Cats have been an important part of my life since I was four and my parents gave me a white kitten with blue eyes that I aptly dubbed "Snowball". I adored that cat. He was so mellow and good-natured that he tolerated being dressed in baby doll clothes. He would even nap in the cradle in my playroom. Sadly, Snowball lived a short life and was killed by a car.
I didn't have another cat until I turned eight and a feral mother cat had kittens in our backyard. I adopted a female Calico kitten who survived many years and moved with us from California to Arizona. Taffy never entirely overcame her feral origins. She was always reserved and standoffish.
In college, I adopted a trio of kitties who moved from Arizona back to California with me. As I entered my late-thirties, my college kitties started to pass away of health problems associated with old age. Hyperthyroidism claimed Sabbath, a wonderful black cat who was very outgoing and friendly. Dante and Piggy both lived to over twenty but eventually they also crossed over the rainbow bridge.
Mr. Snark and I are both cat people. Another of the many shared characteristics that make us compatible. So we have adopted cats together and these felines are active and important members of our family. They are bright, energetic and litigious.
Cat Therapy versus Therapy Cat
My ex-MIL once gave me a book called Purr-Fect Shiatsu: Tender Touches for the 90's Cat. I still have the book, which offers advice on cat therapy AKA cat massage techniques. Being naive at the time, I actually tried it out on Sabbath. (He scratched/bit my hand to shreds.)
Age brought wisdom, so I now practice a relaxation technique I call "Owner to Cat Stress Transference" (OCST). If you wish to try it, then choose a time when you are really stressed out and locate a relaxed cat. It's important to find a sleeping cat that you can sneak up on, so I recommend practicing OCST during the day to maximize your chances of success.
Your therapy cat's posture should look something like this:
Quietly creep up on the sleeping kitty and carefully tuck your hands beneath his body. Be sure to support both his body and head. Then gently lift him from his bed and cradle him against your chest. Maintain a firm but gentle grip and stroke his head or back. Close your eyes and envision the stress flowing from your body into the cat.
Complete stress transference from owner to cat may happen quickly or may take some time, depending upon the temperament of the feline. If OCST is performed correctly, then you will feel your body relaxing and experience a sense of inner peace. Conversely, your cat will stiffen and may start to meow or growl.
However, once you set the cat down, he should look like this*:
*Put that cat down fast before he scratches the shit outta ya!
This post concludes The Write Pet series. Thank you to all of the wonderful authors who participated and to all of the readers who enjoyed hearing stories about our furry friends.
To celebrate the release of the second edition of A CAT'S TALE, I'm sponsoring a giveaway for a Kindle or PDF copy. Leave a comment along with your email address for a chance to win by the deadline, Monday at midnight PST.