a day to day basis and the motion gets hire wired into your nervous system. Raise your arm above your head and make a circle motion in the air. This is NOT a hard wired motion and brings additional stimulation that you wouldn't get from simply walking. The touch is not a usual pattern and brings additional stimulous - thus the importance of going far enough to stimulate but not too far to over stimulate (circle and a quarter).

As I practiced last night, the easiest motion for me to do was to rest my palm on my cat, curve the hand (think of the position of the hand if you were scooping up M&M's from a bowl), and using the ends of your fingers (not the tips by your nails but the part that curves down from the tips), do the motion. Don't try to get the cat in any specific position - they will move around and you move with them. Alternate the touch with normal strokes.

The slower you go, the more the cat will relax. Timing is important - don't rush it, the slower the better. The only exception would be if the cat is injured or in shock, at which time you go to a fast stimulation (use the ear touch as fast as you can if your cat goes into shock).

For feral cats that won't let you touch them, and perhaps those shy cats that go into deep hiding, Pat uses the circular motion in the air in front of them. Sometimes she uses a wand for the motion, and sometimes does it with her arms. She also uses the wands to either reach thru cages (if the animal is caged), or to reach into their hiding spots (under a bed). She will use the tip of the wand in the same circular motion as the touch. The end of the wand may be wrapped in gauze or a towel, or attached to a sturdy feather, or a non-flexible rope. The pressure is the same as with hand touch.

Let me think some more and get back to this. It was 2 hours cram packed full of information.
post #4 of 14
I have used TTouch on my horses for years. It works, it is a bonding time for both. WTG for attending the class!
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
There was a woman there who has used it for years on her horses and came to learn if there are any differences for her cats. She came up to ttouch the feral kitten and had an amazing touch (obviously from her years of practice).

The applications of this are tremendous. I hesitated to post any of the techniques and realized that even if folks do it wrong (after trying it, I know I have to practice the touch), the worst can happen is that people are bonding more with their cats. Not a bad thing at all!!
post #6 of 14
I want to take a class so bad! One of my teachers practiced it and was going to show us, but was fired before she got the chance.
post #7 of 14
I was introduced to T-Touch 19 years ago, and attended a class/demonstration when I lived on a horse farm...I never really got a chance to put it into use, though I have a book on it somewhere.

I think it is wonderful it is being applied to cats, and think it would be good for me to find any current literature on how to do this with cats. I am intrigued...thank you for bringing this up!
post #8 of 14
ps in going back to the beginning of this thread and reading more slowly, this reminds me a great deal of effleurage...useful in early labor - light, circular massage on the abdomen during contractions, to stimulate different nerves and block the pain message. Interesting!
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Pat mentioned a lot of uses for TTouch and let me focus this response on applications for it.

Coming out of anesthesia: She has an arrangement with her vet to be there anytime one of her animals is put under for surgery. She uses TTouch as they awaken (if anyone has seen an animal come out from under you know that it is a very disorienting experience for them). They come out of it more easily, recover it from it quicker, and she says that she typically brings her female spays home the same day.

Recovery from spays: She had an older female dog that was spayed. She used the TTouch around the incision point after surgery and the dog healed faster than normal. Even though an older dog, she was up and her full self within a few days.

Other injuries: She mentioned a number of instances where she used it on an animal (like above), or on people. Pat has a Scarlett Macaw that once bit into her wrist. The bite from a Macaw can chop off a finger so this was serious. As soon as she was able to remove her wrist from the beak, she TTouched the area very vigorously (remember you go faster with injury and slower for relaxation) and the area did not swell and barely bruised (she is a redhead and bruises very easily). She was fortunate that she didn't need stitches. Speed is vigorous for fresh injuries, but slower as the injury heals.

Motion sickness: Use TTouch on their ears - either fold down the ears and use the circular motion, or lightly stroke from the inside outwards. I'm going to use this on my dogs who still get car sick.

Trauma/shock: Use TTouch very vigorously on the ears. She didn't explain why this works, but I suspect that it is bringing added stimulation to the head. Obviously doesn't replace the emergency trip to the vet, but can be used until you get to professional help.

Digestive disorders: For this, you use a stretchy ace bandage that is wrapped "U" shaped around the belly and extended up on either side. Very slowly and gently pull upwards (count to 3 slowly) - not so far that the feet come off the floor - it is a tugging motion only. You can then use the bandage to apply a circular motion or slowly (3 count) release pressure. Repeat a few times. Good use would be a IBD cat. She used this on my arthritic knee and it felt wonderful afterwards.

Respiratory problems: She used the above technique for digestive disorders on a young kitten that was having breathing problems from a bad URI. It was a friend's kitten that was due to get into a vet but not for a few hours. Pat went over and used this to relief some discomfort until it could get to the vet.

Arthritus/joint pain/muscle aches: Depending on where the pain is located at, you can use the circular motion, or an up/down motion on the legs. For legs/arms, you place your hands on either side pulling the skin up ever so gently, then slide your hands down their legs to right below the previous point, where you tug upwards again. The level of touch is the same as the circular, e.g. level 1-3 as described above. I'm going to use this one on my girl Shep, who after her stroke has a slightly reduced use of her back leg.

Feral cat socialization: Depending on how scared the cat is, Pat uses different techniques and watches their reactions as she goes. For really scared ones, Pat will do the circular motion in the air in front of them (not huge arm waves but subtle circles starting at the elbow), progressing to using a wand to touch from a distance, to eventually using the touch directly on the cat. Her visible clues that the animal is responding is first the mouth lick - the cat will lick their chops as they look at you (which interestingly, EVERY cat that we had at the class did this within a few minutes of starting the touch), then as they relax the slow eye blink. An eye blink is a sign of acceptance with cats and if you have every tried to socialized a feral, you know exactly what I mean.

Let me think of more and I may update this in the near future.
post #10 of 14
I have seen a video on TTouch, and have used it a little bit on my cat and dog both. It is marvelous, I think. I did not know that there were classes, though....now I want to find one in my area, and hope that I can do so. I think that a lot more could be learned from a class than from the video, although the video is with the person who developed the techniqur (Linda Tellington-Jones), and is very, very good. It shows her working with dogs and changing behavior patterns rapidly by using the Touch. I am SO delighted to hear that Humane Societies are using it in some places. That is so great.
post #11 of 14
Wow this is really interesting! I've never heard of it before but it sounds amazing - I'm jealous you got to attend!
post #12 of 14
Here's a link for the video in English: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...video&n=507846
There are also books for horses, dogs, and cats (I've got the latter in German). We had a class at our local shelter last spring - it was pretty amazing. Though not all of the cats (including my own - he rarely sits still ) responded positively, most of them did. It's definitely worth looking into.
post #13 of 14
This is a really interesting thread and I'd like to learn more about TTouch.

Also giving this a bump so Grissom can take a look and maybe get some help for an aggressive kitty.
post #14 of 14
Thank you so much, Amy, for all of this information! TTouch is something I've been interested in learning, as I feel Sierra would truly benefit. I'm so happy you've had the opportunity to attend this class and are continuing to learn even more! Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with us and providing us with links to furthur pursue our learning!
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