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Nervous Maxwell Cat

(c)2003 Suzan Vaughn
(no reproduction without permission)

Thirteen-year-old Maxwell, known as Max, was a tuxedo cat. He was a beautifully blended black and white, with the physique of a chunky farmhouse cat that had enjoyed many hearty feasts. But his temperament was anything but that.

Max was very nervous and fearful, and his owner wanted to find out why.

When I tuned into Max, he felt like a "cat without a country," –feeling Ioved by his owner, but not feeling a part of the family; a kind of second class citizen where other animals in the house had a higher standing and where his safety and security were compromised.

I got the impression that Max was not sure if his owner was going to keep him forever, that he feared he could be out on the street at any moment. And to top it off, he felt he was in danger of being devoured and mutilated by one of the dogs in the house at any time.

"There's only one safe place for me to go," he said, "under the bed and against the wall."  His owner reported that indeed Max spent lots of time there.

"I'm being deprived of the soft food I crave because I share a bowl with another cat on a restricted diet," he told me. "I would like to have my own bowl, preferable with my name on it."

Additionally, Max wanted a place where he could feel safe from the dogs. In the past, he showed me that he had been traumatized by a dog chase, and had witnessed another cat being killed by a dog in the neighborhood. Max did not trust the canine species, including the ones he lived with, even though they were harmless.

With mental pictures, I showed Max that the dogs would run away in fear if he were to scratch their noses with his claw. With pictures of Max standing up for himself, standing his ground, hissing, and swiping the air with his paw, he understood immediately.

I also wanted Beth to create a place in her house where Max could feel safe. That meant a room where the dogs were not allowed to go. At the time, the dogs roamed the house freely and Max was always frightened.

This session produced immediate results for Max. His owner bought him his very own bowl, and painted his name right on it in big letters. Once that was done, he ate twice as much food and really enjoyed his own brand of dinner.

The tuxedo cat also came out from under the bed and no longer seemed to be afraid of the dogs, who stopped chasing him once I relayed the potential for scratched noses to them.