The Story of Lester

Shortly after arriving in the United States, I worked for a local Humane Society. The staff was skeptical about the TTouch Method, but one of the supervisors asked me to look at Lester, a grey tiger cat who lived under a chair in her office, and asked if I might try working with Lester's fear of humans. The supervisor saved Lester from being euthanized because he seemed friendly enough to socialize. He would hide from people under his chair, which was covered with a blanket, and would hiss at everybody trying to approach him, but would never bite or scratch. Lester also acted as a caretaker for batches of tiny feral kittens, sleeping with them, and giving them baths. When once-a-week sessions at the shelter didn't really made a difference in Lester's behavior, I offered to take him home as a foster case.
I set him up in a large cage in our bathroom, and wrapped him snuggly in an infant t-shirt. The shirt technique comes from the TTouch approach and works like swaddling a baby. It helps animals to feel secure and comforted. I gave him frequent TTouch sessions, and after a few days, let him out to wander the bathroom. Soon I found him bathing himself on the window sill - a good sign, but he would still try to hide when he saw me. I felt it was time to put the cage in the living room, so he could be safely in proximity to me. After 2 days I kept the t-shirt on, and leashed Lester in a harness to the couch for short periods of time, near a pad where my Border-Collie/Lab, Ivy liked to rest. Soon Lester was curling up to sleep with Ivy.
I continued to provide TTouch to Lester, but kept one of my hands on Ivy to build a bridge of understanding that humans where ok.
Gradually, over a few weeks, Lester started to relax in human presence, and was able to start wandering around the house. Within a few months, he turned into the most loveable cat ever. When ever I came home he was there ready to be picked up and cuddled. Lester stayed with me for three years, being of a great foster dad to all kinds of kittens, cats and even puppiesthat I took in as foster cases, as well as a very loving companion to me. He unfortunately passed away due to kidney failure. I miss him a lot and still think often of him and his great skill to care for animals and humans.       Manuela Hejna

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Center for Animal Training LLC
Manuela Hejna
Cell Phone: 480-386-4310